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Why Are Blacks Expected to Remember Everybody’s Pain—Except their Own

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by G. Brown

On the 15th anniversary of the 9-11 terrorist attacks, the hashtag #NeverForget evoked tearful reminders of what we as a nation lost that day. Thousands perished and America was thrust into a fear that will never disappear.

Colin Kaepernick and other NFL players thought the anniversary of that somber event was an appropriate day to remember  Black lives that have been lost to violence here at home.  As their peaceful, silent protest spread to more teams, more cities and more stadiums, some argue that the anniversary of 9-11 was too sacred a day for such a protest.  Supermodel Kate Upton called the protest “disgraceful” and “unacceptable“.  In her Twitter post, Upton chastised the players saying, “You should be proud to be an American. Especially on 9/11 when we should support each other…” You have to admire the irony in her statement…”we should support each other.” But that’s the reason why Kaepernick and the players are protesting because they feel that America isn’t supporting the Black community.

Upton condemned the players protest as “more horrific” because it occurred on the anniversary of 9-11.  Yet, every time Kaepernick and any player protest whether it’s on 9-11, August  26 or September 1, there were the same criticisms by others. Upton quickly began a trending topic on social media and she and her comments were dragged thru the mud.  The hypocrisy of her post zipped right past her own head as she stood on American values to deride Kap and the players for standing on American values.

The problem wasn’t the date of 9-11, it was the subject of speaking for Black lives.  How did remembering one group of people (Blacks and the violence they face in this country at the hands of police) detract from remembering another group of people (those who died on 9-11)? Who named Upton “Czar of What People can remember/observe and when”—cause I didn’t get the memo.

We extol diversity as one of the virtues of America, but what good is that diversity if we immediately mandate that everybody fall in line and do as the majority dictates? Stand when we sing this song, observe the memory of others on this day when we tell you, celebrate this religious holiday and not that one, wear your hair this way….

Protesting an anthem is not an “un-American” thing to do, it is uniquely American.  Those who protest do so out of love for their country because they want America to live up to the constitutional ideals that form the foundation of this nation.  Remembering one group doesn’t mean the other group is forgotten. Instead of focusing on the differences, Upton and others missed the opportunity to see what makes us similar is pain for lives lost. It was a chance to “support each other” that Upton obviously would rather rant about on twitter instead of actually showing support for their protest and their cause as well as remembering the victims of 9/11.

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