With this blog post, I am here to talk about something that I am very passionate about, that I feel needs some discussion. I have considered the backlash that I may get from this post, but honestly, if you don’t like it, then don’t read it. Simple as that.
Colin Kaepernick. I’m sure you have heard his name in the news, on Twitter and on Facebook; he has been a pretty hot topic lately. But, if you have been living under a rock the past few weeks, he is the quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers who has come to be known as the guy who won’t stand for the national anthem; he prefers to take a knee while the anthem is played.
Starting back in elementary school, we have been told that we had to stand for the national anthem, and the Pledge of Allegiance, with our hands over our hearts. This country stands and sings this song proudly, but most do not ever acknowledge the third verse, which talks about killing slaves and putting them into graves. In fact, it says, “And where is that band who so vauntingly swore, that the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion a home and a country should leave us no more? Their blood has wash’d out their foul footstep’s pollution. No refuge could save the hireling and slave from the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave, and the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave. O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave”.
It shocks me that there are people out there who claim that he is being ‘disrespectful’ and that ‘if he doesn’t like this country, he should leave.’ It baffles me that when a man of his stature is protesting silently, it gets all of this media buzz and press, but when an unarmed black man is killed in cold blood, the police officer who pulled the trigger gets paid administrative leave and everyone is as quiet as a church mouse. When John Carlos and Tommie Smith rose their fists in the air at the 1968 Olympic games in solidarity of the civil rights movement, would that have been made a bigger deal in 2016? When 4 black college students in Greensboro, North Carolina were staging sit-ins and letting white people call them every derogatory name in the book on top of having food thrown at them and being spit on and beaten, would that have caused a media storm in 2016?
“I am not going to stand for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” Kaepernick said, “there are bodies in the street and people are getting paid leave and getting away with murder.” Why stand up for a country that does not and has not stood up for you? My favorite thing about all of this is that he has not let the media, the hecklers, the people who are burning his jersey and putting it on the internet, silence him. That is why what he is doing is beautiful. He will not let others silence him, no matter how hard they might want to try to make him feel he is being disrespectful or being rude towards the people that have fought for this country when many soldiers had his back from day one.
What Kaepernick is doing is beautiful; he has started a movement. He is opening up people’s eyes. Other football players are kneeling and putting their fists in the air during the national anthem. What people thought was a phase or something temporary has become a movement. I completely stand behind what Colin Kaepernick is doing. I understand why he did it and is continuing to do it. I love that he is using his platform to speak out about what is going on in the black community.
Continue to kneel, continue to put your fist in the air. Don’t let them silence you.