Stand 4 Something

Many folk raise their fists in the air and rah, rah. That don’t make em gold medalist Tommy Smith or bronze medalist John Carlos. Their single bloodless act of freedom and Black recognition, during the 1968 Olympics, caused the Olympic committee to take away their medals. One pays a price to stand sure-footed in an admiring crowd and point out the emperor has no clothes.

A number of individuals claim they stand for something as long as it doesn’t interfere with their job or college education, for example. “You gotta pick yo battles,” is a common response for not getting involved. One understands the need to take care of one’s family; consequently, too many individuals tolerate racist, sexist, elitist, physically challenged behavior in the workplace.

Many times and at many HWCU students who receive financial aid complain about unfair treatment from the financial aid office, students, staff, faculty of color, women and special needs individuals complain about the racist, sexist, classist bullying behavior from faculty and other administrators. When asked why they don’t take affirmative action against mistreatment or injustice they clearly articulate their fear of backlash. Ironically the poor treatment and abuse will likely continue. Backlash is a fear cultivated by those in power.

Individuals and groups should not be subject to racist, sexist, agism, economic and disability issues, insults and general bullying behavior for which they are expected to just ‘suck-it-up,’ and accept such behavior as misunderstood humor—one excuse. Too often when the contemptible behavior is called into question it is quickly characterized as some sort of joke by oppressors. Non response or contrived chuckle by victims to insults and humiliation from oppressors’ unfunny jokes is the victims attempt to escape the maze of education with the end being graduation, tenure and/or a working-class pay check.

Identify and denounce mistreatment and injustice. One may never know the rippling effect from her/his taking a stand for something. Today the 1968, condemnation of Olympian athletes Smith and Carlos ring truly petty. Their unified peaceful act is an indelible image of one of the Olympics most iconic historic moments.

Proverb: “ Stand for something or fall for anything.”



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