And so it continues. It seems that almost daily since Nike announced that Colin Kaepernick would be the face of its 30th anniversary campaign, sundry businesses, universities, and entities are announcing that they are parting ways with the sports behemoth. Thus far, College of the Ozarks, a small college in Missouri, and a sporting goods store have already dropped Nike as a sports apparel partner. The latest is Truett McConnell University, a small college in Georgia. Liberty University is considering doing so. The mayor of Kenner, Louisiana prohibited booster clubs from wearing or purchasing Nike apparel and equipment, to which residents responded by organizing a protest attended by New Orleans Saints players. The policy, likely illegal, has since been rescinded. What precisely is going on here?
What we are seeing, from entities, organizations, and individuals, all of whom are white themselves or, in the case of universities/organizations, predominantly so, is the prototypical reaction to Black challenge to systemic racism. Though Nike is no bastion of social justice, Black owned, or otherwise intrinsically connected to the Black community, its decision to support and center a Black man whose name is synonymous with a frontal confrontation of racism has brought out the faux patriotism and racist outrage of many. There is nothing in this country that raises the ire of large swathes of whites more than any issue related to highlighting the racism that is endemic to this nation.
The desired response to Blacks who do not show proper deference to white supremacy or who refuse to silently endure centuries of mistreatment without protest or complaint is always the same–punishment. Loss of employment. Ostracism. Verbal and physical abuse. Any action designed to deter such rebellion, no matter how peaceful, justified, or reasonable. This has been whites’ modus operandi for centuries, and there is no evidence that this is going to change. Noting and understanding this is very important as too many of us continue to engage in discussion or discourse with people who have no interest in genuine dialogue or substantively addressing the foundational issues that sustain systemic racism.
Burning Nike gear, declaring that municipality controlled organizations must sever ties with Nike, cancelling sponsorship contracts with Nike, and the various expressions of outrage merely because a company selected as the face of its anniversary campaign a man venerated and honored for his philanthropy, courage, and staunch defense of Black people is a stark commentary on those so vociferously objecting. So keep burning merchandise you already purchased; keep dropping Nike as your sponsors; keep issuing memoranda as elected representatives precluding organizations from purchasing Nike products. We see you.
Article below by Ernie Suggs at ajc.com.
Even if you live in Georgia, chances are, you never heard of Truett McConnell University.
Read the rest here.