White-Passing Latinxs & The “Brown Girl” Phenomenon

Now that I’m a mom, I’ve noticed (even more than usual) how obsessed people are with putting everyone into boxes. Whether they are boxes of gender, race, class, or education — people here in good ol’ ‘Merikkka REALLY want everyone to fit into them.

This is super applicable when it comes to race and skin color, maybe more than anything else. My son is CLEARLY my son. We have pretty much the same face, but he’s lighter skinned than me. I’d say if we were using Crayola colors to describe skin tone, mine would be like burnt sienna and his would be like caramel.

People have asked me if I’m his nanny when I’ve taken him to the park. No, I didn’t punch them in the face, I just gently said, “No, he’s my son. We have the same face.” And let them wallow in their discomfort as I refuse to walk away and continue to push him on the swings like “What? Am I making you uncomfortable by taking up space now that you said something super stupid?”

So it REALLY bugs me when people say they are color-blind. Because it’s:

A) Not fucking true

B) Another way to erase the gorgeous multitude of skin tones that make us diverse

C) Is a coded way to tell a POC, “You don’t matter to me”

I want you to notice my color. It’s beautiful. My ancestors have passed down my brown skin through generations. I’m a beautiful brown woman.

This is also why it pisses me off when white-passing Latinxs try to claim “brown” as an identity because, well, NOPE. Have you ever been stopped by the cops because of the color of your skin? Have you ever been denied service in establishments across Latin America because of the color of your skin? Has your suegra ever been asked why she would let her son date you because of the color of your skin?

I DIDN’T THINK SO.

There is a way to acknowledge the differences between our skin tones with love and understanding without fetishizing it. Yes, I know it’s pretty hot to be a “Brown Girl” right now. We can probably thank the wonderful, beautiful, and talented Prisca Mojica Rodriguez for that (luh ya girl). But that doesn’t mean that you just get to jump on the bandwagon to commercialize our identity and try to make money off of it.

It’s another insidious form of cultural appropriation in a way. You get to try on this identity for social media, or for your blog, or podcast, or whatever it is you’re schilling that day, and then at the end of the day, you get to take it right back off. Maybe you were even one of those Latinxs who grew up checking “white” as your race your whole life. So, no, now that we are “trendy” you do not get to hop on the bandwagon of being a brown girl. A lot of blood, sweat, and tears have gone into fighting for our own identities. For making spaces for ourselves. For forcing our ways into places where you could just sashay right through the door.

So please, take all the seats.

We need to figure out ways to acknowledge and uphold our multiple and various identities without commodifying them or using them to label people on a spectrum of good to bad, or worthy to unworthy. Yeah, it’s annoying that folks want to be able to put everyone into boxes, but in recognizing that tendency in our society, we can begin to address ways to dismantle it, without losing ourselves and all the rich complexity of our identities at the same time.

Claiming ones that do not belong to us just because they are trendy is not the way to go about it. So, unless you have lived the struggle of a brown girl, then don’t call yourself one. Be an ally, be a sister, be a friend, be an amplifier, just don’t try to be something that you’re not.

 

 

Racism IS Business As Usual for the United States

I never had any delusions about our country being “post-racial” after Obama’s election. All you had to do was listen to a Republican tying themselves in knots to try to explain why they opposed him at every turn without calling him a “ni**er” to know that racism is alive and well.

I’ve been shaking my head at how many folks out there are so pissed at the millennials who sat out this last election because they just weren’t excited about Hillary Clinton with cries of “entitlement” and “laziness.” But here is the thing. Nothing screams entitlement more than thinking that you deserve to an entire country to yourselves because you happen to have less melanin than the average human. I mean, what the actual fuck?

So, yeah: America is and has always been racist as hell. And let me double down on this fact: TRUMP WON BECAUSE RACIST WHITE PEOPLE VOTED FOR ANOTHER RACIST WHITE PERSON TO BE PRESIDENT. STOP APOLOGIZING FOR THEM.

If you voted for Trump you ARE a racist. Learn it. Love it. Live it. Maybe you don’t even know you’re a racist. But you are. Self-awareness and knowledge is not a prerequisite for being a racist.  Yet all these supposedly left-leaning politicians in Bernie Sanders’ corner want to be progressive while refusing to label the Trump movement for what is really is: A nativist, white supremacist, nationalist frenzy.

And if you have children, you should be terrified. I was so happy that my son was born during Obama’s tenure as president. I made me think of all the kids under the age of 8 who just thought it was normal that a Black man held the highest position of power in our country. But, it turns out that so many wypipo, rich or poor, urban or rural, felt that this was so completely out of the “natural order of things” that they gave their vote to a reality star clown in order to desperately hang on to the position of power and privilege they have held on to, well, since forever. That the patriarchal powers-that-be are willing to sell their souls to the highest bidders just to protect that power is actually pretty normal. I don’t, in retrospect, understand why I was so shocked I guess.

I’ll tell you what’s not normal: It’s not normal to think that climate change isn’t real. It’s not normal to demand to see the president’s birth certificate, but then be 100% okay with a presidential candidate who refuses to share his tax returns. It’s not normal to support a man who wants to ban Syrian refugees, and then bombs the shit out of their country to “protect” them. It’s not normal to refuse a woman the right to end an unwanted pregnancy under any circumstance because she is “killing a baby” while simultaneously rejecting child refugees from Syria, where babies are being bombed and murdered every day.

It’s not normal to say we live in a post-racial America, and try to deny the fact that the folks who voted for Trump are racists. Stop apologizing for them. Stop politicizing the very real hatred and danger people of color have felt tangibly in this country, day in and day out. This is the very definition of staying woke. We’re woke to that danger, to that level of threat and menace in our day to day lives. For those of y’all who are just so shocked by the uptick in hate crimes, in the fact that children are being bullied and taunted in school for the color of the skin or they family’s religious beliefs, recognize how fucking steeped in privilege you really are that you were able to believe this wasn’t happening before this god-awful election.

We should all be so lucky. Now that we all see what’s REALLY good though, how are we going to create a new normal for our children here in America?

My Son is an Obama Baby

And I will never ever let him forget it. One of the things that made me happiest about the world I brought him in to was the fact that at least for the first two years of his life, he would only know a Black president. A Black president is the norm for him. He would never understand why I cried like a baby the night Barack Obama was elected, or the absolute joy that would fill my heart when we received their annual holiday card: A picture perfect reflection of a gorgeous, proud, Black family.

He would never understand how rare it used to be to see strong, Black feminism uplifted and praised as it has been while Michelle Obama has been FLOTUS. It would just be normal. I will never, ever let him forget that President Barack Obama was in power when he was born. President Obama’s tenure is over, but in his wake he has left behind a lasting legacy for our Black and Brown boys, no matter how much of his political accomplishments get overturned or undone. He has shown by example that we ALL have the right to dream bigger than anyone might think possible. That our young women and men of color really can do ANYTHING. And that people, when inspired by love, unity and intelligence, can come together to make the world a better place.

I’m not ignorant.I know my son will likely have to deal with racism in his life. I don’t live with blinders on and I plan on talking to him openly and honestly about the history of colonization, oppresion and violence that this country has been built upon. But for a fleeting moment, his president was Black and that can never be taken away from him.

My son is only two years old, but I know I’m going to have a lot of explaining to do over the next few years about why we allowed all the progress of the last eight years to be torn down and thrown away by a hateful bigot. This is my chance to teach him about how good does not always beget good and evil does not always beget evil. Life is a pendulum, always striving to find a balance between darkness and light. Without one, the other can not exist. Still, as humans, we must always push towards the light, towards good and towards love.

The Day After Tomorrow: Hope & Love Can STILL Win

I know so many people are feeling abject dejection right now. I know it’s so hard to stomach the fact that millions of people in this country are okay with the idea of a man who has spewed such vile racist, xenophobic, ableist and sexist hatred being our president. It’s so disappointing.

I’m here to tell you to take heart. Everything is illuminated now for those who refused to accept the real world dangers surrounding us here in the country we call home. These institutions, everything from educational, financial and housing systems to the Electoral College, were not made for us. These were made for them. And They don’t want us to win. DJ Khaled is right.

When we elected President Obama in 2008, he got 15 million new voters to the polls, mostly Black, Latinx and very poor (a large percentage of new voters in Obama’s first election made less than $15K a year). The election of Trump is a direct reaction to the election of President Obama. Don’t get it twisted. White people came out in droves to tell us that this is THEIR country. And it is for the time being, but not for long.

Here is one indisputable fact: WE ARE STILL THE FUTURE.

Real talk, I don’t even want to claim this cesspool as my country right now. There is so much work to be done before I can feel proud to be an American again. Corporations have taken over our entire electoral system thanks to Citizens United. And even if they hadn’t, our Electoral College system is a fucking farce. How the hell are we okay with having ANOTHER president elected who lost the popular vote?

We should be rioting in the streets because we are in a civil war, my peoples. Make no qualms about it. On one side, we have a large and growing minority of Blacks, Latinxs, immigrants, LGBTQ, and WMW people, and on the other we have people who want to “Make America Great Again” by disenfranchising voters of color with, as one North Carolina judge noted, “surgical precision.” These are the people who thought Emmet Till got what he deserved and didn’t think racism was a problem until we had the audacity to elect a Black president who “brings up the topic all the time.”

The best conclusion we can draw from this election is that the people who voted for Trump are running scared. So what can we do now? Well, we have a few choices. There are some who want to abandon the country and move abroad. I can’t and won’t hate on that option. There are others who are fired up and want to help support non-profits who, rightfully so, are terrified about their futures and their ability to help those who need it most. That’s a noble cause. There are some who are pissed off about the ways our elections work in the first place and want to change the fundamental ways in which our democracy is run, that’s an amazing goal and one I can get behind this 100%. Whatever you feel is the best way forward, take it. But don’t just sit on your butt and complain. We need to create a coalition across races, socioeconomic backgrounds and gender identities that can stand up strong against the White supremacists who are about to get high level appointments in Trump’s cabinet. First things first, we MUST do away with the Republican majority in the house and senate and we can do that in two short years.

Me? I’m trying to figure out a way to raise my son and keep him safe in a country that seems to hate him, to hate US. I’m not sure how that’s going to look quite yet, I need more than 24 hours to figure it out, but one thing is for damn sure: I didn’t work as hard to get where I am now to let a bunch of old, scared folks tell me how I can and cannot live my life. So, I’m not going to stay quiet. I’m not going to act like this election was normal. I’m not going to legitimize this man’s presidency and this election the way the mainstream media has for months on end.

Donald Trump will NEVER be my president and the millions who voted for him will NEVER be my people. So they better get out of the way, because if they thought President Obama was scary, they ain’t seen nothing yet.

Being Black & Latinx in the United States

When I was a little girl, my grandmother used to fret about me staying out in the sun for too long. “Te vas a poner prieta,” (“You’re going to turn black”) she would cluck at me, clearly wanting to prevent this horrible thing from happening.

I was always super confused about this cause I was born with chocolate brown skin. I’m darker than some of my black girlfriends. There was no going back to some lighter-skinned fairytale version of myself that never existed. No matter how much I avoided the sun, my skin was going to be “prieta.” The funny thing about this is that the very same word used to denote unwanted blackness is also used as a loving nickname. Calling someone prieta or prieto in Puerto Rico (where my family is from) can be a term of endearment.

We have a complicated relationship with race and colorism all across Latin America.

All across Latin America, the black populations are often the poorest, most marginalized communities. It’s also REALLY hard to get some AfroLatinos to admit that they are black. I’m pretty sure if you ask the Dominicans born of Haitian ancestry currently being deported back to a country they have never called home what they think about that, you’ll get some interesting answers.

Here in the United States, it also very complicated when you ask Latinxs to self-identify race. Though about 25% of Latinxs surveyed here in the U.S. say they are “AfroLatino” only 18% of them denoted their race or at least one of their races as black. Say WHAT?

Part of the problem is a fundamental misunderstanding of what the words Latinx and Hispanic connote. Neither are indicators of race, you can be Latinx and be black, white, indigenous, Asian, etc. It just basically means that you’re ancestors come from any country in Latin America or the Spanish Caribbean, including Brazil. Though this is often used interchangeably with the term “Hispanic,” they are not the same. Hispanic just generally refers to those who come from countries of origin where the Spanish language is spoken. So this term would encompass those from Spain, while the term Latinx would not.

What makes my brain hurt is the fact that there is a large community here in the U.S. willing to identify as AfroLatino while simultaneously refusing to accept their blackness. There is an intense anti-blackness drummed into Latinxs. The colorism is so deeply ingrained in Latin America that if you ask someone who looks like me what their race is they will go down a list of everything from “India” to “Mestiza” to “Mulatta” just to avoid saying black.

Once you add the basic human desire to always see another group as less than — no matter where in the hierarchy of oppression you stand — you can understand why some U.S. Latinxs may be comfortable embracing their AfroLatino heritage, but not their blackness.

Black people are subject to unrelenting systematic racism. Demonized by both mainstream media and the criminal justice system. the U.S. black community is more marginalized than most any other minority group. Who would want to identify with that history of hatred and abuse?

But we have to align ourselves. And we should want to. Because the black community here in the U.S.A. and those of African heritage all across the globe have been standing up to the kind of fascism we’re currently dealing with for hundreds and thousands of years. People like Donald Trump think there is a difference between calling for the registration of Muslims, mass deportations and policies like Stop & Frisk but there is not. It’s an attempt to make us all less human and to make our civil rights less important than theirs.

It took me a long time to self-identify as black but it wasn’t a case of self-denial. My parents did a really good job of explaining the African ancestry of Puerto Ricans to me and I was well-educated and proud of that aspect of my history. I just always felt “not enough.” When I with my black girlfriends, it was clear to me that I was most definitely not one of them and that I could in no way understand their struggle. Which is 100% true. It’s a different experience. When I hung out with Latinas, it was made clear to me that even though I had dark skin, I was lucky because I had “good hair,” and and other phenotypical attributes that they blatantly pointed out kept me from the “black” designation. Now I know I am enough, but it was confusing and apparently, I’m not the only one.

What finally crystalized my identity for me was a couple of horrible racist experiences I had as a young adult. First, I was denied service in a bar in Latin America because I was black and told the only reason they let me in was because I was with a bunch of “gringas.” Then I experienced NYC housing discrimination at its finest when I showed up with a deposit check to pick up keys to a new apartment that reached full capacity the second the management saw my face (even though it had just been built and about 50% of the apartments were empty that very morning). Racists don’t see any difference between me or a black woman or a lighter-skinned Latina. They just see a woman who is NOT white.

The only way we can force racists to acknowledge our humanity and basic rights is to do it together. Instead of denying our blackness, let’s embrace and uplift it and work together to bring the most vilified, the most oppressed, the most marginalized communities real justice. Desmond Tutu said it best:

If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.

All lives won’t matter until #BlackLivesMatter.

The Lesser of Two Evils: Misogyny VS Racism

Today I want to talk politics, because for real: Are you fucking kidding ‘Murica?

This election has been particularly hard on my sensibilities. I’m not a big Hillary supporter, not only because of her “super predators” comments, but because she supported foreign policy that sent so many children back to Honduras and El Salvador to a fairly certain death. In so many ways, she represents a brand of White Feminism that is very hard for me to stomach. Still, there is no denying that she actually listened to her constituents and has not only apologized for a lot of the shit that has happened as a direct result of her husband’s horrible policies but also shifted a lot of her own to reflect the very passionate Bernie supporters out there, like me, who are demanding more than just superficial change.

When Obama ran for President the very first time, a white woman asked me if I was “choosing my race over my gender” because of my support of the senator from Chicago. The question of if I have a choice is not really a question; it’s an assumption that only someone in a position of privilege can make. I don’t. I’m a person of color and I’m a woman. I can’t parse those two parts of my identity. It’s just who I am. Not only am I undeniably female as I walk through this world, but I’m also undeniably brown. In fact, I’m undeniably Afro-Latina. As in, I will never, ever “pass” and I’m fine with that. I love being a woman and I am so proud of my mixed heritage as a Puerto Rican that it probably annoys people sometimes. #YoSoyBoricuaPaQueTuLoSepa

I voted for Obama enthusiastically in part because I truly believed in the message of change and hope he was selling. Has he disappointed me in some ways? FOR SURE. But overall, I know that the alternative would have been so much worse it makes me shudder to think about it.

The thing about this election is that people are being forced to make false equivalencies and keep on insisting that this is a choice between the lesser of two evils. That’s where sexism comes into play. Donald Trump is an unqualified, failed business man with a history of cheating people out of money they are owed, cheating on his own taxes and cheating on his wives. Plus, he probably raped a young girl. He’s also a racist misogynist and most likely a white supremacist. He’s fucking EVIL y’all.

A Bush or a Clinton has held presidential power for 20 out of the last 28 years here in the U.S. That pretty much cements the status of our country as an oligarchy where a few select families control the majority of wealth and political power. In 2011, just 400 Americans had more wealth than half of all Americans combined and it’s just gotten worse in the last five years. That blows. But Hillary did not create the system she is currently benefiting from.

Here is the thing; we have real shit to criticize Hillary Clinton about because she has so much experience as a politician. She’s a career politician and Donald Trump is a career failure. The only thing he has really ever excelled at in his life was hosting a reality show where he told everyone they were “Fired.”

Yet Hillary Clinton has to stand across from this total asshat at debates and pretend that he is her equal and feign respect for someone who has never shown respect for anyone else. She is way more qualified than Trump and she has been preparing for this job pretty much her entire life. She wasn’t raised with a silver spoon and she was never given millions of dollars by her father to waste away on ill-advised investments. She has also never scammed people out of their hard earned money.

I don’t LOVE Hillary Clinton. I’m not all engaged by her the way I was with Obama or Bernie. But we have never, ever had a “perfect” candidate to elect because we will never all agree on who that “perfect” candidate would be. What we do have is a choice between someone who is qualified and someone who would make us a complete and utter mockery on a global scale.

For those of you considering a “protest” vote: Please, if you REALLY want to protest, start working towards a fundamental change in our electoral system. Don’t waste your vote on candidates who don’t believe in vaccinations or who think climate change isn’t a big deal because “the sun is going to actually grow and encompass the Earth anyways.”

The only reason we are even in this clusterfuck is because there is a radical change underfoot in this country and to a larger extent the whole world. It’s the browning of America and a lot of people are scared about it. The world is becoming smaller and borders less relevant and when it comes down to it, there are just plain more of US than THEM. So those with lesser intellect and closed minds want to elect white supremacists in the hopes of maintaining a power structure that is starting to hear its death knells. Electing Hillary won’t change the power dynamics in this country, but it would be great if we can prove to all Trump supporters that there are more of us who chose unity over segregation, who chose love over hate, who chose experience over idiocy.

Hate can never and should never win. And a woman should never be forced to pretend that a man is her equal just because he has a penis. That’s sexist. Misogyny is just a hateful as racism. That’s an equivalency that is true.

 

 

Lena Dunham, Megan Rapinoe & White Feminism

I mentioned in my last post that I was a big football fan. Well, I’m a HUGE football fan. Like a two-time Fantasy Football champ level football fan. The NY Giants are my team and Odell Beckham Jr. is my man. I drafted him FIRST this year and I had the FIRST pick. Much faith has been placed in his beautiful, magical hands.

So, when Lena Dunham came out her neck talking about him like he was somehow in the wrong for daring to NOT hit on her at the Met Gala this year I was PISSED. It actually kind of shocked me how mad I was. It’s not because I’m a OBJ fan (I’m not down with the ODB nickname because it makes no sense, sorry Wu-Tang), it was because her statements smacked of so much entitlement and the very WORST form of white feminism it was hard for me to even stomach the interview. Here’s what she said word-for-word:

I was sitting next to Odell Beckham Jr., and it was so amazing because it was like he looked at me and he determined I was not the shape of a woman by his standards. He was like, “That’s a marshmallow. That’s a child. That’s a dog.” It wasn’t mean — he just seemed confused.

The vibe was very much like, “Do I want to fuck it? Is it wearing a … yep, it’s wearing a tuxedo. I’m going to go back to my cell phone.” It was like we were forced to be together, and he literally was scrolling Instagram rather than have to look at a woman in a bow tie. I was like, “This should be called the Metropolitan Museum of Getting Rejected by Athletes.”

Sigh. There is so much to unpack here. Let’s start with the fact that Beckham Jr. didn’t actually SAY anything to her at all. So basically, here she is, a white, incredibly privileged woman putting words in the mouth of a black man. Secondly, she is basically whining that he didn’t think she was hot enough to look at. Which is so annoying because when she wore that tuxedo to the Met Gala I was like, “FUCK YEAH! Take THAT patriarchy!” And she managed to just undo it all in two seconds by complaining to her friend that a man wouldn’t talk to her because she was wearing a tuxedo. I’m no even going to get into all the over-sexualization of black bodies or the fact that she actually felt like she was OWED a come-on by the wide receiver. Cause, no.

Right when I was kind of, sort of, reveling in all the mean shit Twitter was saying while they savagely dragged Lena (while also feeling bad for her because, damn, the internet is mean) the amazing Megan Rapinoe went and changed the whole convo by kneeling  during the national anthem before the National Women’s Soccer League Seattle Reign vs. Chicago Red Stars match.

Rapinoe stated point blank that she was standing in solidarity with Colin Kaepernick and that she felt like the convo about his protest had been skewed:

“It was very intentional,” Rapinoe told American Soccer Now after the game. “It was a little nod to Kaepernick and everything that he’s standing for right now. I think it’s actually pretty disgusting the way he was treated and the way that a lot of the media has covered it and made it about something that it absolutely isn’t. We need to have a more thoughtful, two-sided conversation about racial issues in this country.”

And there it is. The difference between intersectional feminism and white feminism in two simple acts. White feminism embraces and gives voice to the struggle of white women, while ignoring their very real place of privilege in our society. For example, 61 years ago (almost to the day), OBJ very well could have been lynched if he had the balls to approach a white woman like Lena Dunham and make any sort of even remotely flirtatious gesture. Just ask Emmet Till’s mom.

Intersectional feminism recognizes the links between all struggles for equality and acknowledges the fact that until we are ALL free, none of us are. Anyone who considers themselves a feminist, which Dunham surely does, should know enough to realize that the women’s rights are related to racial oppression are connected to class and gender policing etc. If you’re going to be a public figure loudly upholding a “feminist” ideal then do your damn homework and think, for just one second, before you say some stupid shit to your friend during an interview or before you tweet out blatantly ridiculous shit like:

It’s not that hard. Rapinoe proved it. Right after she correctly pointed out that the media BS over Kaepernick’s protest was completely misdirected, she also connected it to her own experience. Sure, as a white women, she has privilege in America, but as a GAY white women, she’s facing her own struggles:

“Being a gay American, I know what it means to look at the flag and not have it protect all of your liberties. It was something small that I could do and something that I plan to keep doing in the future and hopefully spark some meaningful conversation around it. It’s important to have white people stand in support of people of color on this. We don’t need to be the leading voice, of course, but standing in support of them is something that’s really powerful.”

It’s really not that hard Lena, and no, an apology is not enough. There are only so many times you can say “I’m sorry” before you need to start thinking about what you say BEFORE it comes out of your mouth. Give Megan a call, she can probably teach you at thing or two. If not, just take a moment to really think about this brilliant tweet:

 

Colin Kaepernick is Sitting Down for All the Brown & Black Boys in the U.S.A.

The whole kerfuffle about Colin Kaepernick has got me so confused y’all. I mean, isn’t the WHOLE POINT of freedom of expression to allow each other to hold our own distinct political and religious views without having to worry about what other people may think?

“I cannot stand and sing the anthem. I cannot salute the flag. I know that I am a black man in a white world.” -Colin Kaepernick

I can’t front, I’m a big football fan (though I’d never allow my son to play) and I’ve never really thought twice about Kap. He never made my Fantasy Football roster and he wasn’t on any team that I have an emotional investment in (NY Giants, natch). But the second he chose to use his platform to start a conversation about the indiscriminate murder of young black and brown people in our country, he became a god damn American hero.

There have been scores of op-eds written, social media posts drawn up, memes created, and tweets furiously typed all because one young man decided that he would not salute a flag that represents a country that has done nothing to protect him.

Lots of racists have made stupid arguments about why he is “wrong” to protest in his chosen fashion, but once you scratch below the surface there all just different versions of the old “Shut up, boy!” narrative people of color are all too familiar with. He’s unpatriotic? Since when did the flag stand ONLY to represent our armed forces? Further more, these men and women are fighting to protect the very same freedoms you are now trying to prevent the 49ers QB from exercising. Don’t believe me? Then hear it first hand from this amazing veteran Jim Wright.

And it’s not just him. The hashtag #VeteransForKaepernick has been trending. The second Kaepernick sat down and then spoke his mind so freely at that press conference, he became an athlete whose jersey I’d proudly let my son rock.

Then there’s the old argument that no black man can complain of being oppressed when he is making 19 million dollars a year. Let’s quickly address this stupid argument with two points. I’ll start with the immortal words of Nas, who was so wise to point out, “You can have all the chips, be poor or rich, still nobody wants a n*gger to have his shit.” Seriously, just ask James Blake, who was assaulted by the cops in NY.

The whole money argument is totally ridiculous for another reason that we never talk about. Kapernick makes millions of dollars a year, he’s an elite athlete who has worked his whole life to get where he is. No one can really argue that. But as Chris Rock says, “See, the black man gotta fly to get to somethin’ the white man can walk to.”

Even if you’re a freaking millionaire and you live in the poshest of neighborhoods, if you’re a black or brown man you will be constantly reminded that while you had to be the BEST of the BEST to get where you are, the white men around you got there by being average. You are in no position of power because YOU HAVE NO POWER. Money can only buy you protection if you have the means to translate it into institutional and systematic change. And money only translates to systematic and institutional change when you have the political, familial and business connections to make it so. I’m going to let you guess how many black and brown families in the U.S. have all those keys, but just FYI that a recent study showed that the average black family would need 228 YEARS to build the wealth of a white family today (and that would just be a start).

I’ll let Mr. Rock drive home this point:

“A black C student can’t be a manager at Burger King, meanwhile a white C student just happens to be the President of the United States.”

The last and most important fact is that every single one of these conservative, rightwing idiots out there, clutching their pearls, burning jerseys and writing post after post about how Kaepernick is ungrateful or disrespectful should try to LISTEN for once to what he is actually saying. We’ve been shouting it from the rooftops, we’ve been screaming it over the graves of our dead sons and daughters: STOP MURDERING US.

It’s really not that hard to understand. There were 1,134 people killed at the hands of the police last year (2015) and black men were nine times more likely to be the victims of these killings than any other group. It doesn’t seem to matter if there is direct eye-witness accounts or irrefutable video of these murders at the hands of those charged to protect and serve, it has been proven time and time again that black lives DON’T matter in this country. And until they do, we should ALL take a seat.