Whites always dislike civil rights protest

Love this column from Steve Chapman.  Why do whites oppose the NFL protests?  Because whites always oppose civil rights protests.  Yes, even MLK:

In a poll, whites were asked whether the NFL players kneeling in protest during the national anthem are helping or hurting the cause of racial justice. No fewer than 85 percent said they are hurting it.

Clearly, this offense to the anthem and the American flag is the worst possible way to change minds. Blacks need to find a less divisive means to register their discontent.

Oh, wait. I’ve got that wrong. Those figures don’t come from a new poll. They come from a survey taken in 1966 asking whites whether “the demonstrations by Negroes on civil rights have helped more or hurt more in the advancement of Negro rights.”

Only 15 percent of whites surveyed thought those peaceful protests would advance the cause of integration and equality. Martin Luther King Jr. and his nonviolent methods are honored even by conservatives today, but in 1967, half of whites said he was harming blacks, with only 36 percent disagreeing… [emphases mine]

That the display evokes so much fury and disgust among whites, from the president on down, confirms what was evident 50 years ago. The problem is not how blacks raise their complaints about American society; it’s that they raise them.

When LeBron James and other NBA players wore shirts that said “I can’t breathe” to protest police killings of unarmed black men, Commissioner Adam Silver expressed his disapproval, and Fox News commentator Geraldo Rivera slammed James. When several St. Louis Rams came out for a game with their hands raised to protest the killing of Michael Brown, the local police union demanded they be punished.

Every time unrest erupts in black communities in response to some perceived injustice, finger-wagging whites wonder why blacks can’t express their dissent in an orderly, law-abiding way. But every time African-Americans protest peacefully, the same whites object to the message, the tactics, the purpose or the slogans…

Detractors demand to know how such highly paid athletes have the nerve to question a country that has rewarded them so richly. They could ask the same question about Donald Trump — who owes his wealth to a nation that his inaugural address depicted in nightmarish terms…

Are there better ways for them to make their point? Maybe so. But it wouldn’t make much difference. To many whites, the only good black protest is no black protest.

Yep.  No matter what so many of the critics say (disrespecting the anthem, the military, etc.,; there should be other forms of more appropriate protest; how dare rich Black athletes protest), when you get down to it, sadly, for many white people it is a matter of how dare Blacks protest for their rights.  Ugh.

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About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State http://faculty.chass.ncsu.edu/shgreene

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