You guys know me by now. I’m the happy-go-lucky funny guy who talks about fatherhood, potty training, and the general hilarity of being a dad. But every now and then I decide to ruffle some feathers and unleash a political rant. Yes, this is one of those times.
As usual, some of you will love what I have to say, and others of you won’t — but that comes with the territory of being an opinionated dude on the Internet.
So what am I here to talk about today?
Chances are you’re frustrated by “that friend,” “that coworker,” or “that relative” (unless you are that friend, coworker, or relative) who doesn’t understand why black people are so upset with the state of America right now. And because they don’t understand, they will offer up lame arguments to discredit the emotions of black Americans. My mission today is to poke holes in those arguments in a relatively tidy fashion.
Those people could be in your office, on your Facebook feed, hosting a playdate for your kiddos, or even in your home. Just plop this link in a place where they will see it and let me handle the heavy lifting from here.
ARGUMENT #1: “I’m tired of seeing these overpaid athletes disrespecting America by not standing for the national anthem!”
What these armchair patriots fail to recognize is there are few things that are more American than doing what Colin Kaepernick and other athletes are doing. They are exercising their rights to protest American injustice in a peaceful way.
Yes, you have the right to disagree with these protests. But when you tell Kaepernick and others to “leave America” because you disagree with how they protest, it makes you completely unAmerican. Thankfully his actions helped to spark a much-needed dialogue, and we should we welcome it.
And let’s keep it real — if you’re more upset by these peaceful protests than the murders of unarmed black men by the police, then you’re clearly part of the problem.
ARGUMENT #2: “If the black guy just listened to the police officer, he’d be alive right now!”
In what universe does a police officer have the right to kill somebody for not listening or for being disrespectful? And if you happen to believe that argument, why does it only apply to black people?
Two white Donald Trump supporters savagely beat up and urinated on a Mexican man in Boston and were taken alive by the police.
A white dude kills 9 innocent people in South Carolina and was taken alive (and treated to Burger King by the cops).
A white dude turns into a damn zombie, eats the faces of two people, and after a stun gun and police dogs couldn’t get him off of his victim, four officers teamed up to arrest him. You guessed it, he was taken alive by the police, too.
Hell, a terrorist injured 29 people in NYC and he was taken alive by the police.
Terence Crutcher (a black man and father of 4) was unarmed, driving home from college, had his hands up, and was shot and left to die by the police.
The aforementioned people committed
crimes felonies and they are alive to talk about it. Except for Mr. Crutcher, of course. He did nothing wrong and now he’s dead.
And before you hit me up with more excuses like, “Well, it was in the heat of the moment” nonsense, please read this.
If you lack the competence and/or temperament to do the job effectively, find a new job. It’s that simple.
So tell me why you don’t understand the anger many black people feel by this murder and the countless black men who were murdered before Mr. Crutcher by the police? I’ll wait.
ARGUMENT #3: “Blue Lives Matter!!! All Lives Matter!!!”
OK look, this isn’t complicated.
Unless you’re talking about the Smurfs, “Blue Lives” aren’t a real thing (and neither are the Smurfs). Unlike skin color, being a police officer is chosen.
Secondly, if you believe “All Lives Matter,” then nobody should be more pissed off than you by the unjust murders of black people by the cops. But (predictably) when another black man is gunned down by the police, further demonstrating that black lives DON’T matter, your outrage is nowhere to be found. Instead, you’ll offer up a bunch of “yeah, buts,” victim blaming, and silly memes about celebrity couples splitting up.
And for the people in the back, when you hear #BlackLivesMatter, it doesn’t mean black lives matter more than anyone else’s lives. It just means that they should matter just as much as anyone else’s.
ARGUMENT #4: “Stop vilifying cops! There are good police officers out there!”
Of course there are. Any reasonable person knows that, and if you think I hate the police, you’re completely mistaken. I recently met LAPD Police Chief Charlie Beck and he’s a wonderful man.
However, you’re not paying attention if you don’t understand why many black people are mistrusting of the police in general (refer to Argument #2).
And do you know what’s truly scary? Being a police officer suddenly looks like a dream job for white supremacists. America has shown us that all you need is a badge and gun, and you can intimidate, harass, beat up, and kill brown and black people and receive a paid vacation afterwards. Hell, if I was a racist, I’d be filling out my application to join the police academy right now.
With that said, everyone is so quick to offer their .02 on what the black community needs to do to improve, so how about we share what we need from the police? Let’s start with more accountability, better training, better vetting of applicants, and more good cops calling out the bad ones.
And in regard to the last point, props must be given to an Ohio Police Chief named Rodney Muterspaw who just spoke out against senseless police killings.
ARGUMENT #5: “Why does the Race Card have to be pulled out all of the time when stuff like this happens??”
Because sadly, this is 100% about race, that’s why.
I’m an author, a proud dad, a keynote speaker, a brand ambassador, etc., but above all of that, I’m a black man. There’s always that thought in the back of my mind that my life could end if I have an unfortunate incident with a police officer. Yes, I’ve had plenty of great experiences with police officers, but what if I happen to encounter that one cop who had a bad day? If you’re going to argue that race has nothing to do with it, then I have to just shake my head and walk away from you.
As one of my mentors once told me, “Not everybody is a morning person and it takes longer for some people to wake up than others.” That’s true. America is in desperate need of a
wake-up woke-up call. In order to truly love each other, we need to understand each other. I hope I did my part to help you understand the frustrations of many black Americans today.
We can do better and we have to do better. But change never starts with the other guy, it starts with us.