By Dr. T
When San Francisco 49er’s quarterback Colin Kaepernick refused to stand with his hand over his heart for the playing of the national anthem – a ceremonial ritual that has for decades been played before professional and many amateur sporting events in the United States – he instantly outraged the “public” and ignited a social media firestorm. Kaepernick has stated, there his refusal to stand and salute the nation’s flag during the national anthem is in protest of our national struggle with racial injustice, cialis and in particular, the systemic problems that communities of color have with police brutality, over-policing and institutionalized patterns and practices within the criminal justice system that exhibit clear and consistent racial bias.
To be outraged by Kaepernick’s actions, calling him “anti-American and un-patriotic,” when he is fully within his constitutional rights and liberty as an American citizen, is to be the one engaging in non-patriotic behavior and sentiment. This country was founded in protest, and ever since its founding, we have been engaged in a struggle to perfect our union and to actualize the freedoms and inalienable rights for ALL of our citizens to this very day. Many people have protested, fought and died throughout our nation’s history to challenge the United States of America to live up to the platitudes and proclamations upon which she stands. The struggle for equal rights, equal access and freedom for women, for African Americans, for LGBTQ Americans, for our individual religious freedoms, for the differently-abled, for children, for immigrants, for the mentally-ill, the homeless, the addicted, the imprisoned and incarcerated people of our nation, for our veterans and the list goes on and on and on. We have PROTESTED in the public forum. It is one of the most patriotic things one could ever do. To challenge our country and its citizens to become the America they insist that they are. The greatness of this nation is dependent upon the boldness and courage of her citizenry to hold her accountable and to put a glaring spotlight on the deficiencies that would undermine the foundation on which we stand and the belief in our possibility as a nation to be better than we have been.
The “privileged class,” of which Kaepernick is a member, is often mystified by how those who protest injustice by using the very symbols and ritualized ceremony that elevate America’s ethos and American values as a “shared experience,” can do so in such a brazen way and still love their country as patriots. There is no mystery here. The point is that our experiences of America and being American are as vastly different and diverse as we are as an
American people and the denial of that fact feeds into this (mostly white American) outrage and sense of fragility or indignation around the symbolism of saying the Pledge of Allegiance or saluting the flag. It is difficult to continue to proclaim the things contained within these pledges and anthems as true when (to many) they ring clearly false, as supported by overwhelming evidence both empirical and experiential. This is what Kaepernick, who is wealthy and was raised by white parents, has no longer been able to swallow or pretend that he does not see. Colin Kaepernick is a man of color, he is not white and as a man of color with an evolving consciousness, he has found that he can no longer sit in silent compliance as these injustices continue to allow blood to run in the streets of America. Colin Kaepernick must use his privilege to speak out for those who cannot speak for themselves, and then stand up for his beliefs in the face of personal scrutiny and possibly great personal sacrifice. That is what American Patriotism is all about! It is really difficult to listen to the outrage about Kaepernick being disrespectful when the NFL STILL has a team called the Redskins? IJS