Nearly three years ago, I wrote about the racism, bigotry, and hate displayed in Charlottesville when a group of white supremacists occupied the sacred grounds of Thomas Jefferson's Academical Village (“Our response to times of challenge,” The Daily Progress, Aug. 17/18) https://www.dailyprogress.com/opinion/opinion-commentary-our-response-to-times-of-challenge/article_e5c58d40-845f-11e7-9112-6b2333ef4a88.html.
At the time I noted that “the divisive rhetoric and violence over race issues have been brewing for some time, and my fear is we have not even reached the boiling point.” Sadly, I was right.
Late last month, in a span of 24 hours: A white woman, clearly in the wrong, verbally threatens a black man. White cops, without cause, kill a black man. And there are probably more — these are just two incidents that spread virally across social media. Throughout the week, tensions built, exploding into riots.
Our nation is tearing itself apart. When Colin Kaepernick took a knee, few listened. A white cop took a knee and killed George Floyd — we all must listen.
In the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., “America failed to hear,” and the riots we are witnessing now are “the language of the unheard.”
We all have a natural predisposition toward understanding class, race, and gender, and these filters create an odd culture — one that is a real threat to minorities, especially black men. Too many filters are clogged, and it is bewildering that in 2020, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey needs to state the obvious: “Being black in America should not be a death sentence.” Yet too often, it is.
There is no place for racism, bigotry, and hate in our nation. Kaepernick tried to address racial injustice, and rather than supporting his call to action as a nation, too many vilified him. The conversation was co-opted to question the patriotism of Kaepernick and others who supported his call to action.
There is a leadership vacuum at the top, and the divisive tweets only ignite intolerance. Real change must come from the roots of our diverse and strong society. We must learn from all cultural, racial, and ethnic groups and value inclusiveness and varied thinking.
Hate in the heart solves nothing.
I was blessed to play football at the highest level; but most important, the vital values I learned on the field guide me today. We all must look inward and be thoughtful, moral, and caring individuals who contribute to our communities.
As Dr. King said, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” This is more than a call action — it is about survival. No one can stay on the sideline. It is our civic responsibility to be involved, and there is no greater contribution to our nation than voting for leaders who listen, care, and value every citizen.
Shawn Moore is a sports marketing consultant and former collegiate coach. He was a 1990 Heisman Trophy finalist as quarterback at the University of Virginia, and he played four years in the NFL.
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