This post is not about the flag.
This post is not about the anthem which is unsingable by amateurs and professionals with limited vocal range. Also, how can this be our national anthem when it contains obscure racist references in the higher numbered verses? I digress. This post is not about the objectionable words in the anthem either.
tl;dr?! This post is about the mechanics of fixing systemic woes. Today I’m looking at sexism and racism.
First up sexual harassment, sexism, systemic misogyny.
We submit as our first piece of evidence, Brad Pitt.
Brad Pitt, the actor, can save the world from zombies, Nazis, and fly fish on a river like a boss. Based on cinematic evidence, he can take direction.
Brad Pitt, the man with relationships with two women — Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie — confronted Harvey Weinstein and told him to back off on his womenz or whatever.
Brad Pitt, his person, him personally, he was not victim to Harvey Weinstein’s behavior. Brad Pitt did not extend his considerable voice, talent, power or risk his livelihood to act beyond the little sphere that influenced … wait for it …
Him. Just him.¹
Brad Pitt did not extrapolate that Harvey Weinstein’s behavior — sexual harassment, assault, abuse — extended to the larger body politic of women. That it extended to all of Hollywood — producers and beyond.¹
We submit as our second piece of evidence, Colin Kaepernick.
Colin Kaepernick, the NFL quarterback for the San Francisco 49-er’s did what Brad Pitt couldn’t or wouldn’t or just plain old didn’t bother to do.
Colin Kaepernick extrapolated that a system broken for Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice, Sandra Bland, Eric Garner, and the list goes on, included him and he protested.
“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” Kaepernick told NFL Media in an exclusive interview after the game. “To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”
Colin took a seat. A teammate requested that he’d rather Colin took a knee.
So Colin took a knee.
And as a result of consistently protesting systemic racism at the start of a football game, a game, Colin Kaepernick, the very good NFL QB, is currently unemployed. His is a serious protest. He put his livelihood on the line. We could not ignore him, we could not choose to not pay attention.
This changes us all. The conversation is opened. And we are uneasy. Some are angry that he chose to take a knee during the National Anthem. Some are angry that he is disrespecting the flag. The red, white and blue.
And I would guess that some are angry they didn’t think to do it sooner. It is an effective protest extending beyond Colin himself, a single lone individual. His protest extends to the 13.3% of Americans that are African Americans and reaches beyond his sphere of influence to all of us.
Maybe the 50.8% of Americans that are women can find a Colin Kaepernick kind of champion? Wonder Woman? Ryan Gosling? We have enough crickets.
We know it isn’t POTUS Trump.¹ He has a place setting at the Harvey Weinstein table. With Bill Cosby. Bill Clinton. That is also a long list.
It’s a very large table.
There are more:
- Quentin Tarantino:actor, director.
Since I first started this post, Quentin Tarantino has also stepped forward as knowing of Harvey Weinstein’s sexual proclivities years ago. And with this knowledge, he … wait for it … did nothing.
- Matt Damon
- George Clooney
These two also knew Harvey Weinstein was abusive. Given their name recognition, talents, money, white maleness, they acted. And did … nothing.