Here’s something funny- Before trump made a big stink about players taking a knee, I’m not sure more than a couple NFL players actually have been taking a knee. Colin Kaepernick started this whole thing last year, but he’s not even playing this year. If anybody has been taking a knee this year, I can’t find it. The Seahawks own Michael Bennett has been taking a seat and teammates Justin Britt, Jeremy Lane and Frank Clark have stood next to him in support, but I never saw any disrespect to our country. Quite the opposite.
Nevertheless, our Idiot in Chief brought it up in a rally for Luther Strange. He wasn’t trying to figure out how to help our fellow Americans in Puerto Rico, he was savoring in the immediate applause an adulation of his hardcore supporters.
When it started to explode he doubled down, as he does, and it became a huge stupid distraction. The very next Sunday, NFL players, coaches and owners around the league joined arms and took knees in protest. Not to disrespect anything or anybody except for donald trump, worst president ever.
Until trump reared his vile and humorless head, I admit that I thought racism was overblown. Not just because we twice elected a black president named Barack Hussein Obama, but because I haven’t since it here in Seattle. I figured we’ve evolved. Of course Black Lives Matter, but just because you cut me off and I give you the finger it doesn’t mean I’m a racist. Maybe you did something stupid.
But then came trump. I watched in horror as his followers came out from under their rocks and I realized that I was wrong. Racism is rampant. That people would wave the confederate flag a century and a half after their treasonous attempt to secede from the United States so they could continue to enslave and demean and brutalize fellow human beings is possibly the most unpatriotic act you could do. But we’ve let it slide. We let them have their statues of these traitors and we whities in the North let it slide. Sure, it’s Southern Culture, but Southern Culture includes racism and we can’t tolerate it.
When I was a young man, I did a lot of stupid shit. But every time, I was able to pretty much make a little connection with the cop. One time, I was drunk and let this hot girl talk me into going to a party about 30 miles away. I didn’t have a car but she talked this dude into letting us take his motorcycle.
I’d never driven a motorcycle before but he gave me a quick lesson- ‘That’s the throttle, that’s the clutch, there’s a brake here and a brake down there. Don’t give it too much gas when you start it or you’ll flood it.”
We were on Windham Hill and I felt pretty confident by the time we got to the bottom. I’ve got this, I thought. Cathy had her arms around me and was nibbling at my ear.
As we were about to get onto Route One, I swerved into the other lane and almost hit a cop car. I knew it was bad so I gunned it. The bike didn’t have any mirrors so I had to look back and sure enough, the cop spun around and turned on his lights.
I had no idea how to get the bike into second gear. I knew there was something about the pedal at my left foot but whenever I tried putting it up or down the bike just bucked like a rodeo bull. I pulled over to try to figure it out when the cop pulled up behind me. He got out of his cruiser and walked towards me when I remembered it was ‘one down, four up’. I dropped it into first and we were out of there. Cathy was laughing and screaming for me to, Go! Go! Go!, so I went.
I got it into second, and then it into third. The cop got up behind us pretty quick, as I was going pretty slow. He threw on his lights and siren and I decided to ditch him. I was probably going about twenty miles an hour but I thought maybe I could go through somebody’s backyard or something.
There was a Dead End sign as soon as I took that left, and it was definitely a dead end. The cop pulled up behind me and I figured I could turn around and blast right by him, but I stalled it. I tried starting it again with Cathy urging me on. I learned then that a motorcycle needs to be in neutral if you want to kick-start it without looking like an amateur. After a few stupid minutes a few other cop cars showed up and blocked my escape.
Turns out the bike was stolen. It didn’t have brake lights, we weren’t wearing helmets, I not only didn’t have a motorcycle license, but my regular license had been suspended a couple weeks earlier for going 90 on the highway, I was drunk, Cathy was unruly… There ended up being eleven charges in all.
But the cops didn’t handcuff me or rough me up. On the ride to the station the cop was joking around with me. I asked him if he could put his lights and siren on and he laughed and said, No.
C’mon, I said.
Okay, but just the lights.
In court a few weeks later I got a slap on the wrist and I don’t even remember if there was a fine.
That’s White Privilege. I’ve experienced it my whole life and I’ve always taken it for granted. I have dozens of stories of walking away from ugly situations that would have, seriously, resulted in my imprisonment or worse if I were black.
That’s what Black Lives Matter means to me. Seeing each other as human beings and treating everybody the same. My whole life I was wrong. Racism is alive and well and stronger than ever, whether I saw it or not.
And I've been a beneficiary.