Perspectives: Sitting/kneeling during the National Anthem is a cry for change

Perspectives: Sitting/kneeling during the National Anthem is a cry for change

Bex Rangel, Reporter

For a different perspective on this topic, read this piece by AJ Forbes.


Colin Kaepernick, quarterback of the San Francisco 49ers, has been kneeling during the national anthem as means of protesting the racial injustice and oppression of black and people of color in the United States.

This simple but effective gesture is genius, forcing all types of Americans to think twice.

According to sports columnists such as Clay Travis, the move was considered downright unpatriotic, calling him out for being “idiotic” and describing him as a “washed-up” athlete who only wanted attention for himself and his millions of dollars.

Yes, Kaepernick does have quite the bank account and he’s lucky to be a team player in the NFL at all. The fact of the matter is that he is still black and all of that money and success can’t take place of the respect he may have more of if he was white.

Intersectionality, a theory that was named in 1989 by professor Kimberlè Crenshaw, is the exact reason why this is totally possible and happens every single day.

Let’s take this man, Kaepernick, and imagine he was speeding in his oh-so-cool Lamborghini. Though he can totally afford this car, it’s his own, and is only trying to have some fun, a police officer will still pull him over because speeding is wrong. It gets sketchy when, what starts out as a ticket-only event, goes downhill because this cop notes that the man is black. From here, a multitude of possibilities are plausible, from assuming he was also drunk or under the influence, perhaps in possession of drugs, or simply assuming a black man couldn’t afford the car he was driving and so it’s stolen. Intersectionality, my children…

And though this example was metaphoric, it’s also the reason why Kaepernick has chosen to kneel.

“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” Kaepernick told NFL Media after the game against the Green Bay Packers. “To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”

Kaepernick’s point can be proven with dozens of cases all throughout history, one of the most recent being the shooting of unarmed black man Terence Crutcher, which occurred on Sept. 16. Crutcher was reported because his car had stalled on the roadside, but it appeared abandoned.

The police officer in question was originally put on paid leave before being charged and has already pleaded not guilty of first degree manslaughter.

Statistics also prove that there is an imbalance between races and how the law actually treats them.

Since 1995, black youth are nearly fives times as likely to be incarcerated as their white peers, according to The Annie E. Casey Foundation. The findings also state that the majority of offenses committed by these kids are nonviolent.

His actions are also the epitome of patriotism.

The national anthem and flag indeed reflects our respect to the military, patriotism and every person who’s fought for our rights.

It also symbolizes all of our freedoms. The people who fight for Kaepernick, and everyone else in this country for that matter, aren’t the only ones who exercise freedom of speech, since each and every one of us practice the First Amendment on a daily basis.

Kaepernick has a right to stand, or sit, or kneel, whether anyone else agrees or not.

There is also a difference between Kaepernick’s actions and just mucking around. A survey conducted by Harris Interactive concluded that 61 percent of Americans don’t know the lyrics to the national anthem. Kaepernick is trying to make a point, where not knowing the lyrics is an entire phenomenon of its own.

At the final home game last year, I can recall that the student section wasn’t silent in the duration of the national anthem, turning to whisper to each other, giggling and waiting for the song to be over so they could sit down.

The national anthem is critical. It’s important to honor our country and remind ourselves of its great achievements. But, like many parts of our society, it can be a platform to protest with and show our nation’s not-so-pretty colors.

Let this be a wake up call, because that’s exactly Kaepernick’s point.

Bex Rangel