It’s time—no, it’s way overdue—to pay tribute to people of color in the United States for their self-restraint in response to centuries of violent racist resistance to their pursuit of democracy.
If we are going to accept the Miriam Webster definition of “patriotism” as “love for or devotion to one’s country” (which is not the same thing as the easily-manipulated symbols of flags and anthems), and if “patriotism” also means love and respect for democracy and social justice (which it should), then the patriotism of countless people of color in this country far exceeds that of the white beneficiaries of the military industrial complex.
It seems almost miraculous that violent race wars are rare almost to the point of non-existence (other than during the near-genocide perpetrated on the native people by the European colonists) when decade after decade people have been beaten, tortured, murdered, and (equally-harmfully) robbed of resources, dignity, and respect.
How have people been able to tolerate so much violence perpetrated for no real reason except that their skin was not deemed white enough by the power brokers—or that they were pinpointed as easily identifiable scapegoats for diverting the rage of paler people convinced (often correctly) that they were not getting a fair break?
Gene Sharp [see here and here and here] has advocated nonviolent resistance as the most effective response to tyranny (and racism is tyrannical), because tyrants always have more killing and destructive power than their victims.
Fascism may seem to be spreading like lice in the fabric of this nation, but we have seen some great examples this year of nonviolent resistance to the social, psychological, economic, educational, and environmental brutality of a greedy and racist power structure.
Recently, a notable example of nonviolent protest in action is the stance of Colin Kaepernick, and a growing number of supporters, who have refused to stand up robotically in enforced homage to an anthem and a flag whose benefits have never been offered freely to people of color. Since when is kneeling down or joining arms antipatriotic?
It is those protestors who should be honored for pursuing true democracy.
(For more on the long history of race, sports, and politics in the US, click here)