Amidst a plague of social injustice, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick refused to stand during the national anthem and instead kneeled on the sidelines. This prompted backlash from many on social media.
Among them was “Final Thoughts” host and conservative Tomi Lahren, who continually used a ‘straw man’ argument to say that Kaepernick doesn’t support white members of the community.
I have a problem with this because not once did Kaepernick say he hates white people for oppressing the black community. The only thing Kaepernick did was express his rights and bring attention to the racial injustice that, far too often, is forgotten after it’s no longer a timely news story.
People who hide their racism in a blanket of “patriotism” and nationalism are beyond ignorant. What is more unpatriotic is the fact that the Santa Clara Police Union threatened to not work at Levi’s Stadium unless the 49ers made Kaepernick stand for the anthem.
They took an oath to protect and serve, so why does someone exercising their First Amendment right become so problematic that they are willing to risk people’s safety?
It baffles me that this small act of protest received such aggravated opposition. I respect Kaepernick for doing something most people with such a platform are afraid to do.
I’m glad to see other athletes stand behind Kaepernick, like 49ers teammate Eric Reid and soccer player Megan Rapinoe, as it gives more validation and reason to talk about the issues at hand.
If it wasn’t for Kaepernick and these brave people who risk public defamation, I’m afraid these incidents, such as the killing of Eric Garner or Oscar Grant, would continue to be swept under the rug.
This means that the middle class family who retreats to their suburban bubble of ignorance can do so no longer.
Instead, they are forced to sit down and come face-to-face with a real problem that troubles the United States.
Countless other celebrities have also tried to bring to the issue forefront of the media. For example, Beyoncé received backlash for a Super Bowl performance and music video that defied police and stood to shock families who aren’t used to artists actually standing for something.
I can understand artists not wanting to lose fans because of political alignments, but there’s a certain point where you have to say that enough is enough and start talking about the stuff plaguing our country.
Kaepernick’s protest is far less dramatic than Beyoncé’s, but serves the same purpose. Hopefully people will begin to speak out about racial injustice and the overall violence in this nation.
After Kaepernick’s first protest, he called Trump openly racist and since Trump never lets anything slide without a rebuttal, he told the quarterback to find a new country. Honestly, I didn’t expect anything less from the old sleazebag. He fights to keep up with Hillary in the polls and will say anything to keep himself in the media spotlight.
When will people like Trump and Lahren realize that Kaepernick just wants a country that respects everyone? As cliché as it sounds, that’s all the man is fighting for. It’s hard to believe that in 2016 we still have to force national dialogues about race and freedom.
It’s a stark reminder that few significant strides have been made to spurn racism and the people who preach it.
Education is a major key because children who are impressionable may see the type of trash Trump or Lahren or anyone on Fox News spews and take it completely as fact. People may grow up believing this, or the racist rubbish they are force fed by their parents who were fed the same stuff.
It’s a disgusting cycle that needs to be broken and I know that kneeling for an anthem isn’t a solution, but I hope that it may lead to one. I’m fed up with the way this country time and time again forgets tragedies, like Philando Castile or Tamir Rice, and goes back to their happy suburban life with their nuclear family.
There’s a dire need for change. The sooner it happens, the sooner people like Kaepernick and Rapinoe can stand proudly once again for the national anthem and the country that is truly the “Home of the Free”.