NFL Players Have Nothing Against The Flag, Just Like Rosa Parks Had Nothing Against Buses

NFL Players Have Nothing Against The Flag, Just Like Rosa Parks Had Nothing Against Buses

Our nation levies accusations of being anti-military and anti-country in order to distract from the heinous injustices carried out by our State

On December 1, 1955, Rosa Parks refused to move to the back of the bus when the driver tried to force her to give up her seat for a white person.

Do you think she protested in such a way because public buses were the problem? Do you think she had a vendetta against public transportation?

No? I didn't think so.

So why does anyone think that NFL players hate the flag, the military, or our country because they kneel during the national anthem?

Ever since Colin Kaepernick first sat down on a bench during this country's precious national anthem last preseason, he has been riddled with accusations that he hates our country and our military and that he is, above all else, "disrespectful" and "ungrateful."

Rather than focus on the injustices Kaepernick tried to bring to light, people of many political bents decided to instead denigrate him and his means of protesting because, as I have written on this platform before, we do not like to examine our country's unjust transgressions. We prefer to hide from our shame behind false patriotism and a supposed "love of our troops."

If people were truly upset by the supposed "disrespect toward the flag," where were they when Houston Astros players celebrated a playoff victory by pouring alcohol all over someone wearing an American flag speedo bottom?

Where are they when people wear the flag as clothing? Where are they when the NFL unfolds a massive American flag horizontally during the anthem? Where are they when companies trot out the American flag in order to sell their products and profit off of our blind patriotism?

All of these things are, unlike kneeling during the national anthem, listed as being disrespectful to the flag in the official US Flag Code.

So it seems that there is only a false concern about respect for our flag.

This sense that Kaepernick is being "disrespectful" is just a mere dog-whistle implying that black people in America need to stay in line and not question societal order.

Those opposed to Kaepernick are not opposed to him because of the manner in which he is protesting, they are opposed to him because they are so consumed with their blind nationalism they are not willing or able to see faults in our nation's treatment of its citizens. As Ta-Nehisi Coates pointed out in "The Atlantic," civil rights protests have never been popular (and they never will be).

Far from truly caring about military personnel and veterans in this country, those opposed to Kaepernick and his messaging are instead using them as political props, pawns to be used to propagate their rose-colored-glasses view of this country.

Why else would conservatives deride Colin Kaepernick while voting for legislation that would hurt veterans in their healthcare and mental health treatment?

The saddest part of all of this shameful, embarrassing politicization of what is nothing more than a peaceful protest of a serious problem is that it's working. No one nowadays is talking about the underlying issues which Kaepernick and others like him are protesting.

Instead, they're talking about the national anthem and disrespect and our president's inane and irresponsible tweets.

Much has been made about how much President Trump has tweeted and spoken about the NFL protests vs. how much he has tweeted and spoken about the disastrous humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico.

Meanwhile, just last week an internal "investigation" came to the conclusion that officers were justified in fatally shooting –– on video –– an unarmed black man in the back as he was running away because of the danger he posed to them.

He was running away, his back was turned. The only "threat" he posed was in the pigment of his skin. But people aren't talking about him. They're talking about Trump.

This is why Colin Kaepernick protested. This is why something needs to change. Instead of worrying about how an athlete peacefully poses during the playing of a song to which most Americans don't even know the words, maybe people should be wondering how black people keep getting killed in cold blood on video with nothing being done.

Cover Image Credit: Wikimedia

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To The Person Who Feels Suicidal But Doesn't Want To Die

Suicidal thoughts are not black and white.

Everyone assumes that if you have suicidal thoughts that means you want to die.

From an outside perspective, suicidal thoughts are rarely looked into deeper than the surface level. Either you have suicidal thoughts and you want to die, or you don't have suicidal thoughts and you want to live. What most people don't understand is that people live in between those two statements, I for one am one of them.

I've had suicidal thoughts since I was a kid.

My first recollection of it was when I came home after school one day and got in trouble, and while I was just sitting in the dining room I kept thinking, “I wonder what it would be like to take a knife from the kitchen and just shove it into my stomach." I didn't want to die, or even hurt myself for that matter. But those thoughts haven't stopped since.

I've thought about going into the bathroom and taking every single pill I could find and just drifting to sleep and never waking back up, I've thought about hurting myself to take the pain away, just a few days ago on my way to work I thought about driving my car straight into a tree. But I didn't. Why? Because even though that urge was so strong, I didn't want to die. I still don't, I don't want my life to end.

I don't think I've ever told anyone about these feelings. I don't want others to worry because the first thing anyone thinks when you tell them you have thoughts about hurting or killing yourself is that you're absolutely going to do it and they begin to panic. Yes, I have suicidal thoughts, but I don't want to die.

It's a confusing feeling, it's a scary feeling.

When the depression takes over you feel like you aren't in control. It's like you're drowning.

Every bad memory, every single thing that hurt you, every bad thing you've ever done comes back and grabs you by the ankle and drags you back under the water just as you're about the reach the surface. It's suffocating and not being able to do anything about it.

The hardest part is you never know when these thoughts are going to come. Some days you're just so happy and can't believe how good your life is, and the very next day you could be alone in a dark room unable to see because of the tears welling up in your eyes and thinking you'd be better off dead.

You feel alone, you feel like a burden to everyone around you, you feel like the world would be better off without you. I wish it was something I could just turn off but I can't, no matter how hard I try.

These feelings come in waves.

It feels like you're swimming and the sun is shining and you're having a great time until a wave comes and sucks you under into the darkness of the water. No matter how hard you try to reach the surface again a new wave comes and hits you back under again, and again, and again.

And then it just stops.

But you never know when the next wave is going to come. You never know when you're going to be sucked back under.

I always wondered if I was the only one like this.

It didn't make any sense to me, how did I think about suicide so often but not want to die? But I was thinking about it in black and white, I thought I wasn't allowed to have those feelings since I wasn't going to act on them. But then I read articles much like this one and I realized I'm not the only one. Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, and my feelings are valid.

To everyone who feels this way, you aren't alone.

I thought I was for the longest time, I thought I was the only one who felt this way and I didn't understand how I could feel this way. But please, I implore you to talk to someone, anyone, about the way you're feeling, whether it be a family member, significant other, a friend, a therapist.

My biggest mistake all these years was never telling anyone how I feel in fear that they would either brush me off because “who could be suicidal but not want to die?" or panic and try to commit me to a hospital or something. Writing this article has been the greatest feeling of relief I've felt in a long time, talking about it helps. I know it's scary to tell people how you're feeling, but you're not alone and you don't have to go through this alone.

Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, your feelings are valid, and there are people here for you. You are not alone.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline — 1-800-273-8255

Cover Image Credit: BengaliClicker

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Terrors Behind "Toddlers & Tiaras" - Beauty Pageants Need To Go!

Why Honey Boo Boo is not the girl we should be idolizing...


Honey Boo Boo is famous for her extravagant persona, extreme temper tantrums, overwhelming attitude, and intense sassiness. All of these qualities are shared by many other young girls who participate in beauty pageants - not just in "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo" but also in TLC's notorious "Toddlers & Tiaras," a show that depicts the horrors of little girls who have dedicated their childhood to winning the crown.

These shows, and the pageants they glorify do nothing but force girls to grow up too quickly, send negative messages to viewers and participants and pose health risks for the girls involved.

Therefore, beauty pageants for young girls should be abolished.

The hypersexualization that takes place in these pageants is staggering. Not only are young girls' minds molded into having a superficial view on beauty, but they are also waxed, spray-tanned, given wigs, retouched in pictures, injected with Botox and fillers, and painted with fake abs and even breasts.

Sexy is the goal, not cute. Girls of ages 2-12 wear skimpy clothing, accentuating only their underdeveloped bodies. A 4-year-old girl on "Toddlers and Tiaras" once impersonated Dolly Parton with fake breasts, another dressed as Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman (so basically, a prostitute), and another even pretended to smoke a cigarette to look like Sandy from Grease.

In Venezuela, people are so obsessed with pageants that they send their daughters to "Miss Factories," to train them to win. At these factories, underage girls undergo plastic surgery and hormone therapy to delay puberty in attempts to grow taller. In addition, they often get mesh sewn onto their tongues so that they are physically incapable of eating solid food. This idea of taking horrific measures to look slimmer is not unique to Venezuela. A former Miss USA explained that she would "slather on hemorrhoid ointment, wrap herself up with Saran wrap, and run on a treadmill with an incline for 30 minutes to tighten her skin and waist up." Many countries, including France and Israel have banned child beauty pageants because it is "hypersexualizing." Why has the US yet to follow in their footsteps?

Additionally, the pageants strip their young contestants of a childhood by basically putting them through harsh child labor. Oftentimes, girls as young as 18 months old participate in pageants. There is no way that a girl under 2 years old has the capacity to decide for herself that she wants to participate in a beauty pageant. Not to mention, education often takes a backseat in pageant girls' lives as long practice sessions interfere with sleep and homework. This causes long-term distress for the contestants, including widespread unemployment for former pageant girls.

Moreover, these pageants tie self-worth and self-esteem to attractiveness. They teach girls that natural beauty and intelligence are not enough, when in actuality they should be doing the opposite. In fact, 72% of pageant girls hire coaches to train girls to be more "attractive."

Finally, these pageants pose potent health risks for the girls competing. Not only do intense rehearsals interfere with their sleep cycles, but they are also impacted by the harmful methods taken to keep them awake. One example is Honey Boo Boo's "go go juice" - AKA a mixture of Mountain Dew and Red Bull. She is known for drinking this continuously throughout pageant days to stay awake and energetic - but the health risks associated with the drinks, let alone for such a young girl, are completely ignored.

And, the future health problems associated with pageantry cannot be looked past. Participating in beauty pageants as kids leads to eating disorders, perfectionism, depression - in fact, at least 6% suffer from depression while competing. "The Princess Syndrome," as Psychology Today calls it relates to a small study published in 2005 that showed that former childhood beauty pageant contestants had higher rates of body dissatisfaction. This sense of dissatisfaction can so easily be translated to more severe mental and physical health issues, including depression, anxiety, and eating disorders. The average BMI (Body Mass Index) of a Beauty Contestant in the US in 1930 was 20.8, which is universally in the middle of the "healthy" range. In 2010, it was 16.9, which is considered underweight for anyone.

So, despite the entertainment these shows and pageants provide, they should most definitely be stopped due to the immense amount of issues they cause for those involved and those who watch.

Although Honey Boo Boo is (sadly) considered one of America's sweethearts, her experience in pageantry has certainly not been a positive influence in her life nor in the lives of her fans - and this is the case for nearly all young pageant girls.

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