Over the past few weeks or so, there has been a lot of controversy on Colin Kaepernick's decision to kneel during the National Anthem. He has stirred up quite a storm in our society. Ultimately, most people are either extremely disgusted with his actions or they completely stand with him.
Incase you are out of the loop or haven't been keeping up with this story, I'll give you a quick run down of what has been happening. Colin Kaepernick is a professional quarterback for the Nation Football League. He plays for the San Francisco 49ers. At their third preseason game against the Green Bay Packers, the media and public noticed that Colin Kaepernick was not standing during the National Anthem. As you can imagine, this became a huge debate throughout the country. Kaepernick is protesting the discrimination against African Americans and other minorities in the United States. In an interview with NFL media, Kaepernick states, "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 has decided to join forces with other athletes who are trying to raise awareness of this issue as well.
I've been reading a lot on what everyone has to say about Kapernick's actions and how it's going to affect his future. But Kaepernick has explicitly stated that he doesn't care what happens, as long as he believes that he is standing up for what is right. And that got me to thinking: I can completely see where he is coming from, but I also do not entirely agree with him.
Why I see where he's coming from.
If you don't know me, I am biracial. My father is black and my mother is white. Growing up, I never had many issues with my race or the color of my skin, but by the time high school rolled around, things changed. There were events that unfolded at my high school that were unfortunate and quickly got out of hand. I think that's when it really hit me; racism still exists in this country, in our cities, in our schools. Whether you believe it or not, people are racist. People are also sexist, homophobic, etc. I know, I know, it's hard to believe and you may be saying to yourself, "Well I'm not racist, and no one I know is," but then may be you've never really opened your eyes to notice it.
With all the tragedies of police shootings and consequently the riots that follow, I don't blame Colin Kaepernick for being disgusted with our country. It is a disgrace and I don't think anyone is proud of it. I am a Criminal Justice major and sometimes people look at me funny and smirk and ask me if I want to be a cop. Honestly, I do not, but sometimes I think maybe I should be because we need more police officers with moral integrity who won't cave into stereotypes and in turn take inappropriate actions. Moreover, a whole half of my family is black. A whole half of me is black. I don't like what's going on in this country. In fact, it makes me sick. Those men and young boys who have been shot and killed, no longer have a chance to live their lives. And that could of been my dad, brother, uncle or grandfather. There has been so many people before us who have fought for our freedom, like Rosa Parks, Harriet Tubman, Martin Luther King Jr., Frederick Douglass and Susan B. Anthony. So why do we still feel oppressed?
Why I disagree with where he's coming from.
Colin Kaepernick believes kneeling for the National Anthem is going to change what is happening, but I think that's where he has it wrong. I understand him and all of the other athletes who believe it is their freedom to kneel, sit or do whatever, but that's besides the point. We sing and stand for the National Anthem to show support and gratitude for those who have fought hard and even died for our freedom. I know many people who are serving in the military or have previously served. My best friend's brother was in the Marines. I currently have friends who are at basic training to train and prepare to protect our country.
I understand that he is trying to prove a point and stand up for what he believes, but I speculate that there are other ways for him to do so. And that's not by disrespecting the flag and our troops who have risked their lives to fight for us. Regardless of what type of treatment minorities receive here, we wouldn't be able to be here, living the "American Dream" without the freedom that our troops have fought for. So the least we can do is stand and honor their courage and bravery while we sing the National Anthem of our country.
The sad truth of it all, is that life is not fair. Life will never be fair. There will always be majorities and minorities. Whether it's race, gender, sexual orientation or even political parties. By no means am I saying that minorities deserve to be treated wrongly, but that we must continue fighting. We must fight the good fight, the right way. Stand for what we believe, no matter what the circumstances. But we also must stand together, united as one and say 'thank you' to our troops. We wouldn't be where we are today without them. Ultimately, everyone in this country, better yet, everyone in this world wants to be treated equally. I believe we've come a long way. But I know in the back of my mind, we will be fighting for equality for generations to come. We must fight like everyone who has fought before us, soldier and civil rights leader alike. We must fight for our children, and our children's children. This topic isn't black and white and it's not easy. But it's worth fighting for.