The Colored Man has always suffered with the question of how do I feel about my country and how does my country....feel about me? - Lt. Colonel Benjamin O. Davis, Line from The Tuskegee Airman film
This morning America Online, posted a clip of Dallas Maverick Forward Josh Howard casually enjoying a game of flag football. Someone is heard saying "Hey! The National Anthem is playing!" Howard in response to that stated " That don't mean nothing to me, I'm a Black Dude!"
Now, of course there will be folks of across all color lines who will denounce these comments, some who will agree and others who don't give a rats tail about it. Never mind that this a public guy in a private conversation. We grown used to private off colored remarks being made public. That's not what this is about.
About a decade ago, Denver Nuggets shooting guard Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf took a stand against standing for the anthem. He stated his belief that he could not in good conscience as a righteous Muslim stand for a symbol of tyranny and oppression. Oh! The controversy! Oh, the death threats! The accusations! The mess! Of course they never asked Mahmoud to explain his feelings and how he came to have them and Mahmoud was not the most cordial spokesman then. He could be now. America has gotten very comfortable ignoring Black anger. Some would say too comfortable.
The media interviewed Center Hakeem Olajuwon, then of the Houston Rockets, also a practicing Muslim, who disagreed with Mahmoud stating that he knew nothing in Islam that would prevent Mahmoud from standing for the anthem.
First, way to support your fellow player and Black Brother dude! All sarcasm aside though, Hakeem, wouldn't get the what Mahmoud was talking about. Hakeem is a Nigerian Afrikan. Mahmoud is an American Afrikan. Hakeem wouldn't understand why Mahmoud, formerly Chris Jackson, of Gulf Port, Mississippi, would view the flag and its anthem, as a sign of oppression and tyranny.
Hakeem may understand the ill feelings that some of his fellow Nigerian Afrikans feel towards the British and the other colonial powers! But he while he may have a familiarity with American style racism it is not part of his DNA. It is not soaked in his skin like Mahmoud and his family has had to endure.
Wait! Mista Jaycee, are you saying that just because a Afrikan person not born an American Afrikan doesn't understand racism, apartheid, oppression, subjugation, murder, torture and discrimination?
Hell Naw! Of course , they can and do understand and know it intimately!
But Your Blues ain't like mine! I will repeat your blues ain't like mine!
Ya feel me? Ya dig? Sho nuff then! Sho Nuff! Right on! Solid! Ya dig?
So here's the point. This is another perfect opportunity for us to discuss patriotism, what it is and what it is not! I know there are gonna be some European Americans (White Folks) who say that Josh Howard never had it so good. ( See Barbara Bush's comments on Katrina Survivors for subtext.) He's a millionaire! So, his economic good fortune, does not change the fact that he can be stopped anywhere in the country and treated like he's a drug dealer!
Josh Howard ain't feeling the anthem, so what! That's his right as a human being and as an Afrikan American. Any Black dude who has read the daily news or a history book has more than enough reason to justify why he ain't feeling the anthem or the pledge of Allegiance. Hell! Anyone who has followed the Reagan and both Bush administrations knows enough European Americans that took the oath to defend the country and constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic and well we see how that's turned out!
Sorry, that was a dig! There is no one except the original indigenous (American Indians) people of this land who have endured or suffered more than Black Folks. Not one! We have our own National Anthem written by James Weldon Johnson that honors what we believe America should mean. Do all Americans know it? Does John Old Kane McCain know it? Can he sing it? Does he even know that there is another one? I can sing the one written by Francis Scott Key! Heck! Just to be fair Does Barack "Bam Bam" Obama know it?
European Americans (White Folks) need to acknowledge what has happened to Afrikan Americans (Black Folks) and understand we will not allow our patriotism or percieved lack thereof to be defined by you!
We have fought in every war, we have fought for freedoms and civil liberties when we ourselves were denied them. We have treated our enemies as human beings should be treated even when they called us less than human and treated us worse than a chicken. You can have your opinion on Josh Howard's or Black Folks patriotism but you have no right to judge it!
Be Mindful! BE Prayerful! BE Careful!