“Breaking News. Colin Kaepernick joins Native American protest in North Dakota to force media to cover actual news.” That internet meme thanks to FreeThoughtProject.com shows us how corporate media works. Big Media is divisive, because it’s profitable. They pit us against each other to distract us as they pick our pockets with advertising and steal from our families by corrupting society with their paid-for censorship. They certainly don’t deliver us “News” as news gathering and investigative reporting is ignored, defunded and effectively censored. Republican controlled states pass laws that criminalize information gathering or its dissemination. Big Media is owned by the very companies doing all that nasty business to the citizenry. Big Money is made on political ads when the airwaves actually belong to citizens and political campaigns should get free airtime. That notion is considered quaint since the political season brings in billions and now lasts two years. And for what? We need debates and dialogue now more than ever. Instead, racism is running for president in a close race with corporate greed and media won’t call out either one. The Fourth Estate has been bought by the wealthy who seem to own the other estates now don’t they? So now all we have is the Fifth Estate, the internet, interwebs, bloggers, vloggers and podcasts.
Last article I said that, we Natives are fighting many things, much of it based on numbers. But we came back from 300,000 to 5.4 million, so those numbers become relative, actually All Our Relatives. When marketing says Billy Mills can’t get on the Wheaties box because only one million Indians will buy it, we cannot deny that we are the very bottom 2% of the population. For every person talking about #NoDAPL and #Standing Rock, nine are arguing over a “rich” mixed-race second string quarterback, sitting at first, but now taking a knee, during the national anthem at the beginning of NFL games. Black athletes protest the killing of black men by police and are told to be polite, know your place, we pay you and we can take it away. Natives are told to get back on the reservation but we can’t call our Senator because we are not represented in Congress, or anywhere really.
You see Kaepernick broke the fourth wall and revealed the media whiteout, as NFL powers fume over the loss of their “safe place” to sell us beer, sex, cars, oil & gas, and foods that will kill us, all wrapped in patriotic whitewash. The NFL had to give back tax-payer money that various military services paid teams for “patriotic displays” ostensibly as recruitment ploys. Media, sports and patriotism has conglomerated into this gladiator spectacle of empire. Gladiators were slaves but had clout and perks and could win their freedom. Now, individuals who come from marginal circumstances are brought to the arena to entertain and are paid well but apparently can have no individual thoughts or comments but must bend to the will of the masses and corporate overlords. Sheer numbers are brought to bear to pressure individuals who stand up or sit down or raise fists to protest. This is close to fascism.
Then it was revealed, with no help from Big Media, that “The Star Spangled Banner” was a song with a missing third stanza that celebrated the killing of black slaves who assisted the British in the War of 1812 to gain their freedom as Colonial Marines. Written by Francis Scott Key, a notorious racist and white supremacist who did all he could as a Washington D.C. official city prosecutor to deny blacks their rights or dignity. The U.S. started the war by attempting to invade Canada, as the northern border was not defined. The British ended up torching Washington DC and it’s around that time when Key wrote the poem celebrating Americans enduring against heavy odds. The song gained favor after WWI but was not adopted as the national anthem until 1931. And some Natives who fought for the Americans in the Revolution ended up changing sides in 1812 once they found out how untrustworthy and land hungry Americans were.
The Will Smith film “Concussion” should’ve been a 2016 Oscar nominated film which would’ve ended the No Diversity/All White Oscars debate. Instead, the power of the NFL as a corporation, football as a moneymaker and national media past-time, the 75% of Academy voting members who are old white dudes, and just taking away the fun, violence and spectacle even as the gladiators ruin their bodies, all this doomed “Concussion” to no nominations at all. Again it’s more numbers.
“Concussion” was an insult to the media powers and false patriots, it was the equivalent of Kaepernick sitting during the anthem. Now it’s #VeteransForKaepernick along with fellow players and athletes all taking a knee and people who don’t even care about football keep buying his #7 San Francisco jersey to make it a top seller. Those are numbers the powers understand. People got his back. It starts small and it grows.
U.S. military vets and current service members support Kaepernick by saying things like they did not serve overseas so that some police in their own communities are allowed to kill American citizens with no accountability. “We did not fight for that.” Vets also point out Congress keeps denying them assistance and they are forced to depend on charity. Martin Luther King Jr, Muhammad Ali and Jackie Robinson also said similar things that would support these protests. Now we have #NoDAPL across the country in 100 cities, #BlackLivesMatter at #StandingRock, and high school athletes taking a knee across the country, not against the military but against the injustices they see in their communities. So it starts small but it means people and communities should talk and not shout at each other. It’s nationwide. At football games. On TV. Wow. These numbers will only grow. #NoDAPL.
Alex Jacobs, Mohawk, is a visual artist and poet living in Santa Fe.