"The President hates us."
That's the unfortunate conclusion that many of the conversations I have with my Black friends, Black colleagues and my Black family these days ends with. Donald Trump's actions and words, when it comes to the Black community and other minorities since he's been in office this year, have gone way past ignorance, neglect or even uncaring. He's been distasteful and disgraceful. The Commander-In-Chief has made his feelings obvious.
Trump's latest slap in the face to the Black community came via a press conference when he addressed Collin Kaepernick and other NFL players who chose to take a stand by kneeling during the national anthem. He called them "sons of bitches," not only disrespecting these men but their mothers and families as well. Trump admonished athletes for "disrespecting our flag" and asked an approving crowd he spoke in front of, wouldn't they love to see an NFL owner say "he's fired" to the player or players on their team who show demurral. Trump also tweeted today that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell should "tell them to stand."
Roger Goodell of NFL just put out a statement trying to justify the total disrespect certain players show to our country.Tell them to stand!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 23, 2017
So what the president is basically saying is that these predominantly Black voices don't deserve the same civil liberties as other Americans. Because that's what we fought for, isn't it? The American Flag is a representation, a symbol of all of the wonderful rights that we have in the country, isn't it? Freedom of speech is still in the Constitution so why can't these American athletes express themselves and invoke one of their rights?
Secondly and most glaring, we see through Trump's diverting. Let's not just talk American. Let's talk human. Kaepernick and the other players have made it abundantly clear that kneeling or taking a seat or raising a Black fist in protest has nothing to do with them "disrespecting" the country, but rather them raising awareness that we as Black people are not being shown basic human compassion by some police officers. Kaepernick and others are conveying the anger and frustration that every American should have after seeing so many horrific instances of unarmed Black people getting treated worse than dogs; brutally shot, choked, beaten to death in the street, like their lives are lesser.
Where is Trump's fervor when he sees footage of a Black man or woman getting murdered by those who have sworn to protect and serve them? Why isn't Trump's ire raised when the homicidal police officers do not go to jail for their crimes? Better yet, when the torch carrying, hate-fueled, Neo-Nazi and white Nationalists started the march for a racist America in Charlottesville, VA last month and were met with resistance, Trump actually had the unmitigated gall to declare there were "very fine people" on both sides.
Donald Trump is many things, but he's not ignorant. He knows exactly what he's saying. His words aren't measured or calculated and he speaks off the cuff. Now that he's in the ultimate position, he's inebriated with power. Trump feels he's above everything and can say whatever he wants. For decades, he's masked himself. His proverbial hood is off and so are the gloves. Many of us feel like he's declaring war on us. Does Donald Trump really hate us as Black people? He'll probably tell you no. One thing is for damn sure, he doesn't love us.
But what president in your lifetime has, besides Obama and Clinton? Have you ever felt the president really had affection for us, as a Black community and other minority brothers and sisters? We haven't felt this much hatred before, but we've really felt loved by the powers that be. The only way to make it, is that we have to love us. We must be united, show solidarity and love ourselves, that's the only way we are going to survive this administration. We must never lose our passion, our compassion and never get desensitized by the atrocities being inflicted upon us.
Let's continue to support people like Steph Curry and LeBron James, who are unafraid to say that the president is being an agent of divisiveness and we won't stand for it or anywhere near him. Let's support the Collin Kaepernick's who would sacrifice a major source of income for his beliefs.
On Football Sunday, the NFL has a major spotlight and has a chance to be a beacon. Let's historically come together and make a positive statement of oneness that every community can rally around. The power is still with us. We have to harness it.