We Need To Stop Saying “Waffle House Hero”
President Trump recently had the gall to refer to North Korean dictator Kim Jung Un as as “very honorable.”
As shocking and revolting as his declaration may seem — it matches perfectly well with his past alignment with suspicious candidates who possess the very worst qualities of human nature — as evident in his avid support of alleged child molester — Roy Moore and a former aide — accused of being a wife beater.
Trump also has a penchant for emphatically chanting the praises of servicemen and women as well as police officers — as he bestows reminders of the immense sacrifices that are being made by these patriots who sign up to perform the most selfless act imaginable.
It’s very clear that when it comes to the American hero and how it’s defined by a biased bully who happens to also be the Commander-In-Chief — such a person has to match up with his self-motivated agenda or else their heroic gestures evaporate into a mist of purposeful negligence.
For example — it’s extremely appalling and offensive to record the fact that Trump — just days ago — publicly applauded the character of a scheming — murderous tyrant — while steadfastly refusing to acknowledge a homegrown superhero — who didn’t need a cape to fly into action mode for the sake of God and country.
29-year-old James Shaw Jr. — is the Black man who is now annoyingly being referred to as the “Waffle House Hero” — instead of the simple and just — American Hero.
As with most things in life — greatness really starts with the little things — the stuff that manifests without warning but based on the organic tendency that is in-built — most of us are able to rise to the occasion without the security of weaponry or notable status.
It really doesn’t get any more American than Shaw — a Black man who planned on dining with a friend at the local Waffle House and ended up in the crossfire of bullets — blood and riddled bodies. In a desperate bid to end the chaos orchestrated by a White male terrorist —Shaw valiantly wrestled 29-year-old Travis Reinking to the ground and successfully put an end to a precarious situation.
The Black man overpowered the White man in order to prevent more people of color from being shot to bits for no other reason other than the fact that they’re not White. Four young Americans were killed — and even as Shaw nursed the wounds he sustained in combat — he was still able to set up a GoFundMe page for the families of the victims — as a way to assist with their funeral expenses.
There’s no doubt that if James Shaw Jr. had been a White man caught in an unexpected gunplay at a local diner that ends with the loss of White lives and his emergence as the “victor” who masterminds a swift resolution — Trump would’ve enthusiastically tweeted his appreciation and pride in the spirit of an American who lives up to the true definition of a hero.
If Shaw were a White man — media outlets would be calling him a “hero” without the vile assignment of “Waffle House” — which does very little to heighten the respectability of a young man who almost died in the line of duty.
When it comes to heroes — and the people that fit snugly into that category — the requirements always seem to be based on polished badges and plaques — that are supposed to demonstrate monumental achievement — garnered from overcoming harrowing circumstances — that regular folks can’t possibly fathom.
But — Diamond Reynolds didn’t need to be ceremoniously admitted to a disposition that she was forced to accommodate based on her experience as a Black woman in America. Reynolds became the all-American hero nobody wanted to recognize — as she stoically withstood the shooting death of her boyfriend — Philando Castile — inches away from her and her toddler daughter.
The ultra-violent episode was uploaded and streamed for our viewing pleasure — as we gasped at the sight of all that blood — and heard the pleas of a tiny girl — trying to console her horrified mother — who was remaining remarkably calm for both their sakes.
Diamond Reynolds was eventually given monetary compensation for her pain — but her heroic efforts haven’t been activated because in our eyes — her testimony falls in line with what you would expect from a Black woman who is out of luck when it comes to superheroes swooping in for the rescue.
Then you have a fellow like James Shaw Jr. — whose actions were heroic but his blackness gets in the way and forces us to label him ridiculously — so as to adequately depict and honor the location of his actions. And so we have the “Waffle House suspect” and the “Waffle House hero” — intertwined in a tale that Trump and his White supremacists base prefer to ignore with practiced disdain.
American heroes come in all shades and religions — and they usually aren’t prepared for war on the horizon — which makes them even more worthy of an honor that they never seem comfortable receiving — regardless of their qualifications.
It’s awesome to watch Shaw getting some love from across the board — and hopefully his existence as a Black man in America will benefit greatly from his award-winning role as the gorgeous embodiment of all the things that make our nation great.
As we celebrate him — let’s also refrain from calling him “Waffle House Hero” because click baits aside — it’s just darn idiotic.
He’s an American with a big — beautiful heart. He’s Black with the visible and invisible scars to show for his sacrifice. He’s basically a hero.