Recently, The San Francisco 49ers quarterback came out and stated that he would no longer stand for the national anthem during 49ers games. He states “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” Kaepernick told NFL Media in an exclusive interview after the game. “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.”
What a bold and profound statement. By sitting he is taking a stand, and I fully support his decision. As a person of color, I can understand why he feels so strongly about the issue. With countless views of what it means to be a person of color in America falling on deaf ears, I’m here to support him.
While the country seems to be in an uproar about this issue, I think it’s time that people take a minute to realize that standing for the national anthem doesn’t make you patriotic, and not standing doesn’t mean the opposite. The national anthem is merely a symbol. Our national anthem, a song writer by Francis Scott Key based on the “Defense of Fort M’Henry,” was written in 1814. Look at the climate of the United States during that time frame. Shaky at best. Slavery was alive and well. Oppression was alive and well. So how could this anthem mean the same things to all people? It’s frivolous to believe as such.
It’s important to understand that we each have a voice. When you have a platform as large as Colin’s, standing up for what you know is right can make a huge difference in the world. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” If you see injustice and turn your cheek, is that being patriotic? What does this say to the children you’ll raise?
As I battle with my toddler about toddler things, I’m often tickled and proud of how strong willed she is. I can only pray that when she faces a battle of doing what is right, even if she has to stand (or sit) alone for what is right, she will. It is my hope that she will see the wrong, and do what it takes to make it right.