Before you read this, keep two things in mind. First, this post is not intended to be a criticism. While undoubtedly some people will view it as such, that is not the purpose of what I’m writing. This is solely meant to be an objective analysis of what is currently happening in America.
Second, in order for you to actually absorb what I’m trying to say, you need to completely shed your opinion of the matter for the time being. That’s right – completely wipe the way you feel away from your mind, and read this with a totally unbiased lens. Otherwise your interpretation of the matter will be invalidated by pre-existing views.
That said, I’m going to start by simplifying things by using an equation that anyone could understand. Consider an action. Any action. It could be exercise. It could be a protest. It could be anything. The equation is as follows: x = y + z. Now, here’s what the variables represent:
Y and Z are the effects of the action, X. In this particular case, our action has two effects. This could vary, as an action could have several different effects, which would mean x could equal many variables, but for simplicity I’m using two.
So – let’s now consider Colin Kaepernick’s protest, which in this case is represented by x. Y illustrates the positive effect of drawing national attention to the very important issue of racial biases. Z, on the other hand, represents the negative effect of the public’s interpretation of his protest – primarily the disrespect felt by our nation’s veteran’s and public service workers (such as firefighters, etc.). The goal, as is with any action we take, is to have a positive net effect. Here, ideally we want Y to be greater than Z. That would mean our action is producing a positive result.
Let’s consider that equation. Admittedly, its difficult to actually quantify the positive and negative variables, since there’s no way of measuring the precise effects. However, we have to ask ourselves – is protesting the flag, and thus drawing attention to the matter, worth the negative effects of alienating so many people? Is it really worth the disrespect and lack of appreciation that the wounded vet feels? Or perhaps the hurt that the 9/11 firefighter feels? Is Y truly greater than Z? These actions have consequences, regardless of the intention. At the end of the day, that’s how we can decide whether or not this is a productive protest. If its not, we would then go back to the drawing board and figure out a different way to draw attention to racial tension. Incidentally, I can assure you there are plenty aside from protesting the flag.
The answer, it seems to me, is no. I have tried to plead my case to many people to help them understand why, to no avail. What so many don’t seem to understand is that this protest is not drawing positive attention to the black community. I can say that because I’ve had countless conversations about the issue. What it is doing is actually creating more closet racists and promoting the bigotry that were fighting so hard to eliminate. Now that will undoubtedly offend people because its a horrible thing, but hurt feelings don’t make it untrue. In fact, just this morning I read an article that thousands of people were planning to boycott the NFL. Is that the effect Kaepernick was going for? If not, its clear that he needs to reconsider how he makes this issue a mainstream one. He shouldn’t be ashamed to change his mind – on the contrary, people would respect him more for showing an open-mind.
The inability to find a way to protest that universally draws positive attention shows a lack of ingenuity. Because racism is not exclusively an American problem. Its a human problem. Lets say for example the flag protest was heeded, and we disbanded America today. Would racism be gone by tomorrow? Of course not. It would be absurd to think that would work. So what is the correlation between the flag and racism? There isn’t one. The same concept applies to blocking traffic. Does anyone actually think that doing so would make people want to listen to you? If your answer is yes, then I think we need to talk about general common sense. For example, if you were going to work and the door to your office was being blocked by one of those Mormons who go door-to-door, would you want to listen to what they have to say? No – any normal human would be pissed that that person is making them late to work. Their message would be completely unheard.
As I mentioned before, these things should be common sense. I personally think that racial issues need to be talked about, absolutely. But the manner in which so many people are trying to talk about them is counter-productive, and I genuinely wish that they would understand that. Instead, what we’re seeing is a massive display of stubbornness and closed-minded groupthink.
So again, this post is a plea for reason. The current state of affairs are doing nothing but furthering the divide in this already broken culture. Other methods need to be considered if we’re ever going to fix the mess we’ve created.
There’s always a better way to do things.