It is hard to deny that Colin Kaepernick picked an excellent method to raise awareness to racial inequalities and injustice in the United States of America. NFL players kneeling during the national anthem reached an all time high last week. The nation erupted into a national debate after President Donald Trump stirred the pot on Twitter. With Colin Kaepernick no longer in the NFL, we must finish what he started.
In order to move forward, we must listen to our fellow Americans. Not listen to respond, but rather listen to understand. Once we understand why people are doing certain things we can move forward.
We need to understand that while the protesting method may be disrespectful in some people eyes it was a desperate call for a desperate measure. We must each ask ourselves what is going on for these fellow Americans to use these tactics as a call for help.
We also need to understand that history isn’t the same for every citizen. It is easy to say that demonstrators are disrespecting the military since they fought for freedom and defended the flag and that has become the main focus of the debate.
With that thought in mind, civil rights activists are equally American heroes who fulfilled the national anthems lyrics by making this country the land of the free for everyone. Many of these heroes paid the ultimate price fighting for their rights. Without these heroes black people would not be able to attend the same schools as everyone else, marry outside of their race, drink out of the same fountains, use the same bathrooms, vote without intimidation, and sit in the front of a bus.
When we honor the American flag and national anthem we must honor all American heroes and anyone who has fought for American freedom and values in addition to the military. We must understand our history and how it has shaped the landscape of our country.
If we listen and try to understand the rest will take care of itself. This is the first step to working together as one united nation.
“You have to know the past to understand the present.” - Carl Sagan
Below is the first interview Colin Kaepernick explaining why he didn’t stand for the anthem.