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Colin Kaepernick and the Fight Against Injustice

Updated on September 22, 2016
Colin Kaepernick kneels for anthem
Colin Kaepernick kneels for anthem | Source

Colin Kaepernick and the Fight Against Injustice

Colin Kaepernick ignited a firestorm recently by refusing to stand for the national anthem as a silent protest against the oppression of people of color in the United States of America. While this is not a new concept, what is even more telling is the backlash he is receiving. He is being ridiculed, his jersey set on fire and is the subject of scorn across the country. But let's examine the real issues.

Colin Kaepernick has every right to protest. The beauty of this country is you can speak out against the government without fear of being jail and/or murdered. Mr. Kaepernick is exercising this freedom. It is not up to you or me to determine how he should convey his message.

If you are more upset about his protest than you are about the rampant police brutality in this nation (particularly against people of color), then you are part of the problem. Contrary to popular belief, the existence of black on black crime does not excuse police brutality. It is not impossible to respect police officers and the jobs they do to protect us while also criticizing them when it is deserved. It is this mythological ascension of police officers that cause frustration and hopelessness against the very people who are being oppressed. Here is a newsflash people; not every police officer is an honorable human being. It is a profession ripe for misconduct and corruption and when that misconduct and corruption is exposed, it should be prosecuted to the fullest extent.

Secondly, the "Star Spangled Banner" has some racist elements. It originally was a poem written by a slave-owner, named Francis Scott Key, who advocated for killing slaves in the little known third stanza. This verse states:

No refuge could save the hireling and slave

from the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave

and the Star Spangled Banner in triumph doth wave

o'er the land of the free and the home of the brave

You should also keep in mind that Key was an anti-abolitionist. Although he did represent several slaves in court who were seeking their freedom, at his root, he was a strong opponent of the anti-slavery movement.

This country has a long, complicated and often adversarial relationship with people of color, particularly African-Americans. From slavery to Jim Crow to lynchings to mortgage discrimination to police brutality to double standards in the Justice System, minorities have often been oppressed. And when you attempt to talk about these issues, some people (mostly white conservatives) try to use black on black crime or affirmative action as the real culprit of oppression. Well sorry folks, those tactics are as transparent as the lack of transparency occurring in police departments. The very same police department who is asking for an apology (SFPD) was recently embroiled in controversy because their officers were caught sending racist texts. Talk about irony.

Last but definitely not least, people are in a tizzy about Colin Kaepernick because they think his stance is disrespectful to the brave men and women who have served or currently serve in our military. However, this ideology is just not true. Mr. Kaepernick went out of his way to show respect to the military and specifically stated his stand was not against them. If you want to be brutally honest, this government does not uphold its end of the bargain for minorities when it comes to our military either. According to NCHU.org, roughly 45% of homeless veterans are African-American or Hispanic, despite only accounting for 10.4% and 3.4% of the U.S veteran population, respectively. If you are more outraged at Colin Kaepernick sitting for the national anthem than you are at those figures then you need to take a long hard look at yourself.

Many of the points Colin Kaepernick makes have merit. Whether or not you agree with his methods, it should be understood the words he speaks are true. Do not lose the message by focusing on the delivery. Before you can find a solution, you have to admit there is a problem. Activism is not about taking meek actions; it is about boldly moving forward and making sure your voice is heard. Colin Kaepernick wanted to start a discussion about inequality and oppression. I would consider his mission a success.


-David J. Ramos

© 2016 David Ramos

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    • mio cid profile image

      mio cid 12 months ago from Uruguay

      Colin Kaepernick not only has the right to protest peacefully in any way he sees fit he has the moral obligation to speak loudly for those whose voice is considered irrelevant or simply ignored,the weakest in our society,the poor ,the discriminated against.

    • DavidRam0s profile image
      Author

      David Ramos 12 months ago from Bronx,NY

      That's the whole point, Kathleen. There are some people who will lose the message no matter what avenue is used. I believe it was MLK who said in A Letter from a Birmingham Jail, "You deplore the demonstrations taking place in Birmingham. But your statement, I am sorry to say, fails to express a similar concern for the conditions that brought about the demonstrations." Also, since he is an athlete does that mean he should not use his voice or feel empathy for others who may be less fortunate?

    • Kathleen Cochran profile image

      Kathleen Cochran 12 months ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      He wanted to bring attention to this issue. He certainly did that. But to be effective, he should have chosen a vehicle for his message that didn't evoke so much hostility. His message has gotten lost in the noise. His efforts would have been more effective if he hadn't taken such an offensive method of gaining attention. And how many people are going to listen to complaints against a society that the person protesting has so benefited from?

    • wrenchBiscuit profile image

      Ronnie wrenchBiscuit 12 months ago

      Thanks for posting this. The majority of Americans, regardless of race, have no idea about the hidden verse. It's called "ignorance", and it is ignorance due to a lack of education, and the American preoccupation with style (money) over substance (knowledge). There is no shortage of racists, and vendidos on Hubpages . This is why I like it here. It is more fun than shooing ducks at the county fair.