Why It's Ridiculous That Kaepernick's Anthem Protest Is Being Criticized

Why It's Ridiculous That Kaepernick's Anthem Protest Is Being Criticized

It's not about disrespect, it's about the rampant inequality that has gone unaddressed in our country.
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San Francisco 49ers' quarterback Colin Kaepernick has been protesting institutional racism against African Americans and other minorities in America with a simple act: sitting down during the national anthem. In solidarity, other athletes across the country have used their platforms on the national stage to start an honest discussion about racial inequality in the United States. Athletes like 49ers' Eric Reid, Seattle Reign midfielder Megan Rapinoe, Marcus Peters and the Kansas City Chiefs, Jeremy Lane and the Seattle Seahawks, Brandon Marshall of the Denver Broncos, Devin McCourty and Martellus Bennett of the New England Patriots, Jelani Jenkins, Arian Foster, Michael Thomas, and Kenny Stills, of the Miami Dolphins, Jurrell Casey, Wesley Woodyard and Jason McCourty of the Tennessee Titans, Robert Quinn and Kenny Britt of the Los Angeles Rams, and numerous members of college and high school football teams have joined the protest. They are reaching a really large audience, sports fans of football and soccer that might not otherwise be exposed to an honest conversation about race and inequality.

In a time where two time Team USA Olympian Gabby Douglas was viciously criticized for not having her hand over her heart, but still standing up and paying attention to the flag during the national anthem, we need the protest that Kaepernick started. Juxtaposed with the initial response to Ryan Lochte's vandalism, it is important that we have a conversation about racial prejudice. Gabby Douglass was criticized about an unconscious action to the point where she was avoiding all social media. Keep in mind she is a 20 year old who has won gold for America. And yet, when news of the whole Lochte debacle broke out, a lot of people were quick to not hold him accountable and called him, a 32 year old, a kid. American society is rife with interpersonal racism like the situation with Douglas but what's even more concerning is hidden institutional racism. Institutional racism is the systemic disadvantaging of certain groups by structures in society.

In a world where celebrities are criticized for not commenting on real issues, Kaepernick and his supporters have opened up an important discussion. Yet, these celebrities who are bringing up valid points about the inequality present in the status quo are still facing criticism.

"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 told NFL media in an exclusive interview after the game. "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."

Previous protests about POC being oppressed by groups like Black Lives Matter have faced severe backlash for their unconventional ways of captivating the nation's attention (like shutting down the Bay Bridge) to discuss problems like racial profiling and police brutality against African Americans. Kaepernick is similarly on a national stage as he continues his silent but bold protest. Both tactics are accomplishing the same goal of raising awareness about the conditions minorities face in America. And yet the same people who criticized BLM for being loud and disruptive are also criticizing Kaepernick for protesting in a much more non-disruptive manner. Kaepernick's refusal to stand for the anthem, a symbol of centuries of oppression, isn't unlike the sit-in protests of the civil rights movement in the 1960s; the times have changed and racism has changed along with it.

People are getting angry about the act of protesting, claiming that it is disrespectful and not fair to veterans. But at least he and the others are acting and doing something about it. If people are so concerned about the well-being of veterans, they should learn about how they can help veterans with PTSD readjust to civilian lives. They should do something, not disparage the actions of another trying to bring attention to a cause he cares deeply about. To all the people who are criticizing Kaepernick, why not spend time to learn about why he is protesting.

Kaepernick himself said that he has thought about going public with his feelings for a while but that "I felt that I needed to understand the situation better."

Why not support a different cause? Unless the criticism is constructive, it's not helping anyone. It is more disrespectful to millions of Americans to not recognize the struggles this country faces. Institutional racism and inequality in America are major problems that affect all members of society. So don't criticize Kaepernick. He is well within the right to freedom of speech and is supporting his cause in a completely selfless manner.

"I am not looking for approval. I have to stand up for people that are oppressed. ... If they take football away, my endorsements from me, I know that I stood up for what is right." -Colin Kaepernick
Cover Image Credit: ABC News

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​An Open Letter To The People Who Don’t Tip Their Servers

This one's for you.
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Dear Person Who Has No Idea How Much The 0 In The “Tip:" Line Matters,

I want to by asking you a simple question: Why?

Is it because you can't afford it? Is it because you are blind to the fact that the tip you leave is how the waiter/waitress serving you is making their living? Is it because you're just lazy and you “don't feel like it"?

Is it because you think that, while taking care of not only your table but at least three to five others, they took too long bringing you that side of ranch dressing? Or is it just because you're unaware that as a server these people make $2.85 an hour plus TIPS?

The average waiter/waitress is only supposed to be paid $2.13 an hour plus tips according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

That then leaves the waiter/waitress with a paycheck with the numbers **$0.00** and the words “Not a real paycheck." stamped on it. Therefore these men and women completely rely on the tips they make during the week to pay their bills.

So, with that being said, I have a few words for those of you who are ignorant enough to leave without leaving a few dollars in the “tip:" line.

Imagine if you go to work, the night starts off slow, then almost like a bomb went off the entire workplace is chaotic and you can't seem to find a minute to stop and breathe, let alone think about what to do next.

Imagine that you are helping a total of six different groups of people at one time, with each group containing two to 10 people.

Imagine that you are working your ass off to make sure that these customers have the best experience possible. Then you cash them out, you hand them a pen and a receipt, say “Thank you so much! It was a pleasure serving you, have a great day!"

Imagine you walk away to attempt to start one of the 17 other things you need to complete, watch as the group you just thanked leaves, and maybe even wave goodbye.

Imagine you are cleaning up the mess that they have so kindly left behind, you look down at the receipt and realize there's a sad face on the tip line of a $24.83 bill.

Imagine how devastated you feel knowing that you helped these people as much as you could just to have them throw water on the fire you need to complete the night.

Now, realize that whenever you decide not to tip your waitress, this is nine out of 10 times what they go through. I cannot stress enough how important it is for people to realize that this is someone's profession — whether they are a college student, a single mother working their second job of the day, a new dad who needs to pay off the loan he needed to take out to get a safer car for his child, your friend, your mom, your dad, your sister, your brother, you.

If you cannot afford to tip, do not come out to eat. If you cannot afford the three alcoholic drinks you gulped down, plus your food and a tip do not come out to eat.

If you cannot afford the $10 wings that become half-off on Tuesdays plus that water you asked for, do not come out to eat.

If you cannot see that the person in front of you is working their best to accommodate you, while trying to do the same for the other five tables around you, do not come out to eat. If you cannot realize that the man or woman in front of you is a real person, with their own personal lives and problems and that maybe these problems have led them to be the reason they are standing in front of you, then do not come out to eat.

As a server myself, it kills me to see the people around me being deprived of the money that they were supposed to earn. It kills me to see the three dollars you left on a $40 bill. It kills me that you cannot stand to put yourself in our shoes — as if you're better than us. I wonder if you realize that you single-handedly ruined part of our nights.

I wonder if maybe one day you will be in our shoes, and I hope to God no one treats you how you have treated us. But if they do, then maybe you'll realize how we felt when you left no tip after we gave you our time.

Cover Image Credit: Hailea Shallock

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The Heart Of A Champion: Tiger Woods

Tiger Woods inspires millions with fifth Masters title and the comeback of a lifetime.

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Tiger Woods. What do you think of when you hear that name?

For me, it is golf, champion, goat. Tiger Woods rose to success and won his first masters in 1997. The hunt was on, and the mission, be the best golfer the of all time. But Tiger's story started long before the 1997 masters it began as a toddler learning the basics of golf from his father at the ripe young age of 3 years old.

At that age, Tiger had one dream. Become a better golfer than Jack Nicklaus. With this win in 1997 Tiger began his quest to be the greatest of all time. He picked up back to back masters wins in 2001 and 2002 and a fourth in 2005 tying that of famed golfer Arnold Palmer. Along the way, he picked up 14 major championships as captivated audiences everywhere. Tiger put golf on the map in the 2000s and brought new energy and a new attitude towards the game.

Suddenly at the pinnacle of Tiger's success and as many thought, he would soon surpass Jack Nicklaus tragedy struck. On Thanksgiving of 2009, Tiger was in a car accident that was caused in part by his wife discovering that he had been cheating on her. This was only the beginning for Tiger's downward spiral. As more and more mistresses came out claiming to have slept with the golfer and being caught driving under the influence, his reputation and image continued to be tarnished.

When Tiger finally returned to golfing he just was not the same.

He lacked passion, excitement enthusiasm. He was just plain bad. He missed putts, drove balls into the woods and was facing competition tougher than ever. He was among a host of new faces in the PGA. Professionals that had grown up inspired by Tiger and not afraid to challenge him. Tiger would go on an eleven-year drought without winning a single major competition and had many believing Tiger would never return to the dominance he once held. With numerous nagging injuries, it seemed that all hope for Tiger's return and his lifelong goal of beating Jack Nicklaus and becoming the best golfer in history seemed utterly unattainable.

However, after five years winless in PGA tours, in September of 2018, Tiger wings a tour and had many speculators wondering if Tiger was on his return. Tiger went into Augusta this past weekend at 12th in the world and from the beginning of the tour on Thursday all eyes were on Tiger. He seemed laser focused and played with a determination we had not seen from Tiger in over a decade.

As the final round on Sunday approached Tiger had placed himself in the running tied for second place. Sunday it was Tiger's day. He came dressed in the classic red shirt that he wears on every Sunday at the Masters and there was a feeling that it was Tiger's show. Sunday he came in poised and determined to win and played with a passion that only Tiger has. He was gaining roars from the crowd with each stroke. Finally, after 11 years Tiger had done it. He won his fifth masters only one behind Jack Nicklaus and first major in 11 years.

On Sunday Tiger taught us to never give up on a dream and that through adversity and hard times you that through hard work and dedication you can still be the best.

Battling through the injuries, the scrutiny and the tarnished reputation Tiger was able to once again inspire millions and show that we are all humans we all make mistakes and he taught us to apologize for our mistakes, learn from them, make you better and that everyone deserves a second chance because nobody is perfect but through hard work, determination, the drive to never give up and having passion for what you do and understanding that you do make mistakes and how you learn from them showed millions of fans young and old that you can do anything you set your mind to.

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