This past weekend, several athletes took a knee during the national anthem on game day. They stood in solidarity with Colin Kaepernick after he was called a “son of a bitch” by the President of the United States. The country is now in an uproar and these peaceful protests are being called disrespectful by many. Here is why I support the protest:
An open letter to those offended,
It bothers you that people are kneeling during the national anthem? Why doesn’t it bother you that our country’s national anthem celebrates the blood shed from African slaves? Is it because you’re a racist, or because you simply didn’t know? Yes, that’s right, interpret it how you will, but the national anthem for the United States of America celebrates the murder of African-Americans. Before you start taking offense, why don’t you read the lyrics and understand what you are defending? You’re defending an outdated anthem written by a man who was the family of slave owners, yet you expect African-Americans to stand during it? Respect it? THAT right there is oppression itself. You know what else is oppression? Being angry that people are kneeling during a racist song for a country that doesn’t protect them and respect their rights. Black Americans have died in America’s wars but do not fully experience the freedom that comes with that sacrifice as white people do. We claim everyone has the right to protest, yet no matter what African-Americans do, no matter how they protest, somebody has to say its not right. Kneeling peacefully on a field isn’t right? You don’t like it? So maybe they should lead peaceful protests in the streets instead. But WAIT, when they do that, they get arrested, tear-gassed, pepper sprayed, and murdered. So what would be considered okay? If this peaceful demonstration to protest injustice and wrongful treatment is so offensive and disrespectful to the military, why are there thousands of Veterans around the world taking a knee in solidarity? If you’re so upset that people are “disrespecting Veterans” why are you not upset that we are still living in a racist country even after Veterans fought and died to protect civil rights? Hm? Why does the confederate flag not offend you? That ACTUALLY disrespects our flag. Why are you not upset that we are disrespecting the Emancipation Proclamation? When soldiers fought against Britain during the Revolutionary War, it was a victory for white people. The American flag was raised in victory as its black citizens, who were still not legally considered human beings at the time, continued to suffer in slavery for the next 80 years. “The Star-Spangled Banner” is as much a patriotic song as it is an insult to black people who had the audacity to fight for their freedom. How dare they! In 2017, as white people stand for the national anthem, most of them sit in silence as police kill black people and hide behind the excuse that “they deserved it.” So did 12 year old Tamir Rice deserve it too? Because him playing at the playground was a “threat,” right? The national anthem is a symbol of white hegemony and protects anti-black violence. It was never intended to reflect the protection of our humanity.
Their blood has wash’d out their foul footstep’s pollution.
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.
Interesting. “No refuge could save the hireling and slave from the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave.” This represents the authors satisfaction in the death of slaves who freed themselves. Satisfaction from a man who owned slaves himself. People could argue that in his later years, Francis Scott Key actually fought for the freedom of slaves, but that is besides the point. This song was written in vein and we actually fucking expect little kids in classrooms to put their hands on their heart for it, black people to stand for it, and us all to respect it. Sorry, but no. I love America and I have nothing but the utmost respect for our Veterans. However, I don’t love what this country stands for because it doesn’t hold true for all its citizens, and until it does, I will continue to speak my mind.