7 minute read
“No religion will ever make me forget the condition of our people in this country…No God, no religion, no nothing will make me forget it until it stops, until its eliminated. I want to make that point clear”
I rarely make social media status updates about trending topics and I never feel compelled or inspired to blog about them. But, I was so moved by the Jonathan Isaac story I had to share my thoughts. For those of you who are unfamiliar, Jonathan Isaac, an ordained Minister and NBA player chose not to wear the Black Lives Matter T-shirt or kneel with the rest of his Black (and white) teammates during the singing of the National Anthem. In fact, he was the 1st in the NBA bubble to stand during the anthem. When asked why he made that decision he said the following:
“Kneeling or wearing a black lives matter t-shirt don’t go hand in hand with supporting black lives…my life has been supported through the gospel of Jesus Christ and that everyone is made in the image of God and that we all fall short of his glory….sometimes we point fingers about whose evil is worse, and sometimes it comes out as whose evil is most visible…I felt like I just wanted to take a stand on, I felt like we all make mistakes, but I think the gospel of Jesus Christ is that there is grace for us and that Jesus came and died for our sins, and that if we all would come to an understanding of that and understand that God wants to have a relationship with us, that we can get past skin color and we could get past all the things in our world that are messed up and jacked up. I think when you look around, racism isn’t the only thing that plagues our society…I feel like the answer to it is the gospel.
“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor”
Then boom. He tears his ACL. Coincidence? Bad Luck? A bad play? An Injury prone player? The Magic’s president believes, “Absolutely, unequivocally that the ACL tear is not related to Isaac’s previous injury and was not brought back too soon”. Then someone on Instagram had the following explanation for this coincidental injury, “Since you don’t want to Take a knee, our ancestors will take it for you”. And I wholeheartedly agree!
“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter”
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
That was Isaac’s karma, the repercussion and consequence for such an ignorantly horrifying decision. He serves as a prime example of what could happen when one chooses a religion rooted in white supremacy over your people. To reiterate what Malcom X said, “No religion will ever make me forget the condition of our people in this country…”.
We all can’t be a Nat Turner, Harriet Tubman, Denmark Vesey, Gabriel Prosser, Huey P. Newton, Assata Shakur, or Queen Nanny of the Maroons. Nor are we expected to be. We are not expected or obligated to make the sacrifice these courageous Blacks did. We are not expected to sacrifice our jobs, our families, or our lives to advance the cause of Black Empowerment. But as Dr. John Henrik Clark said, “Take what you do best and do it for your people”. For some of us, all that would entail is wearing a t-shirt and taking a knee. And Isaac couldn’t even do that. His action, or lack thereof was the ultimate betrayal to the ancestors and he used his religion to justify it. Again, he should serve as an example of what happens when you put anything and anyone over the ancestors.
We OWE our ancestors everything! We OWE them our undying and relentless loyalty, veneration, honor and respect. The reason we are here is because they chose to NEVER give up. The least we can do is use whatever platform we have been given to declare that their lives mattered! On the slave ship. Their black lives mattered. On the plantation. Their black lives mattered. As they were whipped and raped. Their black lives mattered. As mothers and fathers watched their children be sold to pay for wedding dresses and settle debts. Their black lives mattered. As they hung from trees. Their black lives mattered…Jonathan Isaac! Their black lives mattered.
“The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people but the silence over that by the good people”
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
The greatest atrocity in human history is MAAFA or the African/Black Holocaust. Alik Shahadah explains MAAFA as the, “500 years of suffering of people of African heritage through Slavery, imperialism, colonialism, apartheid, rape, xenophobia, oppression, invasions, and exploitation”. In America that includes the dehumanization, subjugation and oppression of chattel slavery, Jim Crow, and the nihilism found in the American ghetto, which Cornel West describes as meaninglessness, lovelessness and hopelessness. I am personally distraught and angered by the distinctly American White Supremacist act of lynching. Don’t forget these heinous murders were acted out by good Ole White Christian folk.
The groanings of our ancestors has yet to be heard. Their suffering has yet to be avenged. Their souls are not at rest and they are not at peace. We are obligated to stand for them (or kneel for them), the same way they have laid down their lives and at times their dignity for us. And when we don’t, we are going to be held accountable. There is a price to pay when you choose a white man, whether he is God or not, over your own flesh and blood. Jonathan Isaac didn’t take a knee and the ancestors took his.
Isaac has made a statment saying, “I still stand in Jesus name”. I don’t know about you, but I stand in the names of my ancestors; known and unknown…the nameless, the faceless, and the forgotten.
Kathleen Richardson is the Owner of Melanin Rich Wellness, whose mission is to optimize the physical, mental, and spiritual health of the black community. The pillars of Melanin Rich Wellness are African Holistic Health and Black Radicalism. She is a Published Author, Certified Holistic Nutritionist, Nutrition and Wellness Consultant, Vaginal Steam Facilitator and Yin Yoga Instructor. She is inspired by the healers, teachers, and warriors she lovingly calls her ancestors.