Special to the Cape Charles Mirror by Paul Plante
In a recent CCM thread “On Citizenship,” CCM commentator Charles Taylor @ October 16, 2017 at 11:20 am stated as follows with respect to these so-called “football protests,” to wit:
Sorry that the form of protest does not suit your neat sense of how and when it should occur, and that it is does not articulate anything you can get your “hands” around.
You do the digging to understand; that‘s not my job or intent to inform you.
Since it has peaked your interest, you can delve further into the message it is intended to send.
If it makes you uncomfortable, then maybe its purpose is being served.
In response, I would like to assure Mr. Charles Taylor that I have done plenty of “digging” on the subject, starting last year in fact, when San Francisco 49s quarterback Colin Kaepernick first “took the knee” before a preseason game in late August 2016, stating at that time, “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” where “oppression” is defined as “prolonged cruel or unjust treatment or control,” or “the state of being subject to unjust treatment or control,” or “mental pressure or distress,” which logically leads to the question, does the “country,” which is the United States of America, really oppress black people and people of color, who are defined as “a person who is not white or of European parentage,” given that we just had a black man as president in this country and another black man as its attorney general?
Does the United States of America have as its policy the oppression of black people and people of color?
Given that we had a black man as our chief law enforcement officer, as well as the person who is charged by our Constitution with “taking care” that our laws are enforced, were Barack Hussein Obama and Eric Himpton Holder, Jr. in 2016 subjecting black people and people of color in this country to “prolonged cruel or unjust treatment or control,” or were black people and people of color in this country under Barack Hussein Obama and Eric Himpton Holder, Jr. in 2016 in “the state of being subject to unjust treatment or control,” or “mental pressure or distress,” or is that just a fever dream in the brain of football player Colin Kaepernick?
To answer that question, let us go to Wikipedia under the heading “Oppression,” to see what they have to say on the subject as a starting point in this discussion:
Oppression is the prolonged, unjust treatment or control of people by others.
In the past, the definition of oppression was limited to tyranny by a ruling group, but over time it has transformed because governments are not the only people who oppress.
Today, oppression “could also mean denying people language, education, and other opportunities that might make them become fully human in both mind and body.”
This is seen throughout history through the actions of Hitler and Mussolini in Europe, King George III in the United Kingdom and the Thirteen Colonies (the predecessor of the United States of America), and today by observing the actions of people such as Kim Jong-un in North Korea and Bashar al-Assad in Syria.
Although these leaders are separated by nearly fifty years and a few centuries, both are “governmental regimes that deprive people of at least some of their human rights.”
So, in 2016, was the United States of America, the “country,” under Barack Hussein Obama and Eric Himpton Holder, Jr, both black men, oppressing black people and people of color in this country by denying them language, education, and other opportunities that might make them become fully human in both mind and body?
Now, there is a question for our times alright.
Getting back to Wikipedia, we have:
Today, oppression can be seen in the social, institutionalized, and economic spheres across the world.
Social oppression can be observed in the form of gendered, class, racial, and sexual oppression.
The relationship of social oppression is one of dominance and subordination, in which one party has the ability to maintain its advantage relative over another party.
Institutionalized oppression is when “established laws, customs, and practices systematically reflect and produce inequities based on one’s membership in targeted social identity groups.”
If institutionalized oppression is when “established laws, customs, and practices systematically reflect and produce inequities based on one’s membership in targeted social identity groups,” does the United States of America, the “country” that football player Colin Kaepernick says “oppresses black people and people of color,” does the United States of America then have “established laws, customs, and practices” that systematically reflect and produce inequities based on one’s membership in targeted social identity groups such as black people and people of color, or is that really just some horse**** Colin Kaepernick dreamed up to get his name in the newspapers?
And what about “social justice,” which Wikipedia tells us is a concept of fair and just relations between the individual and society measured by the explicit and tacit terms for the distribution of wealth, opportunities for personal activity and social privileges?
If “social injustice” is measured in terms of inequality of wealth, then wouldn’t Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shahid Khan, a Pakistani-American billionaire and business tycoon who as of August 2017 had a net worth over $8.7 billion which ranked him 70th in the Forbes 400 list of richest Americans, while he is overall the 158th wealthiest person in the world, be the epitome of social injustice here in the United States of America?
Getting back to “social justice,” Wikipedia tells us that in Western as well as in older Asian cultures, the concept of social justice has often referred to the process of ensuring that individuals fulfill their societal roles and receive what was their due from society, while in the current global grassroots movements for social justice, the emphasis has been on the breaking of barriers for social mobility, the creation of safety nets and economic justice.
A question for our times, as we see armed anarchists and socialists and communists rampaging on our streets and destroying public property, is exactly what coercive methods are being employed today to “break these supposed barriers for social mobility?”
Do you break the barriers for social mobility by breaking people’s head with lead pipes and crowbars and clubs?
Getting back to Wikipedia, we are told that social justice assigns rights and duties in the institutions of society, which enables people to receive the basic benefits and burdens of cooperation.
Given all of the social programs and civil rights legislation in this country intended to assure black people and people of color are receiving the basic benefits needed to sustain life, are we to seriously believe this football player Colin Kaepernick when he says the country, the United States of America, oppresses black people and people of color?
What are your thoughts, people of America, the country that football player Colin Kaepernick says oppresses black people and people of color?
If the country is all the people in it, including black people and people of color, all of whom are citizens just like white people, and not just the land mass, then who is it that is oppressing the black people and people of color?
If it is the “country” doing it as football player Colin Kaepernick claims, then wouldn’t that have to include the black people and people of color, as well, oppressing themselves, since they are as much a part of the country as the white people are?
Questions for our times.