I have to admit that there have been many comments made by Friends here
on social media since the election season last fall that surprised me; none has
disappointed me more than the recent wave of posts by white woman, who
are either my friends or acquaintances, and have written posts in response to
the NFL peaceful protest yesterday. They emphatically asserted politics
should not be brought into the NFL. They called the protestors unpatriotic,
ungrateful, disgraceful and un-American.
Dear White Women Who Authored Such Posts,
Sports has always been about politics. Did you know that women of my
mother’s generation were prohibited from playing most sports, and when
they were allowed to play basketball, they can only play half court, because
men at the time believed women’s bodies lacked the endurance to run full
court? How do you think women got to play full court, have their own
teams, run their own leagues?
Before you cast an aspersion about NFL players, knock on the door of your
daughter’s room and tell her that she can’t play sports. She can knit. She can
join a sewing club. She can become a cheerleader. Then tell your daughter—
as many told my mother’s generation—that she can’t go to college, but she
can get job. She can be a secretary or a nurse or a nun. Oh, and if she wants
to get her own apartment. Dag. She can’t. Because during my mother’s
generation, single women had to live at home with their parents or in a
boardinghouse with other women, because you see many were prohibited
from getting a mortgage to buy a house or to start a business. Their husbands
or their fathers had to cosign for them. Now you might say to yourself, what
does this have to do with the NFL protest?
Let me put it this way. You were not able to get a job or an education or buy
a house or send your daughter off to a soccer game because you are a hard
worker or because you studied a lot or because you went to college or
because you are a good mother. You got to do this and much more because
women before you made people uncomfortable about their politics. Because
women before you protested in places where they had the largest audience.
Because women before you did such a phenomenal job of paving the way
for you, that you actually believe that your success is a result of your hard
work alone; you actually believe that your daughter’s soccer trophy is
because you drove her to early morning practices. We are all here, because
of people who came before us, because of people who protested.
And that flag is not just about the history of American War for Independence or the men and
women in the military today, its also about the legacy of the many women from
generations ago, who fought for your rights, and its about time you kneel to