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Thoughts on Colin Kaepernick's Protest

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On August 26, 2016, before going out to play his first preseason game of the year, Colin Kaepernick sat down during the National Anthem as a protest against white supremacy, police brutality, and unequal rights towards people of color living in the U.S.A. He still maintains his protest even though the some professional athletes and media personalities have objected to it. Kaepernick’s protest is an amazing act against white supremacy and has made a huge impact.

 

If I were Kap’s teammate, I would definitely be right next to him, trying to fight against white supremacy. I admit that, at first, I did not think that this kind of protest was going to be effective. I believed that sitting for the National Anthem was a problem since not saluting the flag of the U.S.A. sends a lot of different messages to people. Even though he did not mean for his protest to target things not at all related to police brutality (like the US Military or the country’s ideals), people took offense. However, he did a good job by clearly stating what he was protesting, and did not make a vague statement, as some members of the media and other professional athletes who critiqued him claimed.

 

Colin was entirely right in protesting against police brutality and a culture of white supremacy. Among many problems with the criminal justice system, police departments are giving cops, who should never be near a weapon, guns, and telling them to use them when they think it is necessary. Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old boy who was using a pellet gun at a park, was shot by an officer named Timothy Loehman, someone who had been deemed “emotionally unstable” and “unfit for service as a police officer” by his last deputy chief. Tamir Rice was innocent, but because of his color he was shot dead with no chance to surrender by a police officer who never should have received a gun in the first place. In addition to a lack of accountability from our police departments, we have systemic problems. According to a Washington Post article, black people, aged 18-25, use drugs in equal amounts to white people and yet more than three times the amount of black people are arrested for drug use. This shows how the system favors white lives over black lives. The result of this kind of white supremacy, is innocent lives being lost and people getting away with murder.

On his own Colin Kaepernick protested the National Anthem, to show that he was serious and that he would risk his career to try to end white supremacy and police brutality. ¨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 risked his career because police brutality is an issue people need to know about urgently. People need to know that these vile acts against humanity are being committed against people of their color, not because they did something wrong but because of their looks. What really makes such an impact with people around the world is the fact that he risked not only his playing career on this, but possibly a future career in broadcasting. After all, he is not the Babe Ruth of football right now; he is just a player in the NFL, someone whom the managers could fire and it would not impact them in the slightest. The risk he took was necessary to make an impact upon the U.S. If he had protested in an organized group of people, I do not believe it would have made the same impact since people could have argued that he protested to gain benefits of being described as someone fighting for justice for the people.

 

At the 2016 ESPY’s, four very famous NBA players addressed the crowd, talking about white supremacy, police violence and the violence in general that pervades the nation. New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony started it off by saying, "The system is broken, the problems are not new, the violence is not new, and the racial divide definitely is not new, but the urgency for change is definitely at an all-time high.” Their speech was powerful but, it was not as effective as Kaepernick's protest. They were all N.B.A. stars who could not be fired without major backlash towards the higher-ups in basketball. Their words did not have as much impact on athletes’ behavior and feelings as Colin’s. Unlike Kaepernick, they’re not in the news, their protest is not ongoing, and they haven’t inspired kids and other professional athletes to protest against police brutality and white supremacy.

 

“Police,” a simple word that meant so many things to me in my early childhood. Police were role models, people to look up to, people you wanted to be. The police should always be an inspiration, no matter what age you are, and yet because of police brutality they have become the opposite. Colin Kaepernick is trying to stop people who are deemed emotionally unstable from getting weapons and shooting random people due to the color of their skin. He is showing the world that police brutality is a big problem that needs to stop and he is risking his career to end it.




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