Kaepernick: Permission to be Free
As a black man, I understand and support Kaepernick’s stand against police brutality and the murder of unarmed men. It’s hard to be black and not know where he’s coming from. Sitting for the national anthem is how he decided to voice his opinion and views on the issue. In essence, he’s protesting.
I’ve heard and read commentary about Kaepernick not having been oppressed himself because he was adopted and raised by white people. “What oppression has he suffered from?”, they ask. Even if he has never experienced direct oppression, racial profiling or discrimination in his community, this doesn’t mean he doesn’t have a stake in the equal treatment of black people. The truth is there’s no amount of education, travel, religious belief, wealth, power, fame, style, civil obedience, athletic prowess, military service or legal know how or white upbringing that would make him or his kids immune to the behavior he’s protesting.
It doesn’t make sense to me to police the way someone chooses to protests their oppression, regardless if it’s standing with like minded people affirming that #blacklivesmatter, sitting during the national anthem or even burning the flag. In this case, there seems to be more love for the idea of justice and equality than its real world application. So, if what I’m doing doesn’t affect you have two options: help me or get out of the way. Otherwise, you’re just a part of the problem.
Taking offense and attacking me for the way I protest instead of addressing the issue is akin to giving me a ticket for standing on the sidewalk screaming for help front of my burning house. “But, officer my home is on fire! What do you expect me to do? The response: “I understand sir! But you’re blocking the sidewalk (inconveniencing people with your truth), get back inside and wait for the fire to put itself out.”
The real question is: When has any real protest ever been acceptable? I’d venture to say if no one is upset it’s pointless. If you don’t have your message distorted like the media mentioning Kaepernick’s disdain for white people or his hatred for the military (both of which he never said) then your protest has no weight. Because there would be no need to redirect people’s attention if there wasn’t a chance that you might wake them up!