Colin Kaepernick was first noticed NOT standing for the National Anthem before games the SECOND time he did it. When asked, he gave a perfectly logical reason for exercising his 1st Amendment rights. He was protesting the inequality and injustice that had been the result of repeated acts of police brutality and deaths of unarmed citizens. He was protesting the lack of accountability the justice system had shown to those who abused their authority. It was all made very clear.
But this was nothing new. Hell, it wasn’t even the latest version of what has been a struggle for over a century and a half after being “given” freedom. The belief that the values and rights that were written into the founding document of this nation would now apply to the freed slaves. Despite centuries of abuse, rape, exploitation, murder, and injustice….. these men and women BELIEVED in those promises that are spelled out in the Constitution. Those ideals that apply across humanity that the best of mankind is worth striving for. So in spite of Jim Crow Segregation, “separate but equal”, domestic terrorrism of lynchings, the destruction of prosperous society, continued denial of basic rights such as voting rights and property rights, Freed Black men and women and their descendents CONTINUED to fight for INCLUSION into this great society.
That fight has taken countless forms over the years. It’s gone through the appropriate channels of government, it’s gone to court, it’s been in the public square. The desire of our blessed franchise has taken us in front of dogs and fire hoses. It has taken us to stop clubs with our arms, legs, and faces. It has given us the strength to build and rebuild. It has required us to willingly endure some of the most indescribable public humiliation. This fight has led us to the grave. Yet through all the pain, heartache and sacrifice….. we fight on for our rightful piece of the pie.
Taking a knee for the National Anthem is just the latest way that Black American’s and supporters of justice and equality are trying to point out the injustice that exists. It’s the latest way people are simply asking to be down with the home team. When Rosa sat in the front of the bus, she was disrespectful. When Martin Luther King lead marches in the 60’s, he was a trouble maker. When Kennedy sent National Guard in so that a little girl could go to school, it was so disrespectful. When students sat down at a lunch counter, they were called names and assaulted. It wasn’t until White America was made so uncomfortable with the images of dogs and horses and beatings on Bloody Sunday that we got movement towards the Civil Rights act. Progress and change towards a blind fulfillment of the American Promise has NEVER come from the “kindhearted goodness” of the “majority. It has only come from making people SO uncomfortable that the disrespect and fear and indignity of daily life in America as a minority also affects THEM to the point of action.
I’ve read dozens of people on my social call for unity. Well you’ve had years and year and years of people telling you WHY we don’t have it. Why it is frustrating and dangerous and at times humiliating to be a certain kind of American in America. We want to be able to look at that flag and not only see, but BELIEVE in what it stands for because those ideals are not just figurative, but literal. We’ve asked to be Americans just like you. to feel that sense of pride and ownership and belonging that you do. We want to experience the sense of home that you tell us about every chance you get when we “disrespect” your comfort. What do we need to do to get a final answer. We’ve tried every way we can think of…… well almost.