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Sheldon: Racism is what it is America, right? Wrong

Steve Sheldon
Valley Voices

Nikki Haley, the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said that “In much of the Democratic Party, it’s now fashionable to say that America is racist.”  “America is not a racist country” she went on to proclaim

I don’t mind a little hyperbole every now and then, but what kind of Kool-Aid are you drinking sister? What America do you live in and why do you want to make racism a partisan issue?

As Doc Rivers, the coach of the NBA’s Clippers, said last week, “It’s amazing why we (Black Americans) keep loving this country and this country does not love us back.” I love you and Black Americans back Doc, and so do lots of other Americans. But let’s be clear, many do not, and racism does indeed exist in America.

I responded online to a friend who wanted to bash NBA players for protesting by refusing to take the floor following the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin. While possibly unintentional, many of the comments were subtly yet undoubtedly racist. And they subserviently followed the Fox News and Trump guideline: propaganda and rhetoric. 

Jared Kushner sarcastically commented that it was great that the NBA players were so rich and could take off work to protest. His father-in-law, Trump, called kneeling NFL players sons of bitches. Would they have said the same thing if PGA players suspended playing a tournament to protest an issue important to them? 

I doubt it, unless it was a cause they supported. And therein lies the rub — if you protest about a cause Trump supports, you get accolades; if not, you are a son of a bitch. And we tolerate this. In America. Shaking my head.

Ask yourself this: If Dick Butkus, Willie Joe Namath and Johnny U kneeled during the national anthem in 1970 in protest of the Vietnam War, would Trump have called them sons of bitches? I doubt it. They are white. 

If Pete Weber and Don Carter decided not to bowl out of protest supporting stronger protection for abused women subjected to domestic violence, would Kushner call them rich, spoiled athletes? I doubt it. They are white. 

Why is any mention of racism in America called “playing the race card?”   Why do sides need to be chosen? Rather than argue about semantics, why can’t we work for a solution?

America and all our politicians need to get on the same page. They need to be saying: “We are going to get to work correcting injustices in America, for all Americans. And we are going to start with Black Americans, who seem to be disproportionately affected by discrimination, abusive law enforcement tactics, and inequities in our judicial system. All Americans need to be treated equally under the law, no matter their color, religion, sex, or who they love. Yes, we support our police and other civil servants, but the chips will fall where they may fall and we will work tirelessly to root out oppression, discrimination and inequality in our country. We will no longer tolerate this. Any abusive individual will be held responsible and replaced. Any abusive department or system will be eliminated and replaced. Once and for all. It is time for America to practice what we preach. As is written in our Declaration of Independence: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.'”

Citizens of this country need to demand this of our legislators, of our president, and of each other. Criticizing citizens for peacefully protesting and demanding change is childish. It is unAmerican.  But that is what we have seen from this administration in the last four years.

Steve Sheldon is an Eagle resident.


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