I wish that people were as up in arms about black men being killed in the streets as they are about Colin Kaepernick taking a knee during the singing of the national anthem. I wish that Americans cared as much about minorities dying at the hands of the law enforcement officers who should protect them as they care about members of the military being dishonored by a silent protest at a professional football game. What would happen if the systemic oppression of minorities through privately owned prisons with state mandated minimums caused as much disdain as a peaceful protest? What if the chronically inferior educational resources that are thrust upon the poor drew headlines like the ones kneeling during the National anthem get? If the unequal sentencing of minorities created by the war on drugs caused the same uproar and discord in “patriots” as Kaepernick’s gestures, this country could unify and progress towards an era when everyone could expect equality. But, in 2017, when America is great again, equality is only for the majority.
Colin Kaepernick’s non-violent protest of social injustices at a recreational event drew the ire of literally millions of fans around the nation. These people called Kaepernick’s protest an abomination last year, and the football players who followed his lead in peaceful protest this year were called “sons of bitches” by the President of the United States. And yet, the people of this nation disregard the language of the leader of the free world, dismiss the point of the protest, and say that the protest is disrespectful and distasteful. They question Kaepernick’s class, his work ethic, and his patriotism instead of listening to his plea. This protest has proven that Americans care more about preserving a symbol of freedom than preserving the lives and liberties of its actual citizens. The message that unarmed Black men being killed by peace officers is clear, and that message is an affront on American ideals. Government was created to serve the citizens of this country. But, our leadership has perversed the purpose of our courts so horribly that the American judicial system works as a farming system for free labor rather than a system of checks and balances to keep order within its jurisdiction. And, the American people are so willfully ignorant or ignominiously hateful that they continue to allow minorities to be imprisoned and killed by the leaders of their country. Somehow, men and women being murdered by police is less obscene than a man quietly taking a knee during the national anthem. And, that is the abomination.
The act of kneeling during the playing of the National anthem was not meant to dishonor the flag. Colin Kaepernick actually talked to a veteran about his original protest which was remaining seated during the anthem, and settled on taking a knee at the veteran’s request. Soldiers kneel to honor their fallen, and his kneeling should be seen as an ode to the unarmed victims of police brutality. Kaepernick kneels for the dead who have no voice. He kneels for the incarcerated who lost their rights once they were imprisoned. Colin Kaepernick has not disgraced the flag with his actions, and has not attacked American statutes with this protest. Colin Kaepernick is a hero and a patriot who took a stand against the social injustices that most Americans ignore.