Uncertain Times for Africans (in) America in Spite of Kaepernick’s Courage

protest

If it’s one thing that’s for sure: we are living in uncertain times. Unarmed African-American men, women and children are being murdered at the hands of law enforcement daily. It’s hard to not feel enraged, vulnerable, under attack and oppressed as an African-American in America. But the million dollar question is what are we as a country going to do about it?

NFL superstar Colin Kaepernick has decided to bring awareness to the genocide we are watching before our very eyes, by refusing to stand for the National Anthem. With increasing support coming from fellow NFL players such as teammate Brandon Marshall and Seattle Seahawks Jeremy Lane, U.S. Women Soccer player Megan Rapinoe, the entire WNBA Indiana Fever and 5 SMU band members; who have all kneeled during the National Anthem, Colin’s mission to bring awareness to the inequalities of African-American people has been successful.

However, the Colin Kaepernick conversation seems to be more about the ACT and less about the CAUSE. In every interview I hear reporters ask: “What do you think about Colin Kaepernick’s decision to kneel during the national Anthem?” instead of asking “What do you think about the murder of three African-American people this week? As an American what are you going to do about it?”. America is proving to us that a SONG has more value than a BLACK LIFE. I’ve watched athletes, coaches and sports profession exhibit outrage at the sheer thought of someone disrespecting the national anthem but refer to the shooting of an unarmed 13 year old boy as a “social issue”. Let that sink in.

Comments from former NFL coach Mike Ditka like “I think its a problem anybody who disrespects this country and the flag. If they don’t like the country, if they don’t like the flag, get the hell out” I wonder who the “they” is that Mike Ditka is referring to? Is the word “they” in lieu of saying “black people”? It sure sounded like it to me. If indeed those wore Ditka’s intentions, 70& of the National Football League is comprised of African-Americans. A business the 76 year-old is still involved in as an NFL analyst for ESPN. ESPN released no comment in regards to Ditka’s inflammatory words.

As Americans we have to ask ourselves are we truly living in a country that honors its pledge to provide liberty and justice for all ? Or is it liberty and justice for some. The some not including those whose ancestors were enslaved by the very country they call home. The some not including the ones who live in a system designed to oppress, dehumanize and discriminate against them. The some not being those who are MURDERED simply because of the color of their skin.

What Colin Kaepernick is doing is using his platform for the ones who’s faces will never see a TV screen unless their dead. He’s doing what our ancestors did in the 60’s and that’s fight for everything we deserve. We shall overcome…one day.

Advertisements

Inspiration: A Conversation With Jemele Hill

Jemele-Hill_AUG14

Jemele Hill is one of the leading women in sports and a proud alumni of Michigan State where she studied journalism and started off her career as a beat writer. In 2006 she became a national columnist for ESPN.com and sort of fell into on-camera roles on ESPN’s First Take, Around The Horn and Outside The Lines. In her own words, she never ” intended on being on camera” but it’s proof that you never know what is in The Creator’s plan for your life.

Inspiring and transformational are the two words that come to mind when I reflect on our conversation. From our first interaction via private message on LinkedIn, I felt the humbleness of her spirit. I reached out to Ms. Hill seeking advice on how to navigate this “sports world” as a black woman. She agreed to set up a phone conference with me. To say I was overjoyed is an understatement.¬†For at least the last 5 years I’ve been following Jemele’s career; studying her and above all else admiring her knowledge of the game; from basketball to football she shares her analysis with passion and accuracy.

When the date and time was finally set for our phone conference I was a nervous wreck. I practiced what tone I would speak in, what jokes I would make to break the ice; I practiced how I would say my own name like I haven’t been saying it for the last 20 years. But what was amazing was how all of that flew out the window when I heard her voice. Her genuine and authentic nature far surpassed my expectations. She began to share stories from her times at the Detroit Free Press to her days as a beat writer for her alma mater. She encouraged me simply by taking time out of her day to speak to me. An unknown freelance sports professional just trying to figure it all out.

What she taught me was that her success is not her own. She’s willing to share her success with young, ambitious people who are where she once was; at the beginning of the journey. She shared with me the importance of building genuine relationships and staying the course. That was my biggest take away and the most important thing I wanted to share to others who may never get a chance to speak with one of the best in their career field.

It’s easy to give up when your dream isn’t traditional and doesn’t come with a blueprint. My dream of being one of the best woman sports broadcasters & analyst is no easy feat and many times giving up and choosing a career path more “realistic” seems like a favorable option but to be something you never been you have to do things that you’ve never done. Thank you Ms. Hill your sacrifices will never go in vain.