It’s Not About Race, It’s About Racism

What do Puerto Ricans have in common with NFL players?


Luke Visconti is the founder and CEO of DiversityInc. Although the title of his column is meant to be humorous, the issues he addresses and the answers he gives to questions are serious — and based on his 17 years of experience publishing DiversityInc. Click here to send your own question to Luke.

Are the NFL player protests a failure to love America/honor our military/have pride in our country?

No, they’re about racist policing.

So why is President Trump focused on the NFL, when hundreds of thousands of Puerto Ricans are in jeopardy for their very lives and the island lies in ruins?

His base, which is holding, depends on stoking the fires of racism. The same white rage he leveraged with his insistence that President Obama didn’t have a United States birth certificate, he’s leveraging today by criticizing NFL players’ patriotism and Puerto Rican infrastructure.

The promised visit to the 3 million (American) Puerto Rican residents has not materialized. But Trump did find time to travel to Alabama to support Sen. Luther Strange, where Trump spouted inanities such as: “If crooked Hillary got elected, you would not have a second amendment, believe me,” “The wall is happening, folks. Believe me” and “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. He is fired. He’s fired!’”

This morning, it has been interesting to hear right-wing commentators talk derisively about “one-percenter” NFL players protesting racist law enforcement, but not spousal abuse, as the team owners (0 percent Black) are rationally protecting their best interests and acting in solidarity with their players — the same owners who were seven-figure donors to Trump’s campaign.

I guess no owner wants to have the first team to refuse to play on a Sunday.

And did Puerto Ricans (who are all American citizens) really expect better treatment than Mexicans, given Trump’s record to date? Those who did are mistaken.

Racism works with racists, despite racist governance otherwise being ineffective to the issues that drove Trump’s base. There’s no wall being built with Mexican money; it looks like Obamacare repeal and replace is going down in flames again; and North Korea, a country with less than one-thousandth of our GDP, is completely unimpressed with Trump’s threats of annihilation.

There is no parsing racism. Racists do not draw a line where one behavior is okay but another is not. Racism depends on dehumanizing oppressed groups, and fascism needs an enemy to exist.

This country has plenty of faults; racism solves none of them.

Take a knee. BLM. Save Puerto Rico.

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  • Charity Dell

    Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands are considered “expendable”–just like the poor Black, Latino and White citizens
    of Louisiana, victims of Hurricane Katrina– were considered “expendable” by certain elements of the American government.
    In a country that spends $trillions$ on new military weapons and hardware, disaster relief simply is not a big priority.
    Like other governments that have “empire holdings” of real estate scattered across the globe, the United States has been
    very comfortable “owning” Caribbean islands, without doing enough to rebuild and repair infrastructure, address energy
    needs or social problems, or improve living standards for the vast majority of inhabitants there.

    1. The media keeps talking about a possible “mass migration” to the United States from Puerto Rico, as is this were
    some disaster to fear. Puerto Ricans are American citizens who have the right to move anywhere the United States owns
    land, including the continental United States. This is no different from any other Americans who are uprooted by natural
    disaster and must evacuate their home states to re-start life elsewhere.

    2. It remains to be seen how Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands will be re-built by the US government–or if mass
    evacuation will have to be the answer for the millions of American citizens who can no longer live in a shattered
    Caribbean ecosystem.

    • Charity, and then as soon as the poor people leave, the vultures will swoop down and buy up the islands and fix them up and resell the condos to their friends and such. They will also use government loans and subsides to accomplish this. A la Trump.

  • Just speaking with my Puerto Rican American co-worker. She said that she still cant contact her family members on the island. They can only pray that they are all right. We are here in the Bronx. We even have a college here named Boricua, which is a term, for those who do not know, for native Puerto Ricans. I have another retired co worker who now lives in P.R. We cant contact him. Spoke with him after the first time and while he didn’t have much water, his complex had working generators. I think that Trump feels that since they cannot vote for president, they don’t matter. But seems to forget that they have plenty of relatives and friends who can. To paraphrase, Latino Lives Matter, too.

  • Yes but lets talk about more important matters like NFL players who are SOBs because that’s what matters to the dimwit in the White House. You can’t even shame this man into making what happened on Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands a priority. He’ll tweet about all sorts of silliness but actually use the bully-pulpit to bring awareness to what’s happening to Puerto Rico and US Virgin Islands, apparently that’s not relevant. It’s just disgusting but I think it is accurate that because they can’t vote in elections he could care less. I don’t know how any right-minded person can’t look at these situations and not want to do everything possible to bring awareness and move mountains to help. The stories the Mayor of San Juan has been sharing have been heart-breaking. I think the people of this country should not look to leadership from the WH, Congress or Senate but look to ourselves and try and do what we can to help each other because clearly we are on our own.

  • Here’s the killer. Just read a poll where almost half of U.S. mainland Americans don’t know that Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens!!! I saw several newscasts prior to hurricane landfall in which they said they were evacuating Americans from Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. I was wrong with my first thought that they were evacuating the islands. No, they were talking about evacuating (mainland) tourists. I found myself shouting at the TV. According to the article, when people were prompted with info that these were U.S. citizens, those supporting aid jumped — though not to 100% (wonder why??). These are our fellow citizens . What is our problem?

  • Please, folks, a little intelligence and common sense – (rest edited out)

      • Grow a pair. You fear mere words, and by editing, you deprive your readers the opportunity to read and think and decide for themselves. Yet you continue to publish ZJ and Meh and their racial sexual slander.

        • I’m comfortable with my pair, I’m not willing to entertain every thought you have and I am not willing to give you unfettered access to my audience.

          Grow your own website and audience if you don’t like it. You’re a guest here.

          • How? The tiny percentage (less than 1%) of my gross revenue that the company you work for your pays to mine would be missed if it left, but wouldn’t make a significant impact on my life. Believe it or not, your company gets MUCH more out of the relationship than I do.

            You personally are one of 400,000+ unique visitors that will come to my website this month. I value each visitor, including you. But you’re not a “customer.”

    • Please, Mr. “President”, a little intelligence and common sense.

      There, fixed it for ya.

  • Thanks for your reflection. The root problem of PR is colonialism. Thanks to the economic relationship that was impose in PR by the military governments since 1898, date of the invasion of PR by the US Army, our economy has no been able to develop. Trump visit or the millions of dollars that FEMA or the Congress can provide will not solve the problem. PR need the political tools, only possible by independence, to develop its own path to economic recovery.

  • Good article, Luke. Most people not being able to define racism is the problem. And to be honest most don’t want to solve it. This is even an issue for Black people when articulating racism. The why people can’t properly define racism is both fascinating and scary. It’s reason shows more work is needed to address these concerns.

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