Young and Black in a Divided America: Spilling the Tea on #TakeAKnee

This article does not represent the views of Her Campus FSU.

Last year, Colin Kaepernick stirred the nation and sparked endless outrage when he dropped to one knee during the National Anthem to protest police brutality. Let’s not get it twisted: unlike everybody and their mother who was kneeling just to piss Donald Trump off this past weekend, Kaepernick was protesting police brutality.  Not Trump. Police brutality. His intention was to raise awareness about the deaths of black people. He was fired for his retaliation, as it was deemed controversial by the National Football League. It’s bull, if you ask me, because I’m sure everyone else will be signed again next year – but that’s none of my business.

Courtesy: Giphy

As a young black woman in a divided and discriminatory America, I’m going to let off some steam and say my piece, as I should. I’m serving the tea and it is scalding.           

Now, I’m sure a good amount of the coaches that were kneeling last weekend are part of the 62 percent of white men who voted for Trump. That’s cute. The statistics don’t lie, people.

Courtesy: CNN

So, they call Kaepernick disrespectful and won’t draft him this year because he kneeled to protest against police brutality but then the coaches turn around and get down on their knees over a year later because Donald Trump said they’d be a “son of a b----“ if they did? Because it’s cool to go against the guy everyone hates even though they’re the ones who voted for him, right? But a year ago, Kaepernick was ‘stupid’ and ‘unpatriotic’ for doing the same exact thing to support and defend a cause that actually matters, right? Okay.

Courtesy: Giphy

The players aren’t safe, either – white or black. No one sided with Kaepernick when he kneeled to, in his words, “stand up for people that are oppressed.” I don’t know about you, but I didn’t see anyone getting backlash for kneeling during the anthem to protest against police brutality soon after he did . . . oh, yeah, I remember why: because nobody did. Players and coaches only started kneeling this PAST weekend, over A YEAR after Colin first did because Donald Trump said he didn’t approve of it. If he hadn’t said anything, hadn’t called people who kneel “sons of b----es,” everyone would’ve been just fine and dandy to stand during the pledge.

As a black woman attending a PWI (predominantly white institution), I am constantly reminded of my identity. I am constantly surrounded by people who see themselves as superior to me due to the color of my skin; by people who voted for the very man who said that there was hate “on many sides” when counter-protesters simply stood up to white supremacists; by people who are visibly uncomfortable when I walk past them in my “Pro-Black AF” shirt. I am constantly reminded of my identity as a minority, which I’ve wholeheartedly embraced. Hence, representation is so important. Colin Kaepernick sacrificing his entire career to advocate for black people is so, so important. The brave people who counter-protested against the white supremacists in Charlottesville, VA are so, so important. Supporting black people is so, so important.

That being said, I am so incredibly thankful for the Black Lives Matter movement. It has allowed me to join forces with other black people, as well as allies of the movement, and speak my mind in regards to issues plaguing the black community. For those who don’t know, Black Lives Matter began as a response to the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, who was a victim of racial profiling; he was simply walking home from the convenience store, Arizona Tea and Skittles in hand, when he was shot by George Zimmerman out of senseless, irrational fear. In the four years since its creation, the Black Lives Matter movement has taken the nation by storm and also stealing my heart in the process.

Black Lives Matter has, over time, also allowed me to experience self-discovery and determine my life’s goal. It has given me a safe space and support to write poetry primarily focused on my experiences and viewpoint as a black woman without shame. Coming into college, I knew that I wanted to work in Communications; halfway through my freshman year, I decided to add Editing, Writing and Media as my second major. BLM has helped me to determine that I want to spend my life as an editor for a black-run magazine, newspaper or blog that primarily focuses on entertainment, fashion, achievements and news pertaining to the black community.

As a future editor of a black-run magazine/newspaper/blog, I refuse to condone this copy-cat version of a protest that was meant to rise against an extremely serious (and often times, deadly) issue that is faced by the black community daily.

There. I’ve spilled the tea. I’ve said my piece.

Sip slowly. I hope it burns.