It was refreshing to witness the moral courage displayed by Mizzou football players as they supported Jonathan Butler’s hunger strike and the other peaceful protesters standing up against racial discrimination. Their example is having ripple effects on college campuses all around the country.
The root of racism is money! Exploitation based on racial oppression is very profitable. Threat of economic reprisal is an effective tool, often used to further oppress those who would dare complain about their conditions. Many people who disagreed with the protest commented that the football players should have lost their “free ride” scholarships.
Mizzou’s football program earns $31 million per year in revenue. Players bring years of developed talent, endure grueling practice sessions, and risk serious injury during each game. Since Mizzou earns almost 344K per player after scholarships; “free ride” is the wrong term, “exploitation” is the better description. Those football players understood their collective power.
Oppressed people can be easily exploited and the oppressor will reap enormous economic benefits and advantages. Oppressors will not voluntarily stop, the oppressed must take action! The oppressor will use any resource at their disposal to continue the status quo. They will hire spies, spread rumors and attempt to discredit protest leaders to divide and conquer.
Historically, just about every effective protest has been economically disruptive or violent. When football players joined forces with protesters, it threatened to inflict serious financial harm to Mizzou and resulted in immediate action. Similarly, the Ferguson protest resulted in rapid policing and court reforms because the City of Ferguson, St. Louis County and the State of Missouri faced serious economic threats of property damage and other astronomical cost.
People are rediscovering their sense of community and hopefully that will continue. United we stand, divided we fall; and the strategy is always to keep us divided.