*** You have the right to disagree with my opinion, but at least take it into consideration. Also, please be respectful and refrain from vulgarity. As I tell my students, pay no attention to those who only use curse words and name calling, for they lack the vocabulary to express themselves intellectually. Read until the end. I think you will at least agree with my last line.
The year was 1770 something and our strapping, young forefathers were out causing a ruckus for their country of Britain. They protested, threw tea into harbors, probably burned stuff, and proposed a new flag. Why? They felt underrepresented and oppressed in their country. And thus the United States of America and patriotism were born.
Flash forward to 2016 and a guy with a massive fro is causing quite a stir for protesting because he feels a group of people in America are oppressed and underrepresented. And thus a thug, douchebag, idiot, spoiled brat, overpaid sports player, and asshole is born.
I don't know much about Kaepernick, besides that he has either an extremely cool or extremely unfortunate last name, and, maybe, he is all of the aforementioned terms. I don't care, but I do know, whether he is going about it the wrong or right way, he is bringing attention to a much needed issue. The major point here is, not whether Colin should stand, sit, kneel, hop around, or whatever during the anthem, but that there are people in America who do not have the same freedoms and equal opportunities that our soldiers and law enforcement fight so hard to defend and maintain.
For instance, in the great year of 1989, I was born into this world. I did not ace an American history test, win a contest on patriotism, or outsmart anyone in a challenge of wits. Yet, I was bestowed upon me a life where the biggest threat our neighborhood faced was when a bear was sighted roaming our streets and the most my dreams were ever suppressed based on my physical appearance was when I was told I might be too short at 5'0 to be a WNBA player or a college bball standout, and maybe I should just stop playing basketball altogether. There is not much to say here except I was destined to be successful.
On the other hand, in the middle to late 90s some of my students were born. At a young age, these people did not fail any American history tests, lose a contest on patriotism, or get outsmarted by anyone in a challenge of wits. Yet, they and many more were bestowed upon them a life where they get beat up for wearing the wrong colors on the wrong side of town; where drugs are a constant presence in their lives (I'm not talking about just weed); where they come in tired because their family is sharing a one room hotel room; where their mother has to whore herself out to pay to put food on the table; where they cry on a snow day because then they won't get to eat that day; where they are on their third school in a year because they are homeless; where they come in looking sad and they tell you that someone in their family was shot and killed only for you to realize that they all know someone who has been shot and killed; where college is a long shot not because they are not smart enough but because they don't have the money because the money they make from a job goes to pay the house bills and to buy groceries; where they have to work A LOT harder to prove themselves because not much is expected from them; and where they are looked upon with disgust or suspicion by the color of their skin.
If none of those things have happened to you, you are very fortunate, #blessed, and yes privileged. America, don't be afraid of that word because with that word we have great power. Power to make a change. Power, not to debate over whether or not some football player should stand or sit during the anthem, but to ask our fellow Americans why they feel oppressed, left out, underrepresented and what can be done, so they feel as if they have the same rights and opportunities as we do. Have some compassion when you think of what some of these people experience. If you can't muster the empathy for the adults, think of the innocent children. Is that the America you want for them?
The other day, one of my students, in a group discussion on the upcoming election, boldly pleaded for America to come together. With a look of fear and years of obstacles in his eyes, he urged, "If America doesn't unite and continues to remain so divided, the terrorist will win."
Is he not right? Debating the smaller issue of whether Colin should stand or sit doesn't feed hungry children or remove kids from street violence or put an end to racism? Yes, it is true that we can argue over whether teachers, cops, and our military deserve more money and respect (The answer is that they most definitely do.) but the fact of the matter is that we chose that life. Those children did not. Therefore, why are we so uncomfortable to address the larger issue at hand? Until every child is well fed and free from discrimination, that will always remain the most important matter. Period. I have read so many dissenters on social media declare that anyone who protests should just leave along with various other unproductive comments. Isn't that what terrorists are making the now refugees do? Leave because they are not safe or welcomed in their home country. That's not the America I know. We are the United States of America. Land of the free. Home of the brave.
Show your patriotism and donate here or here to support children who wish to have the same American dream as you. And finally, now that we have been made aware, it's time to start standing for the anthem and talking about how we should #giveup and #giveback. America, give up that one thing you don't need and give back to someone who does.
visit http://theshameofthenation.weebly.com to learn more about the racial disparities in our American school systems.