Colin Kaepernick Anthem Controversy and Hypocrisy of White America

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This is what Kaepernick is talking about

[Speaking Truth To Power]

Since last Friday, many in White America have been criticizing San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick for his recent refusals to stand during the singing of the national anthem, which he’s doing in protest against the institutional racism that allows police to brutalize and kill Black people with impunity.

The real problem here is: the hypocrisy of a large segment of White America that takes issue with his protest—and not with the wretched racism he is protesting against.

Ever since his decision to sit while the national anthem was being played Colin Kaepernick has been attacked by many who claim his actions are supposedly "disrespectful." But Kaepernick, who is a supporter of the Black Lives Matter Movement, so far hasn’t been swayed by these detractors and made it clear he will continue his protest.

“I am not going to stand up to show pride for a country that oppresses Black people and people of color,” Kaepernick said. “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 also made it clear he will deal with whatever economic consequences or negative backlash that's maybe coming his way.

“This is not something that I’m going to run by anybody,” he said. “I am not looking for approval. I have to stand up for people that are oppressed…If they take football away, my endorsements from me, I know that I stood up for what is right.”

If only we had more Black athletes and celebrities who were willing to stand for what is right, like Kaepernick. Unfortunately, many of these folks exhibit no sense of solidarity with the Black community—even while we support them wholeheartedly.

Colin Kaepernick’s stance is righteous on so many levels and those criticizing him illustrate their hypocrisy. Quite tellingly, many of these outraged Americans, who have a problem with Mr. Kaepernick’s protest, say absolutely nothing about the serious issues he is speaking out against.Why aren’t these upstanding Americans saying anything about the widespread police violence and murder of Black people—that has now been fully exposed by videotape technology?

Many talk about him “disrespecting” the national anthem. Why should Black people respect something that never represented them, especially, when we are still being oppressed? Let’s remember this: Frances Scott Key, who wrote the Star Spangled Banner, was a racist slaveholder—who fought against abolitionists.

White America often gets apoplectic whenever some Black person doesn’t glorify certain symbols and institutions in the same way they do. The great Muhammad Ali was vilified because he refused to fight in the Vietnam War—and for denouncing American racism. Ali was clearly correct in his analysis.

Back in 1996, then NBA player Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf created a similar controversy like Kaepernick when he refused to stand during the singing of the Star Spangled Banner. He, rightly, stated the anthem and flag were symbols of the oppression and tyranny of African-Americans.

How can White American expect us to glorify these symbols, in the same way they do, given the horrific history we’ve had in this country—which we built, but were never given equal citizenship in? It's White America not Kaepernick that owes the nation some explaining.

The willful ignorance of White Americans in neglecting the divergent history of Black Americans is evident in the hypocrisy of those who’re outraged about Kaepernick’s protest and not about the racism that lies at the heart of the issues he raises.

The truth is: most Black Americans must suffer from some form of cognitive dissonance—a topic Dr. Joy DeGruy, author of the book “Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome” often talks about—when we sing the national anthem, or, salute the flag.

Many rail against the racist Confederate Flag. However, wasn’t the Stars and Stripes flying when Slavery became cemented into the country’s foundation?

All these symbols are rooted in the same systemic White supremacy and slave history that’s evident in the institutional racism we see in America. The bigotry, brutality and murder of Blacks by police has a bloody trail leading back to the origins of America’s police: when they were the slave patrollers—and when, the Second Amendment was instituted to recruit poor Whites to quell Slave revolts.

African-Americans, more than anyone, have earned the right with their blood, sweat, tears and death to protest against the anthem, or, any of these cherished symbols that are considered quintessentially American—because these things benefitted others, not us.

Moreover, there is no race in America better equipped to judge this country than Blacks—because our experiences included the grotesque side of America that many are always trying to whitewash from the history books. The real moral conscience of this country is Black people. And as such, if Black people don’t honestly critique America the true nature of this nation will remain lost in the lofty lies most Whites delude themselves with.

Imagine, we have all this hullabaloo regarding Mr. Kaepernick’s decision to sit during the singing of the anthem—but these same people have no outrage over those being murdered by killer-cops or the poverty and neglect and denial of economic opportunities and decent schools in many Black communities. Their stunning silence in these matters is tacit agreement with these barbaric acts against Blacks.

We should remind these upstanding folks that: in South Carolina, Officer Michael Slager the murderer of Walter Scott, who pumped shots into Scott’s back, was given bail—and is out walking the streets.

In Chicago, the same is true of Officer Jason Van Dyke who was given bail although he executed Laquan McDonald—who was walking away from officers. Why aren’t these phony patriotic people, who are attacking Kaepernick, saying anything about the murderers wearing badges who are being given bail?

Would any Black person who murdered police be given bail?

In Louisiana, we witnessed the execution of Alton Sterling by Officer Howie Lake and Officer Blane Salamoni. Any honest person who saw the videos of this killing—especially, how both officers had him pinned under a car before they shot him at point-blank range—knows that this was nothing more than cold blooded murder.

These murderers then hid behind Louisiana’s 30-day rule—whereby they can, “legally,” say nothing about why they shot Sterling, and have time to practice their lies.

Don’t these sanctimoniously hypocritical Americans have any anger for these kinds of displays of disrespect for Black lives?

Again, what we’re witnessing here is the two-facedness of those who care more about empty false symbolism than the lives of human beings—who they inwardly probably don’t regard as such. This is, no doubt, why many can go on without a care in their merry lives while Black Americans are brutalized everyday by police officers.

In the end, Colin Kaepernick’s protest is truly courageous and all African-Americans and Black people should stand with him. Mr. Kaepernick, unlike other athletes and celebrities has been brutally honest about the oppression that is plaguing our people.

It has been some time since an athlete has spoken truth to power in this way.

It is truly unfortunate we don’t have more Black athletes like him. Too many Black athletes and celebrities remain irresponsibly silent regarding brutal police racism—while they’ve no problem lecturing us about personal responsibility.

The corrupting influence of corporate money has muted the tongues of most, who are too scared of losing endorsement deals—and the adoration of their White friends.

At some point, Black America will have to decide if we want to continue supporting those who refuse, or, are too scared to speak up for us—unlike Colin Kaepernick. 

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