There has been a lot said about Colin Kaepernick. I will admit, when I first saw the headline I made an audible sound of disgust and told my little sister he already had spent plenty of time on the 49ers bench. We were lying in bed and I was just about to go to sleep.
My Grandfather fought in multiple wars and my initial reaction was to scoff at Kaepernick’s ignorance and blatant disrespect for the men and women who have defended our flag, lives and country.
When I woke up,I started to read some of the comments people were saying about Kap. All of the (white) men accusing him of ‘not knowing oppression because he has white parents. Because he is wealthy. Because they say he doesn’t. THOUSANDS of people have voiced their disgust for his (sub peaceful protest) action. It is a worldwide news story. It has claimed more headlines and main stream television screens than ANY black life lost at the hands of a white individual. I thought about the same things: ignorance and blatant disrespect. Then I watched the 18 minute explanation Kap gave for sitting down.
“There are a lot things that are going on that are unjust,” he said. “People aren’t being held accountable for. And that’s something that needs to change. That’s something that this country stands for freedom, liberty and justice for all. And it’s not happening for all right now[…]To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. “
In a headline, it struck me as tactless and without merit. “What could be the reason for disrespecting our flag?” In an 18 minute explanation, I started to feel embarrassed of my initial reaction. Ignorance and blatant disrespect.
“It’s hard for me, because my brother was a Marine, and he lost a lot of friends over there,” Boone said. “That flag obviously gives (Kaepernick) the right to do whatever he wants. I understand it. At the same time, you should have some (expletive) respect for people who served, especially people that lost their life to protect our freedom.”
Kaps ex teammate Alex Boone made the above statement. Initially, I would have agreed with him. Now, I can’t help but see the irony in his statement. Black men and women are dying right here. In the US of A. They may not have chosen to enlist to serve and protect our country in the way that Boone’s brother did, but they have lost their lives to protect our freedom.
Sandra Bland had the right to not be humiliated and harassed and imprisoned for not signaling during a lane change. She died alone in a jail cell protecting our freedom.
‘Encinia orders her to “get out of the car”,and, when she repeatedly refuses to exit, he tells her she is under arrest.’Bland repeatedly asks why she is under arrest, and Encinia responds, “I am giving you a lawful order. She refuses to leave her car, stating she is not under arrest as she is unaware of the reason and not obliged to. Encinia then opens her car door and tells her more than a dozen times to get out of the car before he tries to pull her out. After struggling, he draws his Taser and points it at Bland, shouting “I will light you up! Get out! Now!”, at which point she exits her vehicle.
Once Bland is out of her car, the officer orders her to put down her cell phone and tells her she is going to jail. In response, Bland asks why. In the video, both Bland and the officer move to the passenger side of the vehicle and are no longer visible, while they continue to argue heatedly. Bland can be heard crying and screaming.
May her sacrifice not be in vain.
Eric Garner died protecting our freedom. He was put into a choke hold and lost his life after a plain clothes police officer attempted to arrest him for ‘intent to sell rolled tobacco’. He had just broken up a fight. He had every right to be on that city sidewalk.
Garner is heard on the video saying, “Get away [garbled] for what? Every time you see me, you want to mess with me. I’m tired of it. It stops today. Why would you…? Everyone standing here will tell you I didn’t do nothing. I did not sell nothing. Because every time you see me, you want to harass me. You want to stop me [garbled] selling cigarettes. I’m minding my business, officer, I’m minding my business. Please just leave me alone. I told you the last time, please just leave me alone.”
May his death not be in vain.
Philando Castile was shot at point blank range after being pulled over for a ‘traffic stop’. He had a right to not be murdered in front of his girlfriend and daughter for being the same race as the man who committed a robbery in the same area.
According to police dispatcher audio obtained by the media, a St. Anthony police officer patrolling Larpenteur Avenue radioed to a nearby squad that he planned to pull over the car and check the IDs of the driver and passenger, saying, “The two occupants just look like people that were involved in a robbery. The driver looks more like one of our suspects, just because of the wide-set nose. I couldn’t get a good look at the passenger.” At 9:04 p.m. CDT, the officer told a nearby officer that he would wait for him to make the stop.
Philando Castile was fatally shot by Jeronimo Yanez, a St. Anthony, Minnesota police officer, after being pulled over in Falcon Heights, a suburb of St. Paul. Castile was driving a car with his girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, and her four-year-old daughter as passengers when he was pulled over by Yanez and another officer. According to Reynolds, after being asked for his license and registration, Castile told the officer he was licensed to carry a weapon and had one in the car. Reynolds stated: “The officer said don’t move. As he was putting his hands back up, the officer shot him in the arm four or five times.”
May his death not be in vain.
Colin Kaepernick is refusing to stand during the National Anthem because he doesn’t agree with how this country [ignores, marginalizes, discredits, and outright denies racism] especially in the eyes of the law. That is not a biased statement. That is the truth. ZERO cops have been found guilty of murdering a person of color. Even when their victims were unarmed. Even when the victim was 12 years old. Even when they disclose their weapons and raise their hands up. If you read the details about three of their deaths and still don’t think race is an issue then you are part of the problem. I am a white woman. I have been pulled over all of one time in my entire life. I did not get the ticket. I did not fear for my life. I did not pay with my life.
There is more to these senseless deaths than blaming all cops. When these cases go to trial (IF they go to trial) they are being acquitted by a jury of our peers. I wrote this a few months ago, but I was reminded of it when I saw the shitstorm that is the Kaepernick public crucifixion. STILL I am guilty of forgetting my own privilege. And that is ok! If you are reading this and for the first time having second thoughts about damning Kaepernick when you burned his jersey yesterday THAT IS OK! THAT is what makes this country so great. We have the right to believe and speak to what we want. We are not all going to understand the deeper meaning behind each others actions from the very start. What is not ok is denying someone their right to that same freedom and refusing to peel back the layers and try to understand what a man who looks like Colin Kaepernick faces every single day:
‘The things in which people are facing based on the color of their skin in the year 2016 is life threatening. Yes black on black crime is an issue. But so is racism. The names listed above were killed by the same men who took an oath to protect them. When was the last time a Los Gatos white kid was gunned down for walking around a neighborhood late at night? Where a 12 year old white kid was shot in a park by a cop for holding a toy gun? When a white man breaking up a fight with loose cigarettes on him is approached by an undercover cop?
Don’t just be aware of your privilege, be aware that others don’t have the same. Racism is BLATANT. Racism is HAPPENING. The poster child for ‘racist POS’ is the front runner for our Republican Party. November 2016.
If you are someone who doesn’t have to rule out certain states on road trips because you would have to be concerned for your safety.
If you don’t have to be concerned about what type of car you buy that might give someone a reason to pull you over.
If you have never had someone drive by you and wave a confederate flag in the year two thousand and sixteen.
If you have never had to worry when you dialed 911 or got pulled over whether your skin affected the value of your human according to the man with a badge and a gun.
These policemen do not have the right to decide whether someone lives or dies when their ‘suspects’ are lying face down on the cement, when they are a child playing in the park, when they’re coming home from a New Years party on public transportation, when they’re breaking up a fight on the street with loose cigarettes and cash in their pocket. Even when they are being a hot head on the corner where they’re trying to support their five children, THEY STILL DON’T GET TO DECIDE.’
Colin Kaepernick is being ridiculed by virtually every news outlet in the world. Colin Kaepernick stands to lose millions of dollars in endorsements. Colin Kaepernick is sitting down during the National Anthem.
“I’ll continue to sit. … I’m going to continue to stand with the people that are being oppressed. To me, this is something that has to change, and when there’s significant change — and I feel like that flag represents what it’s supposed to represent, and this country is representing people the way it’s supposed to — I’ll stand.”
Save me a seat.
O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells;
Rise up—for you the flag is flung—for you the bugle trills,
For you bouquets and ribbon’d wreaths—for you the shores a-crowding,
For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning;
Here Captain! dear father!
This arm beneath your head!
It is some dream that on the deck,
You’ve fallen cold and dead.