The girls on the volleyball team at Minneapolis South were in a united state last night when the National Anthem was played.
The girl's volleyball team of Minneapolis South High School taking a knee for injustice in America last night. pic.twitter.com/aT6OkHcl8N
— Shaun King (@ShaunKing) September 16, 2016
Shaun King, the New York Daily news columnist, tweeted the photo. Why the faces are blurred is anyone’s guess.
“It’s a peaceful protest, they were actually, not harming anyone. They decided to do that on their own, so we value that and want to make sure they have the opportunity to do that within our school system,” Michael Walker, head the the Office of Black Male Student Achievement in the Minneapolis Public Schools, told KARE.
It’s a fair bet that few of the players, if any, read David Brooks, the New York Times columnist. It’s a fair bet that few high school kids anywhere do.
Nonetheless, Brooks aimed his column today at his high school readers who are thinking of joining the protests.
Sitting out the anthem takes place in the context of looming post-nationalism. When we sing the national anthem, we’re not commenting on the state of America. We’re fortifying our foundational creed. We’re expressing gratitude for our ancestors and what they left us. We’re expressing commitment to the nation’s ideals, which we have not yet fulfilled.
If we don’t transmit that creed through shared displays of reverence we will have lost the idea system that has always motivated reform. We will lose the sense that we’re all in this together. We’ll lose the sense of shared loyalty to ideas bigger and more transcendent than our own short lives.
If these common rituals are insulted, other people won’t be motivated to right your injustices because they’ll be less likely to feel that you are part of their story. People will become strangers to one another and will interact in cold instrumentalist terms.
That second to last sentence is the most fascinating one. To right an injustice, you have to be part of someone else’s story, Brooks says.
That’s increasingly difficult when your injustice isn’t theirs.
Related: Westminster Town Hall Forum: Eddie Glaude, Jr. on ‘Racism and the Soul of America’ (MPR News Presents)