What’s currently happening is a paradigm shift of the understanding of “Patriotism”, which has, for the most part, always been encapsulated in “Break in Case of Emergency” glass on a wall. Unfortunately, for the most part, that “Emergency” is often utilizing pseudo patriotism as a proxy for either their fear or inability to express their prejudice. Taking a queue from Max Kellerman, when unintelligent people aren’t able to logically process information, they resort to their emotional base and, often times, emotional outburst come from a place of ignorance and disinformation.
Since Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf is predictably back in the media cycle, let me give you an actual memory from that era instead of some kid with a click bait headline attempting to “school you” of what was happening during that time. When the then Chris Jackson decided to change his name to Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, there were people, both black and white, who were reluctant to acknowledge his name change. Some black people used the old and played out Coming to America joke of “His mama named him Chris, so I’ma call him Chris” while a lot of white people, for some reason, saw the name change as “radical”. The truth of the matter is that when you already have an Arabic name, you’re seen as less of a threat than someone who elects to change their name from their enslaved one because it represents an awakening or an awareness of one’s self individually and collectively.
When Rauf elected not to stand for the National Anthem, the local sports anchors here in Saint Louis didn’t attempt to hide their contempt, as I remember one in particularly on the Saint Louis’ local Fox affiliate very bluntly stating, and I paraphrase, “It’s America, love it or get out”. A group of idiot DJs from Denver actually went into a Mosque, a place of worship with their shoes on (think about that), wearing Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf t-shirts while playing the Star Spangled Banner on a bugle and trumpet. The desecration of a place of worship and the trivialization of the belief set of millions of people was an easier leap to make rather than simply attempting to understand why he felt the way that he felt about National Anthem.
As Bill Burr states about those expressing anger towards Colin Kaepernick, they utilize pictures of handicap veterans to further their political agenda, but wouldn’t be able give you a single charitable receipt or even a memory of what they’ve done to help a single vet. My father is also a disabled Vietnam veteran, but every since I can remember, he is also primarily responsible for my heightened awareness of my blackness and my culture. Being a veteran, especially during the draft era, doesn’t equate to being a patriot. Being a patriot is actually living up to the ideals that America sets forth for itself that we pretend to honor, but for damn sure being a patriot is not giving up on striving to be better simply because we believe we’re relatively better than other industrial nations.