Why they’re kneel­ing

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - VOICES -

In re­sponse to the many opin­ions crit­i­ciz­ing re­cent protests at NFL games, let me first say: I get it. You think they are of­fen­sive, dis­re­spect­ful, anti-Amer­i­can, point­less and, when you are be­ing re­spect­ful, mis­guided. I don’t agree with your opin­ion, but I un­der­stand it. I do not un­der­stand, how­ever, peo­ple who claim to not know or un­der­stand what they are protest­ing, since their mo­ti­va­tion has been widely re­ported: the treat­ment of African Amer­i­can cit­i­zens at the hands of po­lice.

I also do not un­der­stand how any per­son, white or oth­er­wise, can claim to not know what they are talk­ing about, be­cause in my ex­pe­ri­ence any white per­son over the age of 10 knows that black and white peo­ple are treated dif­fer­ently, es­pe­cially by po­lice. I say “white” be­cause African Amer­i­can chil­dren learn this fact much ear­lier than the age of 10. Even if you claim not to have this knowl­edge, the nu­mer­ous video record­ings of black cit­i­zens be­ing shot for rea­sons best de­scribed as un­clear are also widely avail­able.

The most dis­turb­ing im­pli­ca­tion of all these crit­i­cisms is that peo­ple out there some­how are com­fort­able with this vi­o­lence. That Mike Master­son and all the let­ters to the edi­tor see this as an ac­cept­able level of risk for our African Amer­i­can cit­i­zens. That there is noth­ing for Colin Kaeper­nick and the rest of those ath­letes to com­plain about, es­sen­tially be­cause they have jobs.

I don’t think that’s what they mean to say, and I cer­tainly hope not. HENRY MUR­PHY

Lit­tle Rock

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