Alvin Kamara: “Until you are black in America, you won’t truly understand what it is to be black in America”

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Recent events have created an unprecedented level of awareness and sensitivity by white Americans to the issues confronting black Americans. On Thursday, Saints running back Alvin Kamara posted a long thread on Twitter that provides specific details about his own experiences.

I’m a 24 year old black man from Atlanta,” Kamara said. “Mother from Africa and an illegal alien for almost [30-some] years until 15 months ago. I’ve seen racism and experienced social injustice personally. Maybe even on a deeper level because my mother had a foreign accent. My license has been valid for as long as i can remember, but for some reason I still peep the rear view a couple times when a cop get behind me… why? Because that’s what I was taught to do.

“I’ve literally been in a bank and had the cops called on me. Not because i was robbing it.. but because i looked like i could have been robbing it. Oh… the teller was the one that called. I only needed like 200 dollars but i pulled out 10k just to play her ass. I’ve been in nice restaurants and been asked to leave because I can’t wear a hat, or because I was dressed ‘inappropriately’ for the dining room. But, y’all know that mean I was just too black to eat in there that day lol.

“I’m saying all of this to say… until you are black in America, you won’t truly understand what it is to be black in America and that’s fine. But don’t act like this doesn’t exist or isn’t real. Black boys go from ‘cute little kids’ to ‘threatening’ within the same breath even if all they were doing was walking home. And a man walking in the wrong neighborhood becomes a casualty simply because he looks like he doesn’t belong.

“I’ve been in enough situations where the color of my skin was seen as a big enough threat to cost me my life. And I know there are countless others that that fit my description that could say the same.

“I can kneel confidently because I know that with just that small gesture, a much bigger message is being conveyed. And also within that gesture the voices of those who no longer have a voice can be heard.”

That last message from Kamara seems to be an indication that he plans to kneel during the national anthem in 2020, a dynamic that could become more prevalent than ever before given the murder of George Floyd and the movement it has created.

18 responses to “Alvin Kamara: “Until you are black in America, you won’t truly understand what it is to be black in America”

  1. That is a powerful monologue just delivered by Mr. Kamara. But, my guess is for many it will be ignored, basically, because all you want athletes to do is entertain you and keep the other issues to themselves.

    That time is over.

  2. Very thoughtful commentary. It’s hard to understand being black in America unless you’re black in America. Problem is, many don’t even try to understand. Kudos to Kamara for doing a good job of verbalizing situations that many black males have been in.

  3. Agreed, very powerful. I got your back AK.

    Great dude, I liked him as a player before. Love the person he is.

  4. Anyone who wants athletes to shut up and play are hypocrites themselves by speaking up. Everyone is allowed an opinion no matter their job. No one is forcing you to listen. Stop crying and move on.

  5. I agree.

    No white person will ever know.

    So let’s move on to accepting all races as people and not color.

    If you keep preaching the same things we will never be able to move on.

  6. Unless your small business has been looted and destroyed, you’ll never know what it’s like to have a business that’s been looted and destroyed.

  7. Agreed….but all races need to learn and integrate…and respect each others culture..

  8. “Kneeling is so disrespectful!”

    “When I got engaged I made sure to kneel for my wife to ask her hand in marriage.”

  9. White privilege doesn’t mean your life hasn’t been hard; it means that the color of your skin isn’t one of the things making it harder.

  10. We are one race, the human race. Thankfully I don’t get too much of this in my everyday life in Canada. However, I do see it. We have ignorant people here just the same as anywhere else. It really is a shame and I am teaching my kids right from wrong for sure.

    I hope that within this or the next generation we can get this solved. I know it doesn’t look like it but we have made progress in the last 100 years. Hopefully it wont take another 100.

  11. I’m Caucasian. I absolutely agree with this. The most worry I have about when i see police officers is a speeding ticket. If you are not carrying weapons or drugs; drunk; or a threat to others you should be able to walk around with your head up high.
    Portable video cameras have changed the world!

  12. While I completely agree, that can be said from any specific race/sex to all others and it holds true just the same.

  13. From the amount of down votes for this article aand others under the same subject, I see there is a LONG way to go in changing the narrative. I’m not sure if they don’t see, don’t understand, don’t believe or simply don’t care about the issues raised. It’s depressing to see.

  14. The comment section here is ridiculous. Just because he “made it” doesn’t mean anybody can. And Alvin has admitted to being racially profiled despite being a well known athlete. Just because we’ve made significant progress over the past 100 years doesn’t mean much more progress isn’t necessary. Destroying businesses is completely unjustified but that comment is just whataboutism in response to Kamara. You can be agaisnt racism and anarchy. As for accepting all races as people, unfortunately many in this country, particularly in law enforcement don’t recognize black people as actual human beings. It’s a shame many black people feel dehumanized and targeted by law enforcement unjustly. Simply telling black people to move on does nothing to solve the problems at hand. If your brother was murdered and someone told you to just move on, you too would rightfully be upset.

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