Thoughts, Musings and Reflections

Dwelling In The Middle Is No Longer A Fucking Option

Sunday, February 7, 2021, marked the 55th NFL Super Bowl at the Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. While I did not watch the Super Bowl because of their unfair and unjust treatment of Colin Kaepernick, I assumed the NFL and advertisers would find a way to exploit the current social justice movement and the impact of the coronavirus in our nation. Many businesses and organizations specialize in performative social justice, and the NFL and some advertisers did not disappoint. 

The NFL’s Inspire Justice commercial shows images of protests, names of those killed by the police such as Breonna Taylor, Elijah McClain and Eric Garner, and NFL players standing together, arms linked.  

Really? 

Really?

It’s almost laughable at this point because the world had watched what happened to Colin Kaepernick when he peacefully took a knee to protest police brutality. The NFL sat by idly as he was vilified by a sitting president and ousted from playing in the NFL. And now you want us to believe because you hired some advertising company to put together an I-Movie co-opting Kaepernick’s movement, that the NFL cares about racism? 

I am not impressed with the NFL dedicating $250 million to fight racism. According to a Forbes report in 2019, “While difficult to place a valuation on the NFL as a whole, the league’s 32 franchise were worth a combined sum of more than $91 billion as of last September.” Money isn’t an issue for the NFL. Doing the right thing is an issue for the NFL. Before the NFL starts looking outwardly, the organization needs to start looking inwardly. The right thing for the NFL to do is extend a public apology to Colin Kaepernick and allow him to play football; however, instead of doing that, they would rather say co-opt a movement and have a glossy curated commercial. The NFL should look at themselves and ask themselves why they have only hired 3 Black offensive coordinators as head coaches in its history. I am hardly impressed with your social justice performance. 

But not to be outdone, advertisers thought they would jump on the performative social justice train too. Jeep did a commercial with Bruce Springsteen urging viewers to find “the middle.”

It was Springsteen’s first appearance in a commercial as a person that has been vocal about Trump. In the ad, Springsteen states, “All are more than welcome to come meet here in the middle,” Springsteen says. “It’s no secret the middle has been a hard place to get to lately, between red and blue, between servant and citizen, between our freedom and our fear. Now fear has never been the best of who we are, and as for freedom, it’s not the property of just the fortunate few; it belongs to us all. Whoever you are, wherever you’re from, it’s what connects us, and we need that connection. We need the middle. We just have to remember the very soil we stand on is common ground,” Springsteen says in the ad. “So we can get there. We can make it to the mountaintop, through the desert… and we will cross this divide. Our light has always found its way through the darkness. And there’s hope on the road… up ahead.”

And it sounds good.

And for a brief second, you want to believe. You want to believe that this is the America we can have. An America where we can meet in the middle, shake hands and sing Kumbaya. 

And then you remember because life will never allow you to forget. You see, I remember the last four years. And let me be clear, Donald Trump didn’t invent racism. He exploited racism for his gain. What is happening in America isn’t because of the last four years. But the previous four years have been quite telling, and I remember. I remember getting emails from someone saying they would hang me from a tree. I remember posting a blog and being called nigger, pig, and monkey. I remember watching a video of a Black woman being assaulted at a Trump rally. I remember standing in the street protesting injustice and being teargassed. I remember being called a thug and lowlife by people in my own city. I remember making a decision, a clear decision, that I would die fighting injustice. A Jeep commercial means nothing when it comes to sitting with yourself and making a conscious decision that you will die for a cause because you feel so strongly about fighting against injustice. And you know every time you take a stand, the death threats will come, yet you speak anyway. I remember watching our Capitol being overtaken by people waving a Confederate flag and constructing gallows. My mind won’t let me forget, and I don’t want to forget. This nation should never forget! This happened! People attempted to overthrow the government to keep a racist in office. THAT HAPPENED!! No matter how much you bandage a wounded snake, remember, it is still a snake. 

There is no middle ground when your goal is to kill me for standing up for righteousness. There is no middle ground when you want to hang people from gallows. There is no middle ground when the color of my skin makes you send me death threats.

I refuse to meet in the middle when my very life is at stake. I refuse to meet in the middle when the police are gunning down innocent Black people. I refuse to meet in the middle when people try to overthrow the government to keep a racist in office. I refuse to meet in the middle when there is no accountability! 

Please do not ask that of me. Do not ask that of any Black person. How dare you! Black people have always fought to meet in the middle. Black people have fought to stand in the middle! And Black people are tired. The middle is saturated with our blood and our tears. This is NO LONGER about the middle. How long do you desire to remain lukewarm? Pick a fucking side! Dwelling in the middle is no longer a fucking option! 

3 replies »

  1. If they’re in the “middle” they’ve already picked a side, and cannot be trusted to fight against injustice, but only to make themselves feel comfortable!

  2. I hold my highest contempt for white people who are performative fence-sitters, who are content to look on injustice, and do or say nothing that isn’t about their own feelings discomfort, with what they see.

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