Parcell: Peacefully protesting racial injustice should not garner backlash

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Jordan Parcell

Most of the boys basketball team took a knee during the national anthem before the game at Maize South on Friday night.

This is nothing new in sports, and neither is the backlash that the team is receiving. 

We’ve seen the type of backlash that grown men have received for doing the exact same thing, and yet the team still decided to do this. 

Young Black men have been shot for less.

I think that this should speak volumes to the people who oppose this protest. 

They feel so strongly about something that they’re willing to protest in a public fashion, risking threats from grown men and women who think what they’re doing is disrespectful.

Let me ask you this – what about this display of activism bothers you? The fact that they’re kneeling during the anthem, or the fact that they think Black people should have rights?

Black people deserve everything that white people have, point blank period. Black people deserve to exist, to be happy. To be able to go on a jog, to sleep in their apartments, to play with a toy in the park, stand in their yards, eat their ice cream on their sofas, walk down the stairs in their apartment complexes.

Those are all scenarios that have led to a Black person losing their life. 

White people can even go as far as storming a government building without fear. Black people can’t even walk down the streets with their hoods up without issue.

As for those who say that kneeling during the national anthem is disrespectful, so what if it is? I think the concept of the racial injustice and inequality that built this country is more disrespectful.

It was disrespectful to steal this land from those indigenous to it, disrespectful to kill them off, to force your culture on them.

It was disrespectful to buy people from other countries, to force them to do your work for you, to beat and rape them, to force them to live their lives as property.

It was disrespectful to force these same people to go to different schools, use different restrooms, to give up their bus seats for you, to view themselves as second-class citizens in a country that they didn’t ask to be in in the first place.

It’s disrespectful for police officers to be able to kill us and get away with us, to overpolice our neighborhoods, to kill and injure us at protests where we’re only asking for equal treatment.

You were quiet about the disrespect shown towards Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Jacob Blake, Tamir Rice and so many others, but you choose now to speak up? 

That’s pathetic.

I’m not sure how to make it clearer, how to spin my words into something that you can understand. Black people are being killed for things that white people do without a second thought, and that’s an issue.

If you don’t see the problem, then you are the problem.

While some may see disrespect in the team’s actions, that’s not what their intent was.

When I look at the pictures from last night, I see a group of young men using their platform to protest racial injustice.

They make me proud to call myself a Panther.