Running The Human RACE  

RACE

I just saw the 2016 film, RACE, “a sports movie that once again shows the triumph of the human spirit and how everyone is equal when the gun goes off.” 

Jesse Owens’ quest to become the greatest track and field athlete in history thrusts him onto the world stage of the 1936 Olympics, where he faces off against Adolf Hitler’s vision of Aryan supremacy. It’s a solid sports biopic that teaches and entertains and leaves you longing for more. The history lesson gives nuances that you definitely want to explore on your own, such as, what did Owens do after the Olympics?

The racial challenges that Jesse Owens wrestles with in the film are palpable. Jim Crow rules on the American frontier while Hitler and the Third Riech are rising in Germany.  While both are sinful, it’s hard to split hairs or point fingers; the tension between the races presents the viewer with a moral dilemma: when it comes to race, is there a blacker black or a whiter white? The question is asked but not answered. Racism and antisemitism are on full display, and who’s to say which is the more sinister evil?

Sports gives the human race the opportunity to run the race of life with zest and zeal, blocking out all distractions and evil intentions in order to obtain gold.  And now, in this the 21st Century, when it comes to race, it seems that the blending and the melding of interracial relationships present us an even tone instead of the juxtaposition of black vs. white, which are values, not colors.

As for the film, I enjoyed it emensily, but also agree with this film critic: “Perhaps the strongest argument against Race is that a film this important deserves more than a standard, by-the-numbers treatment. Although there’s nothing terribly wrong about the movie, there’s nothing special about the way in which it presents a remarkable 20th century chapter. The bare necessities are there, the performances are competent, and there are some strong moments but Race suffers from a lack of ambition. It’s too safe and that quality mutes its impact and limits its ability to be more than a history lesson.”   (A movie review by James Berardinelli)

Don’t Play With The Game

Bend It Like Beckham

The game of life comes with rules and regulations, directions and instructions and do’s and don’ts. For instance, it’s just not a good idea to drink and drive. Hence the admonition, “Don’t Drink and Drive!” Then there’s the allowance for right turns on red. So that’s a good thing, right?

We’ll here’s one for everyone to follow as well: “Don’t play with the game.”

Life is nothing to play with. Since life is a game, and there are rules for games, then this is one of them. Life is too short, and tomorrow is not promised. Make the most of every moment, and don’t trifle with the sanctity of life. Living is hard enough, so breaking rules and making up your own policies is foolhardy, at best.

In the game of life there’s a game clock and half court and foul balls and penalties. Sometimes someone may commit a false start or run out of bounds or line up off-sides. Even though It happens, most times it shouldn’t. You’ll want and need to play within the rules, right?

But then again, the world has imposed some rules that need to be broken. Ours is to figure out which ones are hard and fast and which ones are flexible. For instance, what about these recent taboos:

The rule to marry within your culture?

The rule to follow the crowd?

The rule to put family first?

The rule to marry for money? (The rule actually says you should marry for love, right?)

Anyway, it takes discernment and discretion and wisdom and good judgment to play this game the right way. And since we all want to win, we should play to win. And playing to win means that you honor the guidelines and bylaws that have been time tested and proven.

So don’t play with the game. Don’t take it lightly or live it loosely. Play hard and play for keeps. And when necessary, bend it like Beckham.

Watch the film Bend It Like Beckham. You’ll see what I mean.

 

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/store/movies/bend-it-like-beckham/8d6kgwzl5wz0

Would You Take A Knee During The National Anthem?

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San Francisco 49ers backup quarterback Colin Kaepernick has started a movement.  And his followers are growing.

It seems like everybody is doing it. Taking a knee during the National Anthem, that is. It’s a protest vote started by Colin Kaepernick. He made national headlines recently, not for his play on the gridiron, but for taking a knee during the national anthem as a way of protesting racial injustices and police brutality in the country.

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A number of players on other National Football League teams have joined Kaepernick and also taken a knee during the anthem; while others have raised clenched fists while standing, including New England Patriots Martellus Bennett and Devin McCourty, as another way to silently protest.

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And protesting during professional football games has trickled all the way down into the high-school ranks, as Doherty Memorial High School junior Mike Oppong took a knee during the national anthem Friday in a season-opening game against Leominster at Commerce Bank Field at Foley Stadium in Worcester.

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On Sunday, Oppong tweeted to his followers on Twitter that “My coach just called me a couple minutes ago telling me that the coaches and principals decided that I should be suspended for 1 game.”

Oppong’s Twitter handle is @Oppong_5 with the name on the account “BLACK LIVES MATTER.”

He even got a retweet from Kaepernick’s own Twitter account.

A #FreeOppong hashtag started spreading like wildfire on Twitter after Oppong announced he would be suspended for his protest. There was positive feedback and support for Oppong on social media and some hate, however.”

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And here’s what Leonard Pitts Jr. of the Detroit Free Press Printed:

“It keeps getting bigger.

One might have expected last month’s protest by San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, his refusal to stand for the national anthem, to have blown over by now. Instead, it has caught fire. Sunday, members of the Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots and Kansas City Chiefs all staged protests of their own. This was in addition to earlier protests by soccer star Megan Rapinoe and members of the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks. There have even been reports of the phenomenon spreading to high school and college games.

All of this in support of Kaepernick, who said, “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.” Apparently, he’s struck a nerve.

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For the record, yes, I do stand when the anthem is played. But I don’t do it for America. America breaks my heart on a daily basis. So, I stand for what America is supposed to be, what America could be if it ever took seriously its founding principles, including that “self-evident” truth about equality. But America has yet to do that, and Kaepernick is hardly the first person to notice.

Drew Sharp said this:

Un-American? Colin Kaepernick is anything but that.”

And  Colin Kaepernick said this:

I don’t want to kneel forever.”


On the last night of his life, Martin Luther King said:

All we say to America is, be true to what you said on paper.”

Kaepernick is not even the first athlete to snub the rituals of American patriotism and refuse to “stand” for the National Anthem. This is what one baseball player had to say:

I cannot stand and sing the anthem. I cannot salute the flag; I know that I am a black man in a white world.”

 The baseball player’s name was Jackie Robinson.

Colin Kaepernick Has The Best-Selling Jersey In The NFL?

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So what do you think of Colin Kaepernick? I’ll tell you what kids and millennials and anti-establishment types everywhere think – they love him! Colin Kaepernick’s 49ers jerseys are reportedly flying off the shelves, so it looks like a lot of people have Kap’s back.

Colin Kaepernick might not be the San Francisco 49ers starting quarterback, but he’s leading the league in one stat — jersey sales. Since Kaepernick made headlines in late August by refusing to stand for the National Anthem, his jersey ranks as one of the best sellers in the NFL.

The latest stats on NFL jersey sales have Kaepernick’s jersey listed as the top seller on the NFL Shop’s website, ahead of Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz and Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott. Wow.

So what do you think? Kaepernick has taken a stand by not standing up. He will not stand idly by and he will not stand for the continued abuse of power by a select number of police officers across the country. And that is the issue. Yes young black men are being disproportionally targeted, but at the end of the day, it’s the abuse of power that we all should be concerned about.   

Not standing for the National Anthem is the 2016 version of burning the American Flag, sort of. Students in the ‘60’s who  protested the Vietnam War, I mean the Vietnam “Conflict,” burned the flag as symbol of their angst and anger over the U.S. involvement in a squabble half a world away. Over 50,000 young lives were lost, and many, many more were injured and maimed for life because of a decision by policy makers to partake in a lost cause.

So, we return to question on the floor: “Is Colin Kaepernick justified in his protest?”   

Even President Obama has weighed in, and had this to day:

My understanding, at least, is that is he’s exercising his constitutional right to make a statement. I think there’s a long history of sports figures doing so. As a general matter, when it comes to the flag the national anthem and the meaning that holds for our men and women in uniform and those who’ve fought for us — that is a tough thing for them to get past to then hear what his deeper concerns are,” he said. “But I don’t doubt his sincerity. I think he cares about some real, legitimate issues that need to be talked about and if nothing else what he’s doing has generated more conversation around some topics that need to be talked about” (CNN).

Now let’s call Colin in to defend his position and to speak for himself.  Here’s what Kaepernik told NFL.com’s Steve Wyche:

I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses Black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”

Wow. That’s a powerful statement. So, agree or disagree, if nothing else, we must acknowledge that Kaepernick is raising awareness. And I do applaud him for that.