One thing I’ve never been accused of is shying away from an argument – and judging by my six siblings (four brothers and two sisters) it’s a family trait.
However, I got some advice from a fellow author a few years back about engaging in hot-button arguments on social media. His tip was simple, and it made perfect sense…
To paraphrase; If you argue something really controversial you run the risk of alienating potential readers.
This was (is) good advice for an author trying really hard to increase his fan base – so I heeded his advice. Regardless of the topic (and let’s face it…there have been some whoppers on social media in the past few years) I kept my distance. I posted cute pictures of puppies, funny memes, useless trivia and the occasional “save the shark” comment – but I steered clear of the big three – religion, sex and politics.
I just can’t keep quiet anymore…
One of the prime directives issued by my mother when I was growing up was to treat people the way I wanted to be treated.
Simply put…respect people…ALL people.
As a white male I have been very fortunate to have avoided being mistreated because of my ethnicity. This does not mean that I don’t know it happens to others. It offends me greatly that people of color are treated as “less thans” in this country. The fact that I do not engage in racism is very little comfort when I see it happening every day.
America is supposed to be the place where “all men are created equal” and where there is “liberty and justice for all”, but it really doesn’t work that way…does it?
What makes it worse is when minorities attempt to protest the fact (that’s right – it’s a fact) that they are victimized – white America gets highly offended.
The most recent example is the whole “take a knee” protest.
It started (as most protests do) with one man choosing to make a statement.
He didn’t go out and shoot up a church or fill a car with explosives and drive it into a building or assassinate a political figure…he did it by sitting down quietly during the playing of the national anthem before a football game. When asked why he was not standing and “honoring America” he said that (paraphrasing again) he wouldn’t stand for the anthem until people acknowledged the poor treatment of blacks in America. Eventually he was told by an Army veteran (who happened to be white) who sympathized with his cause that it might be better to kneel rather than sit. So kneel he did.
He was black balled (interesting phrase, don’t you think?) almost immediately.
Labeled as a treasonous, spoiled millionaire.
Because he wanted to start a dialogue about the way law enforcement treats minorities in this country.
Unfortunately, the only thing people wanted to talk about was his “disrespect for the flag”.
This, to me, is the saddest, and most ironic point in the entire debate…
A man exercises his Constitutionally Protected Right of Free Speech and Peaceful Protest and he is vilified because he is “disrespecting the flag”, and by extension, the men and women who fought to give him that very right.
It’s a conundrum, wrapped in a paradox, inside an oxymoron.
Edmund Burke once said “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
So – with that in mind, I want to go on record as saying I am taking a knee (albeit a symbolic one) to show my support for those who are only asking to be heard.
I accept that I may lose current readers and also potential ones.
So be it.
The optimist in me says I might make some new ones in the process…so I got that going for me.
If you are reading this and I have offended you, it was not my intent…I am merely saying there is a bigger issue here that is being swept under the rug in the name of patriotism…
…let’s talk about that.
As always – thank you for reading.
52 responses to “Let’s Talk About Taking a Knee”
Reblogged this on Books: Publishing, Reading, Writing and commented:
An excellent blog post from Tim Baker, and I agree with him 100%!
Thank you for discussing this issue, Tim! It needs to be discussed, because remember that Edmund Burke said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
Thank you for the support and for reblogging!!!
Take a knee. If your readers don’t like it find new ones who do.
Thank you, John.
Bravo! Well said!
I completely agree with you on this, Tim. Yet again, the actual issue is pushed aside by misplaced and overblown outrage. It’s no wonder nothing ever gets solved… 😦
Maybe this time we’ll get to the point of actually talking about the issue…
Very well said! If it loses you readers then they weren’t the kind of readers you want.
I was hoping it wouldn’t come to that, but if it does…so be it
I agree with you.
I keep seeing people talk of honoring their patriotic veterans, family members who have served, by honoring the flag and standing for the anthem. Yet, every. single. veteran. I have discussed this with, and there have been many…insist they served to protect that guy’s right to kneel.
That’s an excellent parting thought. I will admit I was bothered by the initial act. It didn’t ‘feel’ right to me, an act of protest on an unrelated stage, but I’m comfortable being uncomfortable if it brings forth change.
Reblogged this on Words To Captivate ~ by John Fioravanti and commented:
Tim Baker has gifted us with a dispassionate and eloquent reflection about the current issue of pro athletes “taking a knee.” Baker strips away the nonsense being spewed in social media and reminds us of the real issue at stake. Please, read on…
Thank you, John.
You’re welcome, Tim. I’m excited to be following your blog.
Thank you for pulling no punches yet using clear thinking and eloquence to make your point. I agree with my friend John W. Howell: “Take a knee!”
Reblogged this on theshammuramat and commented:
Thank you beautifully written.
Nicely put! Very refreshing, and clear – headed.
Thank you very much!
A friend, an English professor, wrote the following, “I will always stand, with my hat off and my hand over my heart, for our national anthem (and for any presentation of the colors), and I will do that because I am so proud and so grateful to live in a country where people are free to take a knee.” He captures my sentiments….which are too often lost in the noise.
He hit the nail on the head!!
Well done Tim. You clarified the situation better than all the media and hype. I respect your decision.
Thank you, Alan!
Brilliant post! Thank God for Americans like you.😊
I agree with your comments. Many times the media pushes the wrong messages and the wrong impression of the original message gets skewed. This issue needs to be talked and written about until things change.
You are absolutely right, Elizabeth!
Reblogged this on Opher's World and commented:
I’m taking a knee too.
I read this over at Opher’s and joined the knee brigade 🙂
Here-here! From one of your new followers.
Thank you so much!
Well said! My knees are with you 🙂
Totally kneeling, too! Have you read the book “America’s Original Sin?”
We’ve got a pretty nice movement going here! I haven’t read it, but I will.
God, if you offended anyone here, I would seriously question their rationality in the moment of their offense. You have clearly stated why you’re making a stand—and it’s a noble cause, too! Hmm, maybe I’ll prove my point and help you gain a reader from this…me! I’ve been following your blog for a while (2014 maybe?) but only recently have the means to actually buy your books…always have wanted to, though.
By the way, in case you don’t recognize me (I’d hardly blame you), it’s Perse from Far Beyond the Stars. Except it’s Emma now, that’s my real name, and you won’t find my blog at the same address anymore…it’s ScienceAtYourDoorstep.com. Oh, and my profile pic isn’t a horse anymore. So basically, I don’t blame any of my long-time readers for not knowing who the heck I am…anyway, to the point, hi again!
Well hello again…it’s nice to meet the real you!
Hello to you too! 😊
Reblogged this on Tricia Drammeh and commented:
What a timely and thought-provoking post. I couldn’t agree more. As writers, we are often told to avoid politics and religion, but sometimes you simply cannot keep quiet – not when it’s something so important. This is beyond disagreeing about political policy or court cases. This is about something very real that affects a huge amount of our population. Racism is real. And the reaction to Colin Kaepernick is just an example of it. This is peaceful protest and he (and others who chose to protest in this way) are well within their rights to do so.
The NFL is NOT a government organization, and it’s up to them how they run their organization. Trump really shouldn’t be badmouthing businesses or private citizens. I’m quite certain he has other things to worry about.
I am in full support of anyone who chooses to “take a knee.” And I can understand those who choose not to do so for their own reasons. Those who are offended by this form of peaceful protest may certainly boycott the NFL, and those who are offended by my opinion of the whole matter may certainly boycott my books or blog.
Thank you, Tim, for writing this article and for taking a stand. It’s time to stop vilifying football players for peacefully protesting, and time to start taking about the real issue – the racial inequality that is a life-and-death issue for people of color.
Thank you for your support, Tricia!
I will have to do the sitting version of the protest – I am too disabled to take a knee. So it will be hard to tell I’m protesting, because I usually have to sit – standing is too hard.
But I’m protesting: unless there is one law for all men (AND women) in our land, the work isn’t done. Our prison system – loaded to the gills with minorities, among others – is a disgrace in the modern world. We have a huge portion of our citizens, born right here in the US of A, in jail. And a whole bunch of them so desperate there is also a heroin epidemic – including among white kids in Midwestern states.
If it loses me readers (I write mainstream novels), so be it.
Welcome to the movement, Alicia!
The subject has been swept under the carpet for long enough. Prejudice exists and needs to be spoken about in the dignified way this protest has taken so far. I imagine there are a number of ‘knees’ in my Country who would like to see more than just discourse this time and who need to be able to believe there is a genuine move towards equality.
No-one could have been offended by your post I’m sure.
Thank you and Amen, David!