For a country that enslaved a race of people for centuries, took away their rights for another 100 years, and continues to heavily incarcerate people with melanin in their skin, I understand why an African-American would not want to stand for the national anthem.
Colin Kaepernick shocked the world by taking a knee. “This guy is a joke. Get lost. You don't like it in a country that has given you opportunity to succeed? Then get out,” former Major League Baseball player Aubrey Huff tweeted.
Supermodel Kate Upton touched on a point that explains the rhetoric of Kaepernick's critics. To many, going against the grain on anything associated with the military disqualifies you as an American.
“This is unacceptable. You should be proud to be an American. Especially on 9/11 when we should support each other,” Upton tweeted.
Why is it that protesting racial inequality automatically means you are disrespecting fallen soldiers? Isn’t the ability to stand or sit during the national anthem the right those soldiers fought and died for?
Looking at the history of the national anthem, Kaepernick's stance earns its’ validity. The national anthem played during the National Football Leagues games is only the first verse of Francis Scott Keys piece. The third verse celebrates the deaths of slaves.
“No refuge could save the hireling and slave/From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave.” Key’s verse depicts the joy of killing the slaves that ran away to fight with the British during the War of 1812. The historical impacts alone is enough justification to sit for the national anthem, however current racial discrimination makes the message all the more important.
According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health between 2002 and 2013 African-Americans and whites used illicit drugs a relatively similar rate. The difference averaging to be a 1.25 % increase in use among African-Americans.
In a just world, illicit drug usage should correlate to a proportional incarceration rate, but that is far from the truth.
African-Americans represent 12 percent of illicit drug users but account for 38 percent of all drug arrests. In a society that so praises equality, why is policing so inherently unequal?
As Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” That is why I stand with Colin Kaepernick.