May 22, 2024

“Ladies and gentlemen, please rise for the playing of our National Anthem.”
Twelve words that anyone who has ever been to a sporting event or public social gathering has heard. We’ve been taught from a very young age that when you hear those words. you stand, face the flag and put your right hand over your heart. Why? Because that’s the respectful thing to do; that is the way we honor our country.
However, quarterback Colin Kaepernick of the San Francisco 49er’s refused to honor this country during an August preseason game.
When interviewed by the NFL shortly after the game, Kaepernick’s reply was simple, “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.”
He then went on to talk about the violence that has recently sparked some controversy throughout our country.
Kaepernick was just trying to do the right thing by bringing awareness to a rough situation, and show his support to the victims of these tragedies. However, by supporting one of our country’s unresolved issues, he is neglecting to be aware of all of the great things there are to honor our country for!
There is no “picking and choosing” in a situation like this. He chose not to honor our country, our freedom, our troops and his right to not only have a career he is passionate about, but also to be able to have that right as a black male. Instead, he chose to be against the white-on-black crimes that are happening in several states across the country, and in this case, Kaepernick is wrong.
Racism has been an issue for over 400 years, and admittedly, is much better than it was even 50 years ago. Obviously abolishing slavery was a huge turning point for this country, and the fight for civil rights for blacks literally broke our country in half. Then what happened?
We mended it. We fixed a broken country. African-Americans argue that they are still treated unfairly, and that they had to fight for their own freedoms, which is a completely invalid argument.
Time for a history lesson. There were 23 Union states that fought for the freedom of blacks during the Civil War. That’s 23 states, of mainly whites, opposed to 11 Confederate states. Racism is still a small problem today, but African-Americans still have the same amount of rights that whites do, the same amount of rights that Latinos do, the same that Asians do or any other citizen of this country does.
Kaepernick argues that the killing of blacks by white cops are hate crimes and that they are getting away with it. So why is he taking that out on the flag? Why is that the only thing he protested?
Let’s face it, if Kaepernick cared about the situation as much as he says he does, he would protest the game instead, but we all know that’s not going to happen because he is making, on average, $19 million a year, which is approximately $1.2 million per game. Why not protest a game, and then take that nearly $1.2 million and create a foundation that encourages a better relationship between the oppressed and the oppressor?
Kaepernick could have very easily shown his support in a way that did not go against his country and his flag, and he chose to steer far away from the high road.

2 thoughts on ““I Pledge Allegiance to the Flag”

  1. Caylin, You attempt to justify your claim here that Kaepernick has no right or reason to object to racial injustice by implying that racial injustice no longer exists. Do you simply mean that because it’s not as bad as it was 150 years ago, no one should complain? You go on to suggest that the flag itself should take higher priority than individuals who are (in fact–whether you acknowledge it or not) victims of discrimination in our country today. (Kaepernick might have chosen better ways to highlight injustice, but your editorial illustrates the need to call attention to problems that too often go unacknowledged.)
    I hope that you are at or near the beginning of your time at Wittenberg, and that your time there will a) expose you to the realities of racism and inequality in our culture, and b) equip you to work to make what you describe here–a world free of racial discrimination–a reality.
    If you are genuinely interested in justice, and I hope you are, you will want to learn all you can about the realities of racial discrimination in 2016 America. Let me recommend Bryan Stevenson’s _Just Mercy_ as a compelling place to start. Best wishes as you continue your time at Wittenberg.

  2. Sorry, But this alumnus disagrees with this editorial. As I have said on other media, every American has the right to disagree. The reason demonstration comes to this level is because the demonstrators have come to the point where they feel they’re not being heard, that their voices are being ignored. The student demonstrations of the 1960s, the demonstrations of ACT/UP of the 1980s are examples of this. I support and applaud Colin for finding a way to draw attention to the problem and his cause without resorting to violence. After all, weren’t rebellion and demonstration the birth of our nation?

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