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Jun 18 2020

Upper Class Twit Of The Year!

It’s a mite early but this will be hard to top.

Ok, just so you understand who Dominic Raab is, he’s the Foreign Secretary of Great Britain. Because of our “Special Relationship” he is thoroughly familiar with all Internet tropes and memes.

Raab betrays his ignorance of the origin and meaning of taking a knee
by Haroon Siddique, The Guardian
Thu 18 Jun 2020

The foreign secretary Dominic Raab’s assertion that the act of taking a knee appears to be “a symbol of subjugation and subordination” that originates from the TV show Game of Thrones showed a startling level of ignorance of the genesis of the protest adopted by the Black Lives Matter movement.

When the then NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick took a knee during the US national anthem before a game on 1 September 2016 to highlight racism, it began a protest that would reverberate around the world.

Other NFL players followed in his footsteps, as did players in other US sports including Megan Rapinoe, who played for the women’s national soccer team.

While many applauded Kaepernick’s action – he also announced he would donate $1m to charitable causes – it was controversial, not least with the then presidential candidate Donald Trump, and made global headlines.

While Kaepernick failed to land an NFL contract for the following season, prompting accusations he had been sidelined for political reasons, the protests in the league became far more widespread. Trump, now president, said players should be fired for kneeling. Two members of Congress took a knee in the House in support of the NFL players, as did celebrities and even police officers.

At around the same time, Bernice King, the daughter of the murdered civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr, tweeted a picture of Kaepernick taking a knee with Eric Reid, the first NFL player to join him in the protest, alongside that of her father kneeling in prayer outside the Dallas County courthouse in Alabama on 1 February 1965 during a peaceful demonstration. She captioned the two images: “The real shame and disrespect is that, decades after the first photo, racism still kills people and corrupts systems.”

Another famous image of a black man kneeling featured on a 18th-century medallion created by renowned potter Josiah Wedgwood. He copied an existing design of a slave in chains kneeling, adding the inscription “Am I Not a Man and a Brother”. The image was widely reproduced and the wording became a rallying call for British and US abolitionists.

However, the image was a far cry from the defiant gesture today. The academic and novelist David Dabydeen described it as “docile and supplicatory (reflecting nothing of the frequent fierce rebellions by enslaved people in the New World plantations)”.

Neither the image of King nor the slave provided the inspiration for Kaepernick, however. It is often forgotten that his initial protest was to remain seated for the national anthem, mirroring a 1996 protest by the NBA basketball player Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, who took the same action citing US tyranny.

It was Nate Boyer, a white former NFL player and army veteran, who advised Kaepernick to take a knee instead of sitting down. Boyer told National Public Radio: “In my opinions and in my experience, kneeling’s never been in our history really seen as a disrespectful act. I mean, people kneel when they get knighted. You kneel to propose to your wife, and you take a knee to pray. And soldiers often take a knee in front of a fallen brother’s grave to pay respects. So I thought, if anything, besides standing, that was the most respectful.”

In other Kaepernick news, after Goodell shamed the Owners a bit the Chargers may give him a look as Back Up. “He’s a good fit for our system.”

There will certainly be some car door slamming in Kensington tonight.

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