Source: Emily Skinner, PhD (ABD)
Often, we encapsulate the idea of diversity in a numbers game based on levels of melanin in our skin, lands we descend from, or languages we speak. Diversity is not a numbers game, it is not existing in the same place, nor tolerance for each other’s existence, but rather the space and freedom of expression of your culture, identity, and existence. The current controversy surrounding the NFL protests drives at this very point by trying to interrupt the protest content and context. It represents a cultural conflict in a space that has been superficially labelled diverse but rather represents traditional models of oppression. It epitomizes the process of having to convince the public of the needs, representation, and the existence of the black community to only be silenced by interrupting the narrative to focus on historical muscle memory that is saturated in white supremacy. The transfer of focus from the voice of the protest to the demands of the flag serves to maintain the status quo of oppression from which the need for the protests was born. The position grounded in fighting for the respect for the flag represents racism through storytelling by continuing to try to control the narrative and continue to silence the voice of the protesters. The refocusing of the narrative serves to deny diversity and discourage social change.
By: Emily Skinner, PhD (ABD)