10 Oct 2017 Just because it didn’t happen to you doesn’t mean it never happened (Mike Ditka comment: “There has been no oppression in the last 100 years that I know of”

*10/10/2017 9:29 pm after thinking about this post, I decided to come back to it and edit some things, added a couple pictures and changed the title.  I have changed my “tone” a smidge because I know it’s a turn-off to my regular readers and sadly, the people I wish would see this sort of post and learn something will probably never even know it exists.  I know this goes both ways.  I know there are many things I haven’t taken the time to read that are written by people in total opposition to my perspective.  We generally, by nature, don’t go looking to read things that don’t resonate with who we are.   May be that’s part of the problem.  May be that is something I need to tackle for myself personally to help me to broaden my perspective on things!

Hello to you.  It’s Tuesday evening.  I see now that our President is getting his ego massaged by the media and owners from the NFL, he’s decided taking away their tax exempt status would be a good idea…you know….to punish the players.  I’ve never understood why they had it to begin with but not in the context of trying to punish players specifically.

http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/trump-says-us-should-change-tax-law-to-punish-nfl/ar-AAtfjt3?OCID=ansmsnnews11

Trump says US should change tax law to punish NFL

And then this….

http://www.msn.com/en-us/sports/nfl/mike-ditka-on-protests-there-has-been-no-oppression-in-past-100-years/ar-AAtfsDd?OCID=ansmsnnews11

Mike Ditka is unhappy with the protests that have gone on during the national anthem dating back to last year, and the legendary NFL coach has perhaps the most mind-boggling view on the topic of anyone we have heard.

In an interview with Jim Gray of Westwood One Sports on Monday, Ditka said he agrees with Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones that any player who kneels during the national anthem should not be allowed to play. In fact, Ditka doesn’t understand why players are protesting. As far as he’s concerned, there has been no oppression in the United States in the past century.

“All of sudden it has become a big deal now about oppression. There has been no oppression in the last 100 years that I know of,” Ditka said. “Now maybe I’m not watching it as carefully as other people. I think that the opportunity is there for everybody race, religion, creed, color, nationality, if you want to work, if you want to try, you want to put effort into yourself, you can accomplish anything.

“We’ve watched that through the history of our country. People rise to the top and became very influential people in our country by doing the right things.”

We don’t want to get into a detailed discussion about U.S. history, but Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in 1968. Schools were still segregated prior to 1954. We could go on and on and on, but anyone who says oppression doesn’t exist in this country is misguided.

Ditka said he has no problem with people protesting, but he doesn’t think the football field is the appropriate venue.

“Is this the stage for this? If you want to protest, you have a right to do that,” Ditka said. “But I think you are a professional athlete and you have an obligation to the game. I think you have to respect the game, and that’s what I think is the most important thing. I don’t see a lot of respect for the game. I just see respect for their own individual opinions.”

There are plenty of people who share Ditka’s old-school mentality, and we have even seen one head coach implement a policy the 77-year-old would agree with. But saying there has been no oppression in the past 100 years is just asinine.

http://www.blackpast.org/timelines/african-american-history-timeline-1900-2000 – the past 100 years of specifically Black History

The statements Mr. Ditka made here make him appear to be a very ignorant person.  On this timeline I’ve linked, you can see in the past 100 years there were many advances and firsts for people of color but there are also many examples of just how much more difficult it has been for people of color in this country than for whites.

I honestly don’t think we have found balance on this issue for any “side” but having public figures like Mr. Ditka  denial of 100 years of history littered with oppression, crime, abuse, murder and discrimination is not helping the conversation.  His comments are yet another example illustrating how even if a group of people are living an identical reality, their perception of it will not always reflect the truth of their shared reality.  Perception is a wicked thing especially when it comes to the hot button issues we are facing today like equality for minorities, women and the LGTBQ community.   His   comments are also a great current example of what I mentioned before in a previous blog about people lacking the ability to empathize with others.  His attitude reflects one I see quote often in people from his generation  and that is if it didn’t happen to be personally, if I don’t remember it happening, it never happened.   

Well I will step up, and affirm oppression has happened and is still happening to people of color.  It happened and is still happening to women, immigrants and members of the LGBTQ community.  

Here are just a few documents I have that my Grandma Becker made sure to give to the family so we would know and be proud of our part in history — fighting for equality for all people.

I wish my Grandpa Becker, a former pastor who was actually a part of the 100 years dismissed as oppression free, was still here to talk to people like Mr. Ditka and share what it was like for him and two other men to drive down to Mississippi to help people of color register to vote.  This during a time when others doing similar things were murdered for doing it.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murders_of_Chaney,_Goodman,_and_Schwerner

Freedom Summer Murders

The murders of Chaney, Goodman, and Schwerner, also known as the Freedom Summer murders, the Mississippi civil rights workers’ murders or the Mississippi Burning murders, involved three activists that were abducted and murdered in Neshoba County, Mississippi in June 1964 during the Civil Rights Movement. The victims were Andrew Goodman and Michael “Mickey” Schwerner from New York City, and James Chaney from Meridian, Mississippi. All three were associated with the Council of Federated Organizations (COFO) and its member organization the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE). They had been working with the Freedom Summer campaign by attempting to register African Americans in Mississippi to vote. This registration effort was a part of contesting over 70 years of laws and practices that supported a systematic policy of disenfranchisement of potential black voters by several southern states that began in 1890.

The three men had traveled from Meridian, Mississippi, to the community of Longdale to talk with congregation members at a church that had been burned. The trio was thereafter arrested following a traffic stop outside Philadelphia, Mississippi, for speeding, escorted to the local jail and held for a number of hours.[1] As the three left town in their car, they were followed by law enforcement and others. Before leaving Neshoba County their car was pulled over and all three were abducted, driven to another location, and shot at close range. The three men’s bodies were then transported to an earthen dam where they were buried.[1]

The disappearance of the three men was initially investigated as a missing persons case. The civil rights workers’ burnt-out car was found near a swamp three days after their disappearance.[2][3] An extensive search of the area was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), local and state authorities, and four hundred United States Navy sailors.[4] The three men’s bodies were only discovered two months later thanks to a tip-off. During the investigation it emerged that members of the local White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, the Neshoba County Sheriff’s Office and the Philadelphia, Mississippi Police Department were involved in the incident.[1]

The murder of the activists sparked national outrage and an extensive federal investigation, filed as Mississippi Burning (MIBURN), which later became the title of a 1988 film loosely based on the events. After the state government refused to prosecute, in 1967 the United States federal government charged 18 individuals with civil rights violations. Seven were convicted and received relatively minor sentences for their actions. Outrage over the activists’ disappearances helped gain passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.[5]

Forty-one years after the murders took place, one perpetrator, Edgar Ray Killen, was charged by the state of Mississippi for his part in the crimes. He was convicted of three counts of manslaughter in 2005 and is serving a 60 year sentence.[6] On June 20, 2016, federal and state authorities officially closed the case and dispensed with the possibility of further prosecution.

This is a picture of my Grandpa Harold Becker with a young black man whose name I do not have on the winter my Mother died.

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