7AM is around the time my iPhone usually begins to chirp, a sporadic occurrence that usually happens due to the majority of my friends who live in central and east coast time zones. Also, being in too many group chats and social mediums doesn’t help. Regardless, today was another ordinary day; another round of text messages and notifications alerted me to wake up. While rubbing my eyes and trying to comprehend space and time around me called Life, I yawned and unlocked my phone to see what today’s topic would be about. Yesterday, I was surprised to see that this morning’s topic was about Colin Kaepernick and the backlash he was receiving for not standing during an NFL game for the United States’ National Anthem. Colin Kaepernick, a 28 year old quarterback for the San Francisco 49er’s, has been pretty vocal about social injustices, however, never to this caliber.
“”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.”” – NFL.com
That statement made by Colin was said during the post-game locker room interview. As a result many people of course used twitter and other social mediums to express their thoughts.
So before I explain why Colin Kaepernick, an American citizen, has the sole right to sit down during the national anthem, let me explain why he believes people of color are oppressed.
First let’s define oppression:
So now that you’ve read the definition, let me give you ONE example of oppression.
Shown above is ex-judge Mark Ciavarella Jr. Mark was sentenced to 28 years in prison for committing the felony of selling “Kids for Cash”. Do I need to write that again? A judge, an elected official who is sworn to serve and protect the constitution of American citizens was sentenced by Federal courts to prison for selling kids to jail. I would go in depth about the prison industrial complex, but that’s for another day. If you want to read more about this atrocity click here!
My point for sharing the aforementioned story was that it showed ONE example of a person who used a system (the Law) to OPPRESS a group of people (people of color). I didn’t even provide you examples of police brutality, redlining districts, environmental racism (i.e. Flint, Michigan). So is Colin wrong when he says there are people of color who are oppressed? I just gave you a clear example of it! But let me guess, Kaepernick denounced what it means to be patriotic right? Calm down. He didn’t sell secrets to foreign countries. He didn’t hang the flag upside down nor burn the flag. Colin Kaepernick simply (nonviolently) stayed seated during the National Anthem, which he as an American citizen has the right to do. You call him unpatriotic because you’re quite the law abiding citizen huh? Have you ever read the Bill of Rights? A flag and an anthem, yes even the National Anthem, are subjective. One’s actions of voluntary free speech cannot/shouldn’t negate your feeling toward the national anthem or flag because it’s YOUR feeling. You can’t get mad at others for not valuing something the same as you, look at religion. Who are you to tell someone differently? I have family members who have served in wars and am very appreciative of them and all of the others who fought for our country, but if you can’t see that he’s using his platform as a QB to do this for the less fortunate, the people in this Country who are actually oppressed then you have missed and only proven his point. So please stop saying he disrespected this country while you keep disrespecting the constitution. People have a right to say #BlackLivesMatter , #AllLivesMatter, #WhiteLivesMatter, #ThotLivesMatter , how it makes you feel is on YOU and doesn’t directly disregard your worth to an anthem (intangible) or a flag (tangible). So whether he’s speaking on behalf of one kid or a thousand. Whether he speaks one police brutality or the thousands that he felt were unjust, he is allowed to take a stand. Colin Kaepernick has the right to use his platform and the beauty of this situation is that he isn’t controlled nor scared of the consequences because he’s not controlled by money. He’s monetarily free and whether the league cuts him like he said , he doesn’t care. He has enough money. You and I on the other hand will be heading to work or school tomorrow and will follow subjective rules applied by your company or superior….stop being a hypocrite. To the people that call him spoiled for “feeling” oppressed as a multimillionaire, you too have missed his point. Colin isn’t doing this for himself, he’s doing it for people who don’t have the same national platform that he does, which is to be on national TV and impact change in this country. Life is not always about you.