Taking a Knee is Actually an Act of Patriotism

When NFL Quarterback, Colin Kaepernick started sitting during the National Anthem, his reasoning was that he was protesting a system that has been prejudiced against Black people since it existed.

“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder,” Kaepernick stated in August 2016. His right to protest came was under a lot of scrutiny from those on the right, going as far as former fans burning his jersey. They say that this act is inherently disrespectful to our troops and the American flag, when in reality, that isn’t what this is about. It’s about the long history of police brutality towards Black Americans and the racial bias that is embedded within our social system. Since then, more NFL players have joined in on Kaepernick’s protest by taking a knee during the National Anthem.

Trump’s comments at an Alabama rally last Friday, September 22nd, sparked outrage as it was more critical of peaceful Black protestors than white supremacists:

 “Wouldn’t you love to see some of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out. He’s fired! He’s fired!’”

Trump’s core supporters cheered him on as he attacked the football players for protesting what they think is the flag and the national anthem. It is a tradition in sports that when someone is injured or fallen, you take a knee to show more respect. What they are doing is taking a knee to show that our democracy is injured; they are practicing peaceful dissent in hopes of a better future for our country. They want to fix what is broken in our system and to fight injustice against Black Americans. This shows respect for both civil rights and the flag. One can only hope that we evolve more as a nation. It is patriotic that someone is taking a knee; they love their country enough that they want to bring awareness to something that is flawed in our system and make our country a better place to live in for all people. They are aware of problems going on in our nation and they are willing to take a stand and fix what has been broken.

These men and women are showing us that dissent is the most patriotic act you can perform in our country.

They are showing immense respect to our troops who died for the right for people to protest. Instead of rushing to the excuse that they are “un-American” or “disrespecting the flag,” listen to the reason why they are protesting. If you’re complaining about these men let me put this into perspective:

   You have never felt immediate fear once a police officer pulls you over, wondering if you’re going to be dead or alive by the time the police car drives off. You’ve never had an employee in a store follow you around to make sure you aren’t stealing anything because you “look suspicious.” You’ve never had a friend of yours get killed for wearing a hoodie, playing basketball, or selling cigarettes and never see the cop brought to justice.

Imagine yourself in these scenarios. These are the struggles Black Americans face with every single day. This is why they are taking a knee. They are taking a knee for Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice, Michael Brown, Sandra Bland, Philando Castile, Alton Sterling, Eric Garner, and countless other names that have been killed in the name of police brutality and a historically racist system. This is why the #BlackLivesMatter movement began.

We cannot terrorize and enslave an entire race of people, ban them from human rights and privileges, fill 2/3 of our prison cells with them, and then tell them to shut the hell up about the injustice they are still receiving to this day. They are not kneeling for a flag, a politician, or anthem; they are kneeling for justice.