Last year, Colin Kaepernick started a pretty heated controversy when he took a knee during the playing of the national anthem. He said at the time that he was protesting police brutality on the black population across the United States.
Kaepernick stated that “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. 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”, referencing a series of events that led to the Black Lives Matter movement and adding that he would continue to protest until he feels like “[the American flag] represents what it’s supposed to represent”.
He has a point. According to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), African Americans are incarcerated at more than 5 times the rate of whites. The imprisonment rate for African American women is twice that of white women. Nationwide, African American children represent 32% of children who are arrested, 42% of children who are detained, and 52% of children whose cases are judicially waived to criminal court. Though African Americans and Hispanics make up approximately 32% of the US population, they comprised 56% of all incarcerated people in 2015. If African Americans and Hispanics were incarcerated at the same rates as whites, prison and jail populations would decline by almost 40% states naacp.org.
As you can tell, there are some EXTREME disparities that directly hit the African American community.
His protest didn’t end with just him though. This year’s NFL season has seen nearly every team take a knee to show solidarity with the black community. Players across the NFL have said they want to bring to light the struggle that the black community faces.
However, the protests took a different turn when President Trump decided to voice his opinion on the matter. At a campaign rally in Alabama of all places, he said that “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a b**** off the field right now, out, he’s fired!’ You know, some owner is going to do that. He’s gonna say, ‘That guy disrespects our flag, he’s fired.’ And that owner, they don’t know it. They don’t know it. They’re
friends of mine, many of them. They don’t know it. They’ll be the most popular person, for a week. They’ll be the most popular person in the country.” (Quoted From sbnation.com)
Now, I may be young, but I have never heard a President openly call someone who was protesting for equal opportunity for all people, a son of a b****. I may not agree with kneeling during the national anthem, but that is their right, as enshrined in the first amendment of our Constitution. The same amendment that gives me the right this article to all of you gives those players the right to protest.
However, the protest has turned from a focus on issues facing the black community to a protest on the President. That, I find to be disheartening.
Protesting for equal opportunities and fair treatment for the black community by law enforcement is one thing. Protesting the president is a totally different thing. We should not get the two mixed up.
I write this article to get you all to think. Place yourself in someone elses shoes. Imagine that you don’t have your privilege. The privilege to not be afraid when you’re pulled over. The privilege to know that you are less likely to be shot and killed in the streets.
That protest makes a little more sense now, doesn’t it?
It is time for our leaders to actually listen and address the issues facing our black brothers and sisters instead of calling those trying to defend them a “son of a b****”.