To Mike Ditka

There may not have been oppression, of which you were made aware, in the past hundred years. But that doesn’t mean it hasn’t happened. I haven’t been pulled over for driving while black either. My melanin-challenged heritage probably has a lot to do with that fact, not the absence of racially motivated traffic stops in the twenty plus years since I started driving. So maybe do some research of your own, talk to some people, before fobbing off the experience of a rich old white dude as typical for all races, classes, and genders in America.

I’ve also had a police officer come up to me whilst I was breaking into a car in the middle of a car park and ask if he could help (yeah, it was my car but he didn’t know that and I had no way of proving it until the car was unlocked). This was before cell phones had widespread distribution, and he offered to have someone ring a locksmith to open my car for me. Didn’t have the money, I replied honestly, and continued to force the frame-less glass window down until I could reach through and unlock the door. Now some of that is demeanor. It was my car and I wasn’t freaked out because a cop rolled up behind me. I was also familiar enough with the car’s window mechanism to know a good bit of force would lower the window. The cop didn’t even ask to see some ID and the registration paperwork once I got the door opened. I have darker complected friends who have been stopped while driving a car with keys in it and accused of stealing the thing. Followed by a demand for ID and vehicle registration to prove the vehicle wasn’t stolen.

The added irony is that Ditka was discussing protests within the NFL – protests that are designed to bring attention to racial injustices around the country. He exemplifies the need for these protests.

 

Actual quotes: “There has been no oppression in the last 100 years that I know of.”

“Now maybe I’m not watching it as carefully as other people. I think the opportunity is there for everybody. Race, religion, creed, color, nationality — if you want to work, if you want to try, if you want to put effort into yourself, I think you can accomplish anything.”

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