Where Have You Been? 9

Where were you on April 4, 1968? What were you doing to keep Dr King alive? Did you join in the protests and rioting? Are you a racist for not being there to defend him when you were just a scant ten miles away? How do you handle the insanity of a legitimate protest,  masking the outright thuggery of rioting?

We were there, and even though my wife and I were not in immediate danger, the whole town was shut down at night with the threat of certain arrest. I was a broadcast engineer at WMC-TV in Memphis, and had special permission to go to my night-time job keeping the station on the air. It was not uncommon to see gaggles of police and highway patrol cars at motels and restaurants, and even military personnel carriers ripping across the streets of Memphis.

I was glad the police and national guard were there. Was I being racist?

Let’s take this even further. Where were you in the late 1950’s when Memphis City bus drivers were forcing black people to move from in front of the rear bus door, to the very rear of the bus to make way for white people to sit. What if you were that white person, and you didn’t ask for that seat? What if you were that white person, and you were just a junior high student like thousands of other kids that had to ride city buses to school (At that time there were no school buses in the city.)?

I may or may not have been that one person who caused the ejection of a black person from a bus, but I was still there not knowing what to say or do.

Was I a racist because I didn’t immediately throw myself at the bus driver and city police in defense of that black person?

If I were to put you into the same situations in segregationist Jim Crow America in the 1950’s, I don’t believe you would have behaved differently. If you were defending a black kid or adult, it was not unusual to find yourself surrounded by people calling you a n**** lover and being threatened.

My point is this. I know what racism is. The United States is not a racist nation. Protesting this police killing problem by disrespecting our nation makes no sense. The whole thing was started by an NFL quarterback who was bitter about life, and is not the brightest guy around. Even though I respect his reason to protest, I think he was dumb to have chosen his method.

If you want to disagree with me, fine, but bring your facts.