“If only they would cut their hair, stop wearing cornrows, get rid of their afros. If only would stop letting their pants sag, wear a suit, get rid of those sneakers and wear wingtips. If only they would stop listening to rap music, stop driving cars with tint, stop wearing all those big t-shirts. If only they would stick with their own kind and stop dating our people. If only they would stop being combative, listen to what we say, do as we say. If only they would stop kneeling, stop protesting, stop fighting for liberation. If only they would shut up, sit down, be still, be quiet, don’t yell. If only they would comply, do what the police say, stop questioning authority. If only they would fit in, be more like us, do what we tell them to do. If only they would go back to when America was great for us. If only they would let us control things, let us control them. If only they would stop resisting. If only they would stop asking questions. If only they allowed us to remain in power. If only they would just go along to get along. If only they would be silent and entertain us, dance for us, tend to our babies and clean our houses. If only they will just shut up and make the touchdown. If only they remained silent in stadiums. If only they would settle, stay in their place, don’t make waves. If only they didn’t make everything about race. If only they didn’t play the race card. If only they don’t move in my neighborhood or date my daughter. If only they would respect authority, don’t ask questions and make demands. If only they didn’t try to procreate. If only they would believe our lies, accept our truth. If only they would let us steal ideas from them. If only they would remain silent while we rob them of their culture. If only they would allow us to whitewash their history. If only they would conform. If only they didn’t look so threatening. If only they weren’t…so…Black. If only we can get them to believe that they can do something to diminish our hate and racism then maybe they will be foolish enough to think that we aren’t going to kill them anyway.”
Cemeteries are filled with Black men and women that attempted to reside in the realm of, “If Only.” However, if only does not protect you if you are Black. If only does not keep you from being murdered in the street. If only doesn’t comfort a mother and father after they have buried their 15-year-old son after he was shot in the head by the police. If only doesn’t make a grandmother feel any better after burying her 7-year-old granddaughter that was killed sleeping on a couch by those that are called to protect and to serve. If only will not bring back the dreams, hopes, promise, and potential that was stolen from our communities and now are buried 6 feet deep, underneath dirt and tears.
Black men and women are murdered for merely walking, breathing, talking, shouting, sitting, driving…existing.
And Mike Vick has the nerve to suggest that Colin Kaepernick cut his hair as if his hair is the problem. If Mike Vick believes that the totality of what Colin Kaepernick is facing centers around his hair he is sorely mistaken.
How quickly Mike Vick forgets how he was vilified by those same people that cheered for him on the field when he was convicted of running a dog fighting empire. How quickly Mike Vick forgets how he was portrayed in the media. That some people called for his very death to atone for his crime. Please know that it was Black people that stood up for you. That stood in the gap for you. Kaepernick and many Black people are kneeling on your behalf so that you and your family will have a chance to live a life of peace and liberation. People are fighting for your very right to breathe with ease.
Now that you have a spotlight as the reformed Negro that made it out of the penitentiary and back into the good graces of the NFL, do not be so quick to forget that this is how they portrayed you.
It was men and women like Kaepernick standing up for you while they depicted you as a slave, led by a dog, with a chain around your neck.
You may have amnesia, but we don’t.
When someone shows you who they are…believe them the first time. (Angelou)