Author: Nick Fox of Butler University
No, Colin Kaepernick is not a jerk, he is a not a dick, he is not an asshole, he is not a racist, he does not hate the United States, the other NFL players’ problems have nothing to do with him and he is not a “bandwagoning” activist. Just because you are citizen of the United States, does not mean you must agree with its values. The right to freedom of speech and to petition for a governmental redress of grievances literally gives US citizens the right to do just that. “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.” This is a snippet of Colin Kaepernick’s statement on his reasoning behind not standing for the national anthem. His comments have caused media outlets to explode and people such as the infamous Tomi Lahren to fabricate messages in their attempts to repress a man who has decided to use his stage as an athlete to bring awareness to a topic that most black people and people of color are all too familiar with or the disgraceful Rodney Harrison to make comments such as “Kaepernick is not black.” Before going in depth with this topic, I want to say that first; Colin Kaepernick never blamed white people in his reasoning for not supporting the national anthem, Colin Kaepernick is an avid donator to various charities such as Camp Taylor, and finally, this is not Colin Kaepernick’s first time expressing his views on the social injustices that continue to hinder our country (check his social media if you need proof of such). Colin Kaepernick’s biracial background or how much money he makes as an NFL quarterback are both so utterly irrelevant to this conversation that even mentioning either of the two should disqualify you from speaking for an extended period of time. What kind of car he drives does not stop him from facing the same prejudices that any other black male would and what his bank account looks like certainly won’t either. If anything, we should be applauding a man who is well off and has no reason to enter this realm of social issues that we are dealing with today. So let’s breakdown his statement bit by bit to see what the fuss is all about:
- “I am not going to stand and show pride in a flag”
As I mentioned before, there is no law or statute that forces any person to salute the US flag or the national anthem, in fact the constitution allows a person to disrespect the flag in various ways and allows them to disagree with the US as a whole; that is the true beauty of freedom. You don’t get to use the term freedom and also choose what can be freely said. Freedom is free ranging and just because you disagree doesn’t make that freedom inaccurate.
- “for a country that oppresses black people and people of color”
If you don’t believe that black people face oppression you are a fool, simple as that. Numerous studies on things such as educational discrepancies, lending discrepancies, racial profiling, housing discrepancies, mass incarceration, etc statistically show that blacks face injustices on a daily basis. Black people are not just making these things up! Inordinate acts of injustice have happened, they are happening and will continue to happen until more people in places of power and influence such as Colin Kaepernick, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, Dwayne Wade and Lebron James continue to stand up for what is right.
Never forget that the very national anthem that you may cherish and love so dearly has two more stanzas after the two that are traditionally performed at the beginning of sporting events. The third stanza of the song, written by your oh so beloved slave owning racist, Francis Scott Key, reads, “A home and a Country should leave us no more? Their blood has wash’d out their foul footsteps pollution. No refuge could save the hireling and slave from the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave…” In this snippet from the third stanza, Key is literally celebrating the death of slaves and “hirelings” that fought for their freedom. Is this something that you still believe is worth standing for?
While I do stand for the national anthem, I stopped raising my hand and singing along with the anthem years ago because I knew that there were things in this country that I felt still hadn’t been fixed even after so many years. I want to end this argument by extended my utmost praise and a voluminous THANK YOU to Colin Kaepernick for using his platform to not only spread awareness via social media, but to be vocal about it also. On a final note, when a black athlete makes a comment in favor of America as a whole, everyone loves them and attempts to hoist them up on a pedestal, but if a black athlete disagrees with America they become a “racist” or they “need to leave then.” These responses just prove the points of people like Colin Kaepernick that America is only “the Land of the free and home of the brave,” for certain people, but WE have the power to change that.