JIM TINSLEY: Kaepernick’s action brought attention to the problem

TO THE EDITOR:

Ken Grabowski’s column on Wednesday, “Just protesting isn’t a solution to a problem,” covers a lot of important issues in today’s America: race, rights and patriotism.

According this column, Mr. Grabowski believes that dissent is an American right. If that is true then you may disagree with its premise or you may feel it is ineffective, but you can’t object to it.

It is a right and patriotism has often been used as an excuse for stripping people of the right to protest, as both presidential candidates seem to agree when examining their positions on the second Iraqi War where the call of patriotism was used to stifle dissent in both the press and the legislature. It took a very strong character to stand against the war drums of Bush and Cheney. That may be the case here.

Mr. Grabowski believed, perhaps naively, that we may have put the problems of race in this country behind us when we elected a president of color. If he were really paying attention, he would have noticed that while this president was determined to be the president of all, many in this country were not so magnanimous and immediately started a very patriotic movement to take the country back.

Ultimately, the problem being protested is the problem of living in a highly segregated society.

Black Lives Matter has arisen because of the systematic mistreatment of African American males within that society.

Awareness of a problem is the first step toward a solution. Colin Kaepernick is helping to make us all aware of the problem, one which he is well aware having grown up as a black male in this country.

Mr. Grabowski calls for a serious discussion on race.

If that is what he is looking for, then he might look no further than a study that appeared recently in the Christian Science Monitor. In this article, “The Resegregation of American,” Nissa Rhee presents a statically bleak picture of what it means to be black in this country. She also helps the reader  see how and why America has become more segregated than it was 20 years ago.

It is a study well worth reading if one is looking for solutions. In the conclusion to this article Rhee writes:

“The difficulty in reducing segregation is rooted in part in society’s reluctance to admit that it is a self made problem. … We have the myth that segregation developed without intent … (think redlining or Jim Crow or our educational issues or Flint). … It (integration) will require a policy as conscious to desegregation as it was to segregate.”

We knew this in the ’70s, but the process of desegregation, that conscious and deliberate process was so painful and scary to many of us that we allowed bigotry and fear to stay our course and prevent us from doing what was right.

The true patriots may be the persons who help us back down that painful path because desegregation is the solution.

Jim Tinsley

Manistee

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