In the light of the last few years, America has been in some pretty bad places if you ask an American citizen without a strong bias. We’ve seen countries across the world laugh at the United States in wake of the entire 2016 Presidential Election between Hilary Clinton, Donald Trump and Independent parties. We’ve also seen extreme and well constructed protests break out traumatically across the country during spurts of violence, in particular, police violence. In the wake of all this violence has spawned the term #BlackLivesMatter. This term has carried on for many years of recent, to call for equality, equity and justice between blacks as well as other minorities and police officers. While many of the deaths were in question because of video evidence, the rate at which the killings involving minorities are happening are substantial and alarming.
However, the movement and fight for minorities and justice has died down substantially since the Dallas shooting involving police officers. The movement just received another spark; In recent news, San Francisco 49ers Quarterback, Colin Kaepernick , refused to stand for the Star Spangled Banner (The National Anthem of America) during his football game . His reason:
“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” Kaepernick said. “To me, this is bigger than football, and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”
Well played Colin Kaepernick, well played, or was it?
There has been plenty of backlash from many military oriented families as well as players. Many whom have which, voiced their opinion loud and proud stating he was disrespecting the country. To an extent he did disrespect the country, but can it be justified? The following are actual tweets from fans that have been directed toward the 49ers Quarterback.
What makes the following tweets different from each other are some significant points. In the post by Matt, there was a part in which he stated “get the hell out of our country”. To clarify, America is not your country either, unless you are a Native. America came into existence when the Europeans murdered millions of innocent people, infected them with disease and turned many of them into slaves. These same people also kidnapped an entire race, completely different from the natives, dismembered that race from their roots and made them build a civilization in which they could not participate in. That is sure something to stand up for, unless you are Colin Kaepernick. Steven on the other hand addressed Colin Kaepernick in a more respectable manner according to many people. There is no cultural hate here from this individual, it’s about respecting the flag in every aspect of this person’s statements. How can you not agree with someone showing such American pride? So Colin Kaepernick is an idiot based on this American and many others that may feel this way. Even some of his counterparts had to speak out.
Some of Kaepernick’s cohorts and peers in the NFL have come out against him including New York Giant Victor Cruz who said, “Regardless of how you feel about the things that are going on in America today and the things that are going on across the world with gun violence and things of that nature, you’ve got to respect the flag. And you’ve got to stand up with your teammates . . . I think you go up there, you’re with a team and you go and you pledge your allegiance to the flag and you sing the national anthem with your team. And then you go about your business, whatever your beliefs are.”
While Victor Cruz has made significant points, dis Colin Kaepernick disrespect the flag completely or did he make a stand for what he believed the flag should stand for. However, some fans voiced their opinions a little more strongly in which, inadvertently support Kaepernick’s clause.
Here is where the debate gets a little more interesting for people defending Colin Kaepernick and people attempting to correct Colin Kaepernick. There are also more tweets that are also in the direction of Colin Kaepernick but a little more “American” if you ask Colin Kaepernick. In all of these tweets, there is a strong display of American pride. There is also a display of slavery as well, a display of white supremacy and a display of the the very thing Colin Kaepernick was attempting to protest. In all of these tweets, you can see the term “Nigger”. The term describes an ignorant, uneducated, foolish black person and the term was often yelled as slurs during a lynching or killing of black people. There is a slang term black people tend to use amongst themselves which is the word “Nigga”. While these two terms are similar they hold significantly different meanings as you can recognize in the tweets.
Colin Kaepernick also stated “The flag stands for freedom, liberty and justice for all, but it’s not happening for all right now.” He also stated that he will continue his “no-standing” protest until he sees some sort of change happening in America in favor of minorities gaining equality and justice.
Based on these tweets, was Colin Kaepernick’s protest and reasoning justified? Was his protest done correctly? What other avenue could he have taken to give such awareness to this issue of racial inequality in the United States? Is there racial inequality in the United States?
Below is the complete Star Spangled Banner. The bold,italic part is the only part that is classified as the National Anthem for America, the last four verses were not included in the anthem for some remarks in regard to the civil war but were part of the original documentation. The 5th verse was not added until 1861 well after the original but was recognized as being a part of the poem.
[O! say can you see, by the dawn’s early light,
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming,
Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight,
O’er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming?
And the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there;
O! say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?]
On the shore dimly seen through the mists of the deep,
Where the foe’s haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o’er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning’s first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines in the stream:
‘Tis the star-spangled banner, O! long may it wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.
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 washed out their foul footsteps’ 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.
O! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved homes and the war’s desolation.
Blest with vict’ry and peace, may the Heav’n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: ‘In God is our trust.’
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!
When our land is illumined with Liberty’s smile,
If a foe from within strike a blow at her glory,
Down, down with the traitor that dares to defile
The flag of her stars and the page of her story!
By the millions unchained who our birthright have gained,
We will keep her bright blazon forever unstained!
And the Star-Spangled Banner in triumph shall wave
While the land of the free is the home of the brave.