This week has shown that all over the world, sportspeople are taking their stand against racism. The protests have stemmed from the most recent showcase in the wave of police brutality which seems to be more and more prevalent. In this particular case, the shooting of Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old black U.S citizen, by police who were ‘trying to detain him’.
This past Thursday (8/27/20), we saw the MLB players from the New York Mets and the Miami Marlins take their stand by coming on to the pitch, as though they were preparing to play, take 42 seconds of silence, followed by both teams leaving the field, with one of the Miami players leaving a Black Lives Matter t-shirt on home plate. This was 1 of 7 Major League Baseball games that are reported to be postponed.
In the NFL, Baltimore Ravens players are demanding the arrest of the police officer who shot Jacob and also the arrest of another officer who was involved in another incident that killed Breonna Taylor, an African-American emergency medical technician. The
In the U.K, we have seen far more diluted versions of protest, but nonetheless, players in Rugby Union’s English Premiership. Took the knee as a sign of respect to their fellow athletes on the other side of the world. Although this was optional to the players, many did pay respect to this action.
All of these protests that have happened are all in the name of an honorable cause. The police brutality, particularly in the past 30 years has kept on getting worse and worse and it’s good to see that there is finally some traction being gained in this movement. However, I want to keep our feet on the ground and help us remember some unfortunate truths.
We as a society have had many moments in which change is possible and still the same problem is there. For instance, in the 1990s, the Rodney King beatings were the topic of the moment and that was a time that we really could have made some societal changes but we end up with similar or worse cases happening. Why is this?
As a white male, I understand I have certain privileges without even having to do anything, and, like a lot of white males, we are fairly comfortable with the normality that has been presented to us. The fight for someone else’s right to be free from persecution for their race is ‘not a problem’ for people in this situation. As we know, pretending the problem doesn’t exist is a lot easier than trying to fix it. So we choose ignorance or half-hearted support for these causes rather than actually trying to make our society better, because these problems aren’t just black or white (the colors, not the races).
If you want to change? Good! Organize your movement, propose something concrete to your local government, get the people on your side. Sure, you will be met with hatred from some people, but in the end, people are entitled to their opinions. Respect theirs and they may respect yours. One thing is for certain, the racial attacks and stereotyping we see in the U.S and throughout the world has got to stop.