This morning I was gravely disappointed to see the meme below and following words. I agree wholeheartedly with the #InjusticeBoycott as it speaks up and educates on issues most would move on from without taking action, issues that truly reflect the state of the world. I feel great shame that the heavy words of Genocide and Extermination are slicing through the air as they are alone: threats that have been becoming more and more real.
“What we have here is the gross normalization of genocidal language and threats. Before genocide itself ever begins somewhere, what must first happen is the casual public conversation about it to normalize what is truly being said. ” Shaun King’s article in the New York Daily News today. Last night this Meme was posted by Allen West and quickly taken down:
The chilling concept of normalizing hate and injustice runs deeper than most are willing to accept. It has been going on for decades, it is rooted deeply in the things we have grown to love: it is precisely what we are staring in the face now as a result. As things begin to change in a blatant and offensive way, we also begin to notice the more subversive quieter changes that maybe we can’t put a finger on.
There have been moments when I feel completely out of place, sometimes it’s walking into an event that I’ve been so looking forward to or maybe walking into a store that I’m not really dressed for, and at times it’s hard to identify others it’s quite obvious. I know this feeling: My Sovereign People do too, it’s a moment when you realize that your face is the only one that stands out in the crowd. It doesn’t take much to tip you off, sometimes people even tell you meeting your eyes with looks that make you wonder who they’re looking at and then realizing you’re their intended. The other night I was sitting in some quality seats at the LA Kings game and I’m generally a pretty strong hockey fan, well liked by my fellow Kings Fans too, but something felt different. As I sat in these gifted seats everyone was quiet, there wasn’t much in the way of the camaraderie I tend to love when going to these games. Staple’s Center is home to the LA Lakers as well, and I frequent those games much more often in seats of equal value and was just there a few nights prior. But that night, while surrounded by a sea of Kings, I couldn’t really put my finger on it and as I searched for the source it came time for the National Anthem. I have to tell you as a 20 year plus athlete at the Division 1 level, I have never felt comfortable when they played the anthem. I know my Native friends will agree that standing for this one cause just isn’t something I can do with honor. In college it was an expectation that you, as a representative of your school, obey the cultural norm and stand facing the flag for every game. I always had my right hand on my hip in a silent and secret act of defiance. At that time I wasn’t a fan: I was a player. So now, as a spectator and committed Dodgers, Kings, and Lakers fan I actually get to carry out my beliefs and choose not to stand for the anthem. To be honest, I’ve been doing it for almost 19 years now and no one has given me any grief maybe a stare or two but not like this.
With the attention the NFL players garnered in taking a knee, the carry over to High School athletics, and even referees, it would seem there is a shift. When I started to see people showing their dissatisfaction with the injustices of our world it gave me hope and made me feel like I wasn’t alone or the lone person not standing at the game as I’ve felt for so many years. But last night, I felt like all eyes were on me. It’s not something I like and always makes me uncomfortable. It feels almost like a Tasmanian Devil Firecracker has gone off in my gut, I try to quell it but it just keeps going and I can’t wait until the song is over and the last words of the anthem are sung. I’m never rude, I always applaud the performer, but I exercise my right not to stand for an anthem of a country who stole my land and killed my people.
Last night, as we enjoyed our amazing seats and the light show I still didn’t feel comfortable. I waited for some kind of reaction to my normal defiant commitment to my seat to draw some kind of action, but instead it was just like I could tell people were gesturing silently behind me or making faces in secret. One man turned toward me as if he was going to do me a favor and say “hey-you’re not standing” but when he looked at me he could tell my choice was deliberate not just absentminded and said nothing. I was relieved when the song was over and was happy to see a black military woman singing that night for the first time in 3 years. The Kings also do several honorary guest tributes to members of the military and everyone rises and claps throughout the game: but I want to know who these people are. Knowing what we know now of our military and their kill count promotion system I wonder who decides who these people are that get honored. I just want to know more about who they are so that I can share in their moment. But, I also want to point out that at no other game do they honor on three separate occasions Army, Marine, Navy, Air Force, even S.W.A.T one time, Police Officers, it seems like there is no separation between those who have fought in war across seas and those who are fighting in wars in our streets: three times a game there are honorary members that we must rise for and applaud.
As the game went on no one around us was talking, they weren’t cheering, it was the strangest thing. By the end of the second period it hit me: I hadn’t seen a minority face because I hadn’t left my seat since we arrived. I’ve known that Hockey is primarily a white sport, and take issue with the privilege and bias of the sport, but what do we do when the institutions that confine us are meant to keep us out? I looked around the rink and section we were in and felt like I was surrounded by fans, decked out in their Kings gear, but not surrounded by my people. As All The Small Things by Blink 182 played on the overhead speakers a song released 17 years ago the crowd all kept singing along when the music stopped. It was so strange, this was the only song they did this to. I felt like it was some kind of subconscious tick if you will, but everyone just kept going. It was a rink of Kings surrounding me and engulfing me at the same time with Winter’s chill.
What made me feel uncomfortable was the fact that the service staff and event employees are all minorities, yet, the people on screen or in little skirts and santa hats are all white as well as all the players and coaches. It’s something that we’ve grown to accept but I’d like for people to stop for a moment: when you feel out of place I want you to figure out the source of it all and when you do I want to know. Systemic Racism isn’t just in the systems that govern, not just in education, but I would argue that there’s a real reason you never wanted to play hockey but love to watch: well, there is a reason for me at least. When your skin color doesn’t match the majority it’s a signal to you that you don’t belong, and it’s a signal to the majority that maybe if you don’t behave correctly, then they should make sure you know it so you don’t come back. I’m not saying I won’t be going back to the games, on the contrary, I still love hockey. I’m just saying that I’m wondering how long I’ll be able to tolerate the firecracker in my gut or worse someone else feeling incensed enough to make a scene when I don’t rise for the National Anthem because it’s not the anthem of my people.
There are very few African American Pro Hockey players in the NHL- here’s what people have said about them:
That these tweets come from 2012 and the same verbiage is used today further proves that the normalization of hate has progressed. It’s staring you in the face.
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