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What are Colin Kaepernick's list of Demands?
So I have done the research and I have listened to all the pundits and all the talking heads and I feel like I know enough about Colin Kaepernick's situation and his kneeling during the anthem to allow me to ask intelligent questions directly to Colin. I'm not sure if this article has the reach to get to him, but if not, please forward it to him and he can message me directly with his responses.
Before I ask the questions I have a thought on the whole matter in itself. Shaquille O'neal asked on his podcast "why now?" He asked why Kaepernick didn't do it last year or the year before. And I think I have an answer to that. I honestly believe that the O.J. Made in America documentary on ESPN sparked a lot of this anger and debate. The first two episodes of that series were almost entirely about the way black people were treated in America in the 80's and 90's and more specifically, by police officers, and more specifically, by white police officers. And I think a lot of people watched those episodes, and I think they looked around and said, "people are still being treated in the exact same way." And I think the media heard about these things still happening on social media and started airing these things and it became a thing. And then everyone became aware of it. When did #blacklivesmatter start? I believe it was after the O.J. show aired. I don't think it is wrong at all I think the police need to be held more accountable, but in answer to Shaq as to why he started this year, I believe its because of the awareness that documentary brought and people looking around and thinking that nothing has changed in 20 or 30 years.
Now Kaepernick. I'm not going to talk about his stance, his right to stand or kneel, what it means, blah blah blah we have all heard about it and talked about it and I want to have a different conversation. My first question is this:
What are your demands? When you protest or go on strike or something like that you want something. You want the world, or company, or person, to change in some way to make your situation better. So I looked that up too. I always do my research before I speak. And the answer is he wants better civil rights, more equality and awareness, police brutality to stop, and the conversation about the rights of black people to continue. And I agree with all of that.
There are a couple problems though. Problem 1. How will he know when that change occurs? When you go on strike for more money, you get more money and you go back to work. There has been a change you can see and feel and touch and you know the protest has worked. Or the company says no and you quit. But either way, there is a resolution. How will Colin Kaepernick be able to tell when there has been change? There is no way he can see or know that these things have happened or haven't happened so when does he stand for the national anthem again? He really can't ever again. The second he does he is saying things have changed I'm now happy with the state of how minorities are being treated. And its not something that can or will change that quickly. And even if it did, how will he know? If a police officer in Florida decides to treat black people with more respect, how will Kaepernick know about it? There are no finite results. There is no way he can measure it so he must now kneel for the rest of his life.
The next question I have is what does this protest actually do? Are people talking about this? Hell yes they are. Every day on every television show, in offices, in bars, I talked about it with the basketball players I coach. But what has that done? Bring awareness? Sure. Have you, reader of this article, changed any single behavior in your life because Colin Kaepernick kneeled during the anthem? I doubt it. Conversation is nice, but actions are the only thing that really matter. If I run around telling people I am going to eat better get healthy and lose weight, and then I eat chicken nuggets and drink milkshakes three times a week then I am just a talker. And this is where Kaepernick is losing people. Because there is no action. And its not his fault. He can't go talk to every police officer and racist old white man and try and talk sense into them. So there is no possible action. Can everyone treat people better? Yes they can, regardless of race.
Problem 2. Lets think about people reacting to what he is doing. Is "racist guy" going to see Colin Kaepernick kneeling down during "his" national anthem and say, "Wow, a black guy is kneeling down and protesting one of the most American things we have in this country, I think I'm going to like black people now and stop being racist." Of course not. If anything its going to make those people dislike him more and therefore dislike black people more. And people who are not racist are going to respect what he is doing and continue to live a life of openness and fairness to all. So what is the kneeling actually doing? Its probably only making some people that already didn't like black people dislike them even more.
Finally, where he could get people back is to come up with solutions. A lot of people spend so much time complaining about things, whereas they could spend that time more valuably by coming up with solutions. So I have a solution. Or a possible solution. And I think if he had said something like this when they asked him about why he was kneeling it would have had more power. What if he said, "I will stand again when every police officer is held accountable for their actions and was not protected by wearing a badge." Then the reporter asks, "and how would we as a society accomplish this?" And here are my thoughts on a solution. We have cameras on police cars, get better ones, clearer ones. Put cameras and CLEAR MICROPHONES on the lapel of every police officer. Most of the time the argument when something escalates is the person was not cooperating. Well if we can see and hear the whole scene, if we can hear how the officer addresses the person, if we can hear what the person says back and how he says it, we can make better decisions on whether or not the police officer went past the line of appropriate behavior. Then we hire people and train people to look at those tapes, and prosecute those who are taking advantage of wearing a badge. And train and educate those who are acting in ways that get close to that line to act in a more professional manner.
There was a man named Terance Crutcher and he was fatally shot yesterday while unarmed, with his hands up in the air. You can watch the video a million places on the internet (be careful it is explicit). There is a camera from the sky in a helicopter, there is a camera 30 feet away on the dashboard of the police officers car. But you can't hear what was said, you can't hear how it was said. We need to change that. Because if those police officers swear that he was saying things that put their lives in danger, they may argue that they had reason for it. Or if they say that he made some move toward them or toward a pocket they may have had cause. And we can't see from a helicopter and we can't see from a dashcam. So I believe the solution is to get all the evidence. Get all the views and all the sounds to be able to see and hear the truth about each situation. And it would be expensive. But doesn't Terance Crutcher and his family deserve that? Just the fact that it was there would eliminate almost all if it immediately. Just like when you walk into a bank or another place that has cameras. The fact that you know your actions are being recorded is a deterrent to bad behavior. I have seen youtube, they have hidden camera prank crap all over the internet with cameras that you can see and hear everything perfectly. Why can't we use those? Its a solution and its feasible.
I respect what Kaepernick has done and he has started a conversation. What he needs is a call to action. A call to actual change that is not just words or awareness, but actual physical change that can be seen and heard and felt.
I know things got serious here and I thank you for reading and having an open mind.