It appears that Evan Grossman simply cannot get enough of this “athletes engaged in direct action” storyline. This narrative that places the responsibility on Black people to solve the issues surrounding racism is apparently an addictive one for white people. While this article which is the subject of this commentary seeks to give Philadelphia Eagle Malcolm Jenkins the proper recognition for his laudable efforts to make a positive impact on the Black community, its foundation rests upon the sentiment that participation in the national anthem protests was simply a speed bump on the road to the real work of addressing the issues faced by Black Americans. To that end, Grossman states that Jenkins has “gone above and beyond the polarizing anthem demonstrations to drill down into solving correctable problems.” Later on, Grossman adds “simply kneeling for a song was never going to change anything. The real work is taking place now, far from the field.” Wow.
This kind of simplistic, shallow, reversal of reality approach to the entrenched and destructive issue of racism in America is as disingenuous as it is transparent in its objective to further distance whites from their obligation to make substantive efforts to end systemic and institutional racism. While it is admirable and heartening to see Blacks with influence and resources focusing their attention on their communities and their needs, it is not Blacks’ responsibility to fix the effects of racism. And though it is true that Blacks should seize every opportunity to minimize and neutralize the adverse effects of racism, it is in fact white people who created, cultivated, and currently maintain the continued operation of systemic and institutionalized racism in this country—and it is they whose duty it is to effectuate racism’s destruction.
Deflection and Derailment tactic 4 (Do Something), ladies and gentlemen.