Citius, Altius, Fortius – Genocidius
We are more than a week into February - Black History Month, and we have already seen or been exposed to countless documentaries detailing the atrocity of slavery in America which ended over 155 years ago. It is right to study the history of our country, good and bad, so we do not repeat the bad, and try to emulate the good. So, Black History Month can be a positive thing, a productive thing, if we are willing to learn from our past. And what are the lessons that we should learn most from Black History Month?
The overarching lesson I learned from Black History Month is that the institution of slavery is not only wrong, and evil, but it is just as evil to be complicit in or sit idly by and allow that evil to occur without speaking out. But obviously we are not learning that lesson very well because over 20 million people are still living in slavery throughout the world, and very little is said about it. There is a disproportionate amount of discussion about the slavery in America that ended over a century ago, then about the slavery that continues throughout the world today. We can talk until we are blue in the face about the slavery in America’s past, but none of that will do anything to free one of those slaves or hold one of those slaveowners accountable. But our words and our actions regarding present day slavery can go a long way to free people around the world who are enslaved, and to holding those who have enslaved them accountable. The biggest offender of slavery, forced labor, and subjugation of human beings in the world is the Chinese Communist Party.
It is ironic that in the very month that we are laser-focused on the slavery in American history, we are willfully ignoring the slavery that is occurring in present-day China. We are being told by our leaders in Washington that we must keep our mouths shut about the forced labor, and the concentration camps in China because we fear the extreme backlash against our athletes who are competing in Beijing. House Speaker Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has told our Olympians that they must remain silent about the genocide that is being committee while they compete in Beijing for fear of reprisal by the CCP. She is telling Americans to turn a blind eye to Chinese atrocities while she and her husband made millions of dollars off her relationship with China. See how quickly people like Nancy Pelosi show their totalitarian spots. What are commemorations like Black History Month accomplishing if we turn around and tell our athletes to shut their mouth and be complicit in the very type of atrocity that Black History Month is meant to bring awareness to?
In previous Olympics, American athletes were allowed to disrespect the American flag and our national anthem in the name bringing awareness to social justice, but in Beijing, our politicians tell our athletes to remain silent; to shut up about the extreme social injustices that committed against fellow human beings in the very country in which they are competing. This is a stark departure from last year when the same politicians urged Major League Baseball to move the All-Star game out of Atlanta, because Georgia had passed very sensible legislation requiring eligible voters to produce ID before they cast their ballot. But now we are telling our athletes to nod along and smile in China, tacitly approving all of the human rights violations that are occurring there today. ESPN pundit, J.A. Arande justified China’s genocide of the Uighurs when he compared that atrocity to that Georgia law. There is no moral equivalency between the two. But ESPN, who has deep ties to China through Disney, will draw that equivalency to protect their income stream. So, when your paycheck comes from a genocidal maniac, you tend to defend the genocidal maniac.
It is well documented that many American athletes, Hollywood actors, US corporate billionaires, are making millions of dollars off of this Chinese slave labor. What these people are doing is no different than owners of mercantile companies who became rich selling the cotton picked by slaves in pre-Civil War south. Even though they never owned a slave, they not only were complicit in the slave trade but helped to perpetuate it. So, every person who is taking money from the Chinese, enriching themselves or promoting their brands from their relationship with the Chinese, have the blood of every Uighur who has been killed or every Chinese child who died from their force labor, on their hands.
So, we can have Black History Month every month of the year, we can learn about all the atrocities that were committed against Black people in this country, and all the evil people who committed them, but what are we accomplishing if we just sit by and allow 20 million people around the world to continue to be enslaved and not speak a word about it?
Athletes like LeBron James and Colin Kaepernick who have openly accused America of being racist and totalitarian, make millions of dollars from China which is the living embodiment of social injustice. But neither of these men have the courage to criticize China or use their social media platforms to shed light on the atrocities there because China is where their bread is buttered.
These athletes' criticism of America only served to prove the greatness of America because in this country citizens have the right to speak out against our country and our leaders without government ramifications. But if these same two athletes were Chinese citizens who criticized the CCP, the secret police would come in the dead of night to whisk them away to an undisclosed location where they would be reprogrammed and eventually forced to make a new statement disavowing their previous statements.
We saw this with Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai who posted on Twitter on November 3, 2021, that 3 years ago she was sexually assaulted by Chinese Vice President Zhang Goali while his wife guarded the door. Within 30 minutes of the post, her Twitter account was shut down, and she disappeared from public sight. Then, 15 days after her original post, CTGN, a Chinese state run news outlet, release a letter claiming to be from Peng saying that the accusation of sexual assault was not true. She later was interviewed where she spouted out Chinese propaganda.
In America, women like Christine Blasse-Ford, Tara Reide, Paula Jones, Monica Lewinsky, all accused prominent government officials of sexual misconduct, but were not kidnapped and reprogrammed to change their stories through force, coercion and imprisonment by government agents.
Up until a few years ago, every American was allowed to criticize their leaders. Athletes who disrespected the American Flag and our National Anthem were not only allowed to do it, they were praised as heroes. That is what makes America so great and so unique throughout the world – the lowliest American could speak truth to power to the most powerful politician in Washington.
But now, while certain people can still criticize America with total impunity, others are not so fortunate. Many conservative political commentators and even a former President have been de-platformed on social media for expressing political opinions that big tech does not like, flagged as misinformation or hate speech. If you happen to hold the wrong political opinions, and express them, you may not be disappeared and reprogrammed like Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai, but you will be censored or silenced or canceled at the behest of the most powerful government officials in our country.
Jen Psaki, White House press secretary, last week made a veiled threat to social media company Spotify to censor podcast or Joe Rogan for his criticism of the Biden administration’s handling of Covid. A few days later Spotify took down over 70 of Joe Rogan’s podcasts, and Rogan released an apology. Rogan’s re-education did not occur in an ill-lit room in a Chinese prison, but out in the open in front of millions of people. China is run by hard totalitarianism. The United States is now being run by soft totalitarianism. In America, you may not get executed or even imprisoned for speaking out against America, but you will get canceled, de-platformed, or fired. You won’t lose your life, but you can lose your livelihood.
We can have social justice messages scrawled on every field and every court throughout America, we could have our athletes promote Black Lives Matter, but how much do we care about social justice, ending oppression and slavery when we knowingly allow and are complicit with the exact same crimes that were committed against Black people to continue to occur to other people around the world? Are those social justice signs, and mottos simply empty bromides, meaningless, used only for political purposes, if the lessons of the past are never used to prevent the same atrocities in the present or the future?
Judd Garrett is a graduate from Princeton University, and a former NFL player, coach, and executive. He has been a contributor to the website Real Clear Politics. He has recently published his first novel, No Wind.