My man Francis ( @FrancisAduJr ) decided to be the honorary first contributor to the AD Report. Check out his piece below, follow him on Twitter, and let him know how you feel!
The United States is a country that can only “respect” a black person if that blackness is ignored. It knows blackness exists, of course. There are too many resources to mine out of blackness to truly hope the concept goes away. But, especially after the passing of the Civil Rights Act, the United States can’t have blackness openly colored on its red, white, and blue lips anymore. It’s just a bit uncouth, you see. So replace the blackness with a sneaker logo if possible. Hide the blackness with Caucasian proxies if possible. Restrict the blackness to the traditions of other cultures if possible. Dilute the blackness out into a sea of amorphously colored soldiers with helmets if possible. Anything to avoid the discomfort of confronting the indifference of the United States’ own continuing history of immoral subjugation of the black body or to avoid admitting having a preference for that unceasing subjugation.
Only this way can the United States console itself with the dissonance of exalting the U.S. military as the ultimate symbol of American valor, power, and integrity while muffling the screams of black veterans campaigning for racial justice or begging for police to not shoot them. No matter their equivalent valor and integrity to their military peers, those black veterans get their honors stripped and replaced with the titles of “someone who just happened to work for us”. No longer American heroes, but just folks with jobs, according to the national rhetoric. The American rhetoric, the most powerful tool of influence the United States has in its belt, cannot acknowledge the black American. The survival of that rhetoric depends on the ignorance.
So any celebrity that insinuates the existence of the black American quickly gets vilified as a treasonous one. WNBA players wearing Black Lives Matter T-shirts on the platform of a WNBA basketball court becomes an act of smuggling contraband across the WNBA organization’s borders. Beyonce letting 100 million Americans know she loves the black features that America loves to mock and turn into minstrels becomes an inappropriate display of sexuality in front of impressionable young minds. If the celebrity insurrects black advocacy too fervent to quell, the United States will be swift reframe and adjust the celebrity’s pro-black activism into benign race-neutral platitudes that future generations forever falsely divorce blackness. With first chance, the incendiary black traitorous coward Muhammad Ali becomes just a funny entertainer who valued hard work. It’s the only version of Ali many Americans can accept in order to accept Ali as a fellow American. Because “American” equals “good” and equating blackness with good is the United States’ oldest taboo.
So when Colin Kaepernick gets asked of his disorderly decision to stay seated during the renditions of the Star Spangled regaled before every NFL game, most Americans ask Kaepernick the inquiry in the ever-present hopes Kaepernick continues the pattern of leaving “blackness” blank on the script of American discourse. Surely, Colin just made an error of attentiveness, right? Unfortunately for their wishes, Kaepernick directly equates his lack of participation in the deification of the United States with the hell the United States refuses to stop implementing on “blackness” and its bearers. The hell of socially enabled police brutality onto black bodies in municipalities throughout the country. The hell of exhausting black people’s spirits and minds with the cat-and-mouse chase of opportunity for comfortable livelihoods, a chase through an obstacle course of prejudices and discriminations that often leaves the prize denied anyway when the course is actually completed. And the special hell of black people knowing there is little they can personally do to alleviate the oppression. Colin Kaepernick decided to scoop as much as he can from his pool of possible progress to make this impassioned plea for all black Americans to the rest of America. And the reply back? “There is no black American.”
Welcome to the AD report.