I posted the following on my Facebook Wall at 11:34am EDT on September 3, 2016, “Good Morning FB. I’ve served my country, my community, my family, my faith. If the San Francisco 49ers cut Colin Kaepernick for taking a stance, for ascertaining his First Amendment rights to freedom of expression, I will be boycotting any and everything to do with the NFL. Thank God my Nebraska Cornhuskers are in the NCAA. Good Day/Weekend FB.” The National Anthem and Colin Kaepernick are now all over my Facebook News Feed.
Now fired up, it was my Facebook Friend Jackie Barfield whose wall caught my eye and gave me an opportunity to exchange, share and vent. What you see below is me jumping in like a game of double dutch jump rope. The other literary rope jumpers were mostly professional women of color. The Pledge of Allegiance was the primary topic, and everything was going fine until 10:24pm Friday night when another man named Roger Snowden chimed in in dissent.
The following is a transcript of an eyeopening conversational thread from Facebook Friend Jackie Barfield’s wall; a woman whom I have never had the pleasure of meeting in person.
The Anthem, Allegiance and the First Amendment – Part 1
Jackie Barfield (SEPTEMBER 2 at 9:49am): Colin Kaepernick has me studying the history of the pledge of allegiance and the case law that has followed it. As children we just follow suit, but as adults we are conscious thinkers and are given the right to not to salute the flag. Even children don’t have to in school anymore so why the big uproar now? “Pledge of Allegiance statutes, state by state.”
Jerry Pettit (SEPTEMBER 2 at 9:58am): Bellamy salute
M.D. Woods (SEPTEMBER 2 at 10:26am): “I pledge allegiance, to the flag, of the United States of America.” I’ve had a problem with that for the past 20 years. When I looked back on it as adult, I felt like I was being indoctrinated against my will. And no hand over the heart? The was a corporal punishment offense at Mt. View ES back in the early 70s.
M.D. Woods (SEPTEMBER 2 at 10:30am): They were beating the pledge of allegiance into us younguns!
M.D. Woods (SEPTEMBER 2 at 10:36am): faded Principal Mrs. Randall. Yep. Back then, our parents stayed out of it.
M.D. Woods (SEPTEMBER 2 at 11:07am): A few days ago, a good friend of mine was telling me about the Omaha Nelson Mandela School where here grandaughter attends; that they have their own morning pledge that has nothing to do with the US government. I’m waiting on her to send me the video of her granddaughter doing the pledge so I can write a blog on it. http://nelsonmandelaelementary.org/
Nakecia Bowers (SEPTEMBER 2 at 10:25am): I’m been protesting since childhood. I just didn’t believe in the words. My grandma told me to just stand and pray instead so I don’t get in trouble. I also am more likely to sing lift ever voice.
Diane J. Greenfield (SEPTEMBER 2 at 10:30am): For me, as a Christian who respects people of all faiths or no faith and who believes we are all (the world) connected and I am grateful to live in this country with all his freedoms but also its imperfections (certainly not exceptional) the pledge bothers me. Christianity and patriotism have become one in too many minds and I do not wrap myself in the flag with a Bible in one hand and a gun in the other. My allegiance is to God, not country.
M.D. Woods (SEPTEMBER 2 at 10:31am): Right and this was my issue with the pledge in elementary school. I felt like this was against what I was being taught so that’s why my grandma said to pray.
M.D. Woods (SEPTEMBER 2 at 10:40am): Negro National Anthem composer and National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Executive Secretary 1920-1930
M.D. Woods (SEPTEMBER 2 at 10:47am): There was nothing uplifting for me in Francis Scott Key Star Spangle Banner and/or whomever composed the pledge of allegience. I’m not motivated by song, book, pledge or law composed, written, dictated or passed before the passage of the 13th Amendment in 1865, abolishing slavery.
Nakecia Bowers (SEPTEMBER 2 at 10:43am): I agree
Brenda Watkins (SEPTEMBER 2 at 1:13pm): As small children we didn’t know…we just knew it was done within the first hour after arriving at school
Diane J. Greenfield (SEPTEMBER 2 at 10:30am): I was glad when my church made the decision to remove the flags from the sanctuary, they do not belong there.
M.D. Woods (SEPTEMBER 2 at 11:31am): Separation of church and state!
Deloris McNair (SEPTEMBER 2 at 12:01pm): I love having a lawyer in the family.
M.D. Woods (SEPTEMBER 2 at 12:12pm): Jackie Barfield, I got caught up on your timely topics I forget why I stopped by your common wall in the first place. The following is an open letter I snailed mailed to the Baltimore Police Dept. last month.
Jackie Barfield (SEPTEMBER 2 at 1:22pm): Good job Mr. Woods!
Valentina Saaverdra (SEPTEMBER 2 at 12:46pm): I am a proud Chicana, and with that comes a great love for this country. It frustrates me when people talk about this country like it is such a horrible place. The US is not perfect, but it sure ain’t Mexico, let alone North Korea.
Having said that, I am so proud of Kaepernick for making such a bold statement in an absolutely peaceful way. And I think it was a very American thing for him to do, to exercise his right to free speech.
Anyone who is offended by his choice to make a stand for a cause that is so real and so shameful of the US is way too egotistical if you ask me. His actions and statements were not only harmless to anyone with differing opinions, but he supported his stand eloquently and intelligently.
Brenda Watkins (SEPTEMBER 2 at 1:33pm): Blacks, Browns, Irish, Jews, and Chinese have had some time have gone through the racist hate door. But Afro Americans seem to still going around and around. At least well not I know of, have been told they were second class citizens. No other race has been separated from family and denied their history as in removable of any traces of any misconducts and because of this the hate continues and whites can tell/slant he story the way they want and with no evidence or proof…wellll. So I can see why you have no problem in your thoughts but one more thing, your ancestries were not in America. The poor unlearned Caucasians didn’t like the idea that Africa was rich and ruled themselves just fine thank you. So for centuries of hate for all Afro Americans
Valentina Saaverdra (SEPTEMBER 2 at 12:46pm): I wish I had the money to be as outspoken and brave as him on social justice issues lol.
Jackie Barfield (SEPTEMBER 2 at 1:24pm): Doesn’t take money, just heart. He stand to lose a lot in the wrong climate..
Valentina Saaverdra (SEPTEMBER 2 at 2:10pm): I feel like I’m not financially secure enough to not offend potential clients hahaha!.
Jackie Barfield (SEPTEMBER 2 at 2:11pm): Right! Go under a pen name. Lol!
Jackie Barfield (SEPTEMBER 2 at 2:12pm): You’d be surprised you might get a whole other group of clients and keep the ones you have.
Valentina Saaverdra (SEPTEMBER 2 at 2:24pm): You’re right. But the people are not my clientele, attorneys are. I’m an undercover minority. Haha!! I think minorities would be surprised at how racist people really are. I call myself a cultural liaison.
Valentina Saaverdra (SEPTEMBER 2 at 12:46pm): ???????? there’s a lot of truth to that!.
Danny Barfield Sr (SEPTEMBER 2 at 2:56pm): Speak Sister
Cynthia Taylor (SEPTEMBER 2 at 4:46pm): I remember when I was in grade school there were parents that didn’t want there children to participate in the pledge of allegiance so everymorning they would sit outside the class room until it was over and they weren’t of color
The Anthem, Allegiance and the First Amendment – Part 2
Roger Snowden (SEPTEMBER 2 at 10:24pm): The uproar is because some ignorant fool decided to make a spectacle out of himself by disrespecting the traditions of others.
Valentina Saaverdra (SEPTEMBER 2 at 10:29pm): I don’t understand how him not participating in others traditions as a way to peacefully exercise his right to free speech can be constituted as disrespectful.
Roger Snowden (SEPTEMBER 2 at 11:35pm): Pig Socks.
Valentina Saaverdra (SEPTEMBER 2 at 12:46pm): I don’t understand that either.
M.D. Woods (SEPTEMBER 2 at 10:36pm): Mr. Snowden, I maybe an “ignorant fool” too. Nevertheless, please direct me to where I can find the word “Tradition” in the Constitution. If you can’t, then you “may” be an ignorant fool like me and whomever you were referring to originally as the ignorant fool.
Jackie Barfield (SEPTEMBER 2 at 10:37pm): Roger Snowden so anyone who doesn’t salute the flag is an “ignorant fool”, no matter what the reason for doing so..
Roger Snowden (SEPTEMBER 2 at 11:31pm): No, please don’t assume my thinking is so two dimensional.
He happens to be an attention-starved fool, that is all. Merely echoing a current popular sentiment.
I would love to hear him articulate the concept of American Exceptionalism, rather than spout some ignorant tripe so he can be applauded as “courageous”, when he is in fact weak.
Jackie Barfield (SEPTEMBER 3 at 5:09am): No he’s using his celebrity for justice. He never claimed to be a scholar, just a citizen standing up for what he believes is the right thing to do. If he wasn’t rich and famous we wouldn’t even be having this discussion.
Jackie Barfield (SEPTEMBER 2 at 10:41pm): I’m thinking the “traditions of others” are the reason that we can’t move past the injustices and racist attitudes and treatment dished out to people of color.
M.D. Woods (SEPTEMBER 2 at 10:42pm): I want to know where it says in the Constitution where an American citizen must bow down to OTHERS traditions!
Roger Snowden (SEPTEMBER 2 at 11:34pm)
Jackie Barfield (SEPTEMBER 3 at 5:36am): Roger Snowden you are protesting too late. You should have voiced your objection years ago:
“After divisive court battles, the U.S. Supreme Court issued an eloquent ruling in 1943, which is the prevailing law today, assuring students they do not have to recite or participate in the Pledge of Allegiance. The pledge under dispute in the case was accompanied by a “stiff-arm” salute. Students who did not salute were found guilty of “insubordination” and could be expelled. The Court ruled such abuses unconstitutional.
“If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein.
“We think the actions
of the local authorities in compelling the flag salute and pledge transcends constitutional limitations on their power and invades the sphere of intellect and spirit which it is the purpose of the First Amendment to our Constitution to reserve from all official control.”
West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette, 319 U.S. 624 (1943)”
Jackie Barfield (SEPTEMBER 3 at 5:41am): You do have the right to withhold your money. But fortunately for him there are many others that love sports more than his stance. Imagine if all of the athletes kneeled. Oh my, what would the sports fans do?
Roger Snowden (SEPTEMBER 3 at 10:03am): Jackie Barfield Jackie, I have yet to dispute his right. I just express my own opinion. Which I presume is my right as well.
Paulette KK Grey (SEPTEMBER 3 at 11:14am): Great research Mom Jackie Barfield!
M.D. Woods (SEPTEMBER 2 at 10:49pm): I have a tradition of celebrating Kwanzaa. If you Mr. Snowden refuse to sing the Negro National Anthem with me and us during a Kwanzaa Celebration, are you then some ignorant fool?
Roger Snowden (SEPTEMBER 2 at 11:32pm): No, because I know the fallacious history of Kwanzaa..
M.D. Woods (SEPTEMBER 2 at 11:40pm)
M.D. Woods (SEPTEMBER 2 at 11:42pm): You must have heard, and would choose not to participate, which I ALREADY KNOW IS YOUR CONSTUTIONAL RIGHTS.
M.D. Woods (SEPTEMBER 2 at 11:43pm): Are you with me Mr. Snowden?
M.D. Woods (SEPTEMBER 2 at 11:46pm): The National Anthem was composed during a time when whatever Dr. Karenga did, take it times 100. Black female slaves being raped.
M.D. Woods (SEPTEMBER 2 at 11:47pm): Take what he did times 1,000,000
M.D. Woods (SEPTEMBER 2 at 11:49pm): Ten million over the past 400 years
M.D. Woods (SEPTEMBER 2 at 11:53pm): I’m focusing on rape because of your reasoning for not taking part in a Kwanzaa Celebration during the Negro National Anthem…which was composed by a man who to my knowledge was an upstanding citizen. James Weldon Johnson, the NAACP Exec Dir from 1920-1930.
M.D. Woods (SEPTEMBER 2 at 11:55pm): Getting back to Colin Kaepernick. I support him for his taking a stance against injustice. You took a stance against the convicted rapist Dr. Karenga. You feel what I’m saying here Mr. Snowden?
M.D. Woods (SEPTEMBER 2 at 11:59pm)
M.D. Woods (SEPTEMBER 3 at 12:01am): My I suggest you take a day or two to think about your experience on this thread, then come on back. It just turned midnight here in Charlotte. Today is my birthday Mr. Snowden. I’m out!
Roger Snowden (SEPTEMBER 3 at 12:11pm): Mykl D. Woods If Kaepernick took a meaningful stance against the record violent crime in Chicago. Or the miserably failing schools in Omaha, I might have some respect for him. But when he takes a mindless position that happens to be fashionable, he is nothing.
M.D. Woods (SEPTEMBER 3 at 12:15am): When a man chooses to take a stance against the national anthem, its because of a national issue.
M.D. Woods (SEPTEMBER 3 at 12:15am): Wouldn’t you agree
M.D. Woods (SEPTEMBER 3 at 12:18am): The national issue he is jeopardizing his entire big money making career against is the governmental shooting and killing of black men.
M.D. Woods (SEPTEMBER 3 at 12:19am): Have you ever lost someone close to you to a police issue bullet Mr. Snowden?
M.D. Woods (SEPTEMBER 3 at 12:20am):I have, and that was back in the late 80s
M.D. Woods (SEPTEMBER 3 at 12:25pm)Gotta go man. It’s my birthday now. Folks are calling. You have a great Labor Day Weekend Mr. Snowden. I’d like for you to form your own opinions and views by communicating with people like us on this thread. Nobody cursed you out. Nobody disrespected you. Now, we on this end expect nothing less from you. Alright. I’m out!
Roger Snowden (SEPTEMBER 2 at 12:46pm)Mykl D. Woods That poem had absolutely nothing to do with black female slaves. It was about surviving a battle with the greatest military power on Earth using a new weapon. That military power had repeatedly kidnapped and impressed our seamen and forced them to fight against their own country, and the author alluded to this in a stanza of the poem.
Roger Snowden (SEPTEMBER 3 at 10:09am)
M.D. Woods (SEPTEMBER 2 at 10:46pm): Or are you protected by the Constitution’s First Ammendment?
Jackie Barfield (SEPTEMBER 2 at 10:50pm): People really need to take this opportunity to look deeper and realize it’s not his not saluting that’s the problem, but his audacity to speak to power and say I don’t like how this country allows rogue cops to kill innocent black people with absolutely no consequences. So let’s tell the truth about it. Now this is only my humble opinion.
Jackie Barfield (SEPTEMBER 2 at 10:51pm): I think Roger Snowden faded to black
Roger Snowden (SEPTEMBER 2 at 11:23pm): Eh?
Renee McGee Whitley (SEPTEMBER 5 at 7:12pm): Amen
M.D. Woods tweets, “I AM COLIN KAEPERNICK” @afromation
The Snowden Aftermath Text Messages
Jackie Barfield to M.D. Woods (SEPTEMBER 3 at 5:01am): Happy Birthday!
Jackie Barfield to M.D. Woods (SEPTEMBER 3 at 5:22am): You killed Roger with words. He couldn’t handle you at all so he said nothing until he thought you were gone. Wow! You are a bad man common! I am more impressed
Jackie Barfield to M.D. Woods (SEPTEMBER 4 at 7:23am): I hope you enjoyed your birthday.
M.D. Woods to Jackie Barfield (SEPTEMBER 4 at 3:21pm): I sho did. I really enjoyed exercising my (un)common mind on your wall. Thanks JB!
Jackie Barfield to M.D. Woods (SEPTEMBER 4 at 3:59pm): You should really do that more often. We need more intelligent men to stand up to these “objectors” on FB. You shut him down with a simple question.
“When it comes to the flag and the national anthem and the meaning that holds for our men and women in uniform and those who fought for us — that is a tough thing for them to get past,” President Barack Obama said. “But I don’t doubt his sincerity. I think he cares about some real, legitimate issues that have to be talked about. If nothing else, he’s generated more conversation about issues that have to be talked about.“
Yes indeed. I, myself, am still analyzing the data from my interaction with Mr. Snowden. We both were probably in a Friday evening chill mode, which could be good or bad when debating national issues. I think he may have even come around. What has me SMH is that it shouldn’t take a master debater to get Americans of other backgrounds to respect people of color’s backgrounds, experiences and constitutional rights; e.g., R-E-S-P-E-C-T.
I thank Facebook Friend Jackie Barfield for allowing me to share this blog, which is based off a her publicly viewed Facebook thread and private personal text messages, as a teaching tool.