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If you haven’t had a chance to watch “Race in America: A Candid Conversation” yet, I can’t recommend it enough. Laurence Holmes did a great job hosting a raw, enlightening conversation with Sam Acho, Allen Robinson, Thaddeus Young and Jason Heyward. 

There’s a lot to take away from it, especially as a white man listening to five Black men talk about their experiences in the United States. 

I did want to highlight something Robinson said, though, that struck me as powerful. 

Laurence Holmes: Is it okay for us to live in the anger for a little while?

Allen Robinson: I personally think so. And again because I continue to play different things and I see people who are protesting against the Black Lives Matter movement and protesting. I see people who have these different — a United States flag, a confederate flag, but as far as the circumstances are is, what have we done to incite any frustration for anybody else? 

Is it people speaking their minds? Is it whatever the case may be? So at the same time, where one of ours was a victim of police brutality and things that are continuing to happen around the country, how yet again are there other people playing the victim to how they feel about certain things? About how they feel about people protesting, about how they feel about people voicing their opinions. 

People are so quick to come out and speak on the national anthem. It’s all these things that are happening so quick but yet something so tragic happened that has happened many times prior to that occurred. 

 

So for me that was the most frustrating part was sitting back, and even to now, to this day after, a week or so after this stuff has gone on is you see different people protesting against, with all lives matter, and you see people protesting with their certain flags and it’s like, I’m confused as to what any of us as an African-American culture has done to the opposite to make them feel out of anger or make them feel frustrated or anything like that. I will never understand that. 

As Black people we have the right to be extremely frustrated with everything that’s gone on, not only with the police brutality thing but on top of that, the justice that’s even not being served after that. And then you talk about the gap between African-Americans and other races of economic wealth in the United States. That’s a whole other topic. 

So it’s all these different topics that lead to us being frustrated but yet at the same time there are others to so quickly oppose of that and express their frustration who have a totally different history in the United States, totally different trajectory of their life and their ancestors. But somehow, some way, they’re frustrated by us as Blacks and African-Americans expressing how we feel.

Take some time to think about what Robinson said here. If you’ve been against the Black Lives Matter movement, or focused on the national anthem instead of police brutality, ask yourself: Why?

Also, listening to these players talk with Holmes on the show brought to light another important point: Just because they’re well-off, financially, does not mean they don’t get to express how they feel as Black people in this country. 

That’s far too often been a disingenuous cudgel used by the people Robinson talked about to push back against Black players protesting police brutality and racial inequality. It came up with Colin Kaepernick, and it’ll come up again this fall when players, expectedly, demonstrate on gamedays in their various sports. 

When that happens, keep in mind what Robinson said here, and also what Acho said on the show. 

“There’s a large group of people that are just ignorant, and those people need to be educated,” Acho said. “They need to understand that, ‘Hey, these biases do exist, I need to do something about them.’ 

“Then you need to empathize with people, no matter how much money you make, no matter what socioeconomic class you’re in, they need to understand that people who have hatred and anger in their hearts toward African-Americans, racists, people who also are ignorant, they don’t care about how much money you make, they just see your skin and they judge you, and that’s what we’re trying to do.”

 

You can watch the full episode of "Race in America: A Candid Conversation" below:

 

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