I found myself at lunch with my friends, talking about whatever was going on in our lives. To the side, a television was playing sports news. Naturally, the hot topic of the day was the recent surge in players across the country taking a knee or sitting down during the National Anthem. We turned our conversation to talking about this ongoing debate in our country.
President Trump went on a Twitter rant criticizing those who chose to participate in this protest. While it’s highly unlikely that Trump will read this article, I still stand by my beliefs.
Honestly, this whole debate is completely blown-up for no good reason. These are people who are protesting the racial injustices that have been ongoing in this country for significantly longer than they should have. These players, and anyone who supports them, are not in any way disrespecting the flag, or our country. They are silently protesting in a way that does not directly influence what someone else does. They aren’t going around, yelling, forcing people to sit down in their chairs.
Our nation is so prideful of our flag and our national anthem that if someone chooses not to participate, then all hell breaks loose. People can’t stand the thought of someone “disrespecting the country” and all that America stands for. Well, right now, America isn’t doing too great for all of its people. Too many people are dying every day as a result of racial prejudices and injustices that can make it difficult to truly be proud of what our country is.
I’m not saying that America is the worst place to live in. I understand that there are other countries in the world with a situation completely different than mine. I recognize, too, my privilege as not being a black person in our society today, as they are the people most targeted and discriminated against. But the thing is, other people don’t. While they can sit comfortably in their car as they get pulled over, others might be fearing for their lives. If they see a cop driving by as they walk alone at night, they can feel safe and protected while others start sweating because one false move could lead to getting shot.
They aren’t the ones targeted if people wear swastikas and preach about white supremacy.
This country has issues it needs to fix, and taking a knee is one way for people to peacefully protest and bring light to what they believe in. It’s no surprise that no one is ever satisfied with how people protest: If they’re in the streets, it’s too violent. If it’s a rally, it’s too distracting to others. If it’s taking a knee, it’s hating everything in the country.
Some people believe that this is something that has been going on simply as a result of Trump being elected, when that’s just not true. Colin Kaepernick first kneeled during the National Anthem before Trump was even elected. Explain to me then how this is a result of Trump.
I am in solidarity with those who choose to sit or kneel during the Anthem. This country is not a place with equal opportunities for everyone, and I fully support those who participate in the protest. Taking a knee is a peaceful protest and doesn’t harm anyone.
People often bring up how not standing during the National Anthem is a sign of disrespect to the veterans who fought for our country. The point I’d like to make is that they fought for equal rights for everyone.
This includes the right to protest.
This includes the right to state what’s on your mind.
This includes the right to take a knee.