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Friday, November 27, 2020

Columns

Protesting is a proud part of our history


The U.S. is a country built on protests and defiance.

Colin Kaepernick’s refusal to stand for the national anthem isn’t that different from what U.S. citizens have done for hundreds of years, but most have fallen into the race-baiting trap due to media coverage and have forgotten what it means to be an American.

When colonials felt oppressed by the British, they started a revolution. When slaves were tired of being brutalized, they rebelled. When women wanted to be empowered as more than housewives, they started a movement.

It is nearly a guarantee that viewers will see at least one race-fueled segment on the nightly news.

We’ll see a young black man or woman who has been shot and/or killed on the streets unjustly, followed by a recap of some Black Lives Matter protest that took place in response to the shooting.

Because the media is aware of how high the racial tension is in the country, it is unsurprising to discover that a majority of white Americans are angry and do not truly understand why Kaepernick knelt.

It’s a hypocritical attitude that most have taken when it comes to equal rights.

When blacks first began staging sit-ins and Freedom Rides in 1961, most whites didn’t approve, believing that blacks should be content with the rights they did have.

Still, the Ku Klux Klan’s organizing of offensive, pro-white rallies that have been happening for years isn’t typically challenged because of the First Amendment. The media usually only covers the rallies when Black Lives Matter is involved; there’s no concern about the fear upon confronting men in white sheets and burning crosses.

When it comes to guns, Americans are the first to spout the Second Amendment and plot to defy the government should a law affects their gun rights. Going against the government is an unpatriotic thing to do for , yet many have it down to a science when it comes to gun control.

When the Nevada ranchers staged their armed protests, many Americans were right there with them. They believed what they stood for would impact their lives from then on.

It is easy to tag Kaepernick as some treasonous villain, but the controversy of his protest shows that the national anthem doesn’t hold the same meaning to everyone.

In the black community, the tenuous truce between the anthem and the people will always be challenged — as it has in the past.

In 1972, baseball icon Jackie Robinson wrote in his autobiography, “I cannot salute the flag; I know that I am a black man in a white world. In 1972, in 1947, at my birth in 1919, I know that I never had it made.”

During the 1968 Mexico City Olympics, runners Tommie Smith and John Carlos raised their fists during the national anthem to honor the Civil Rights Movement, which was deemed a “public display of petulance.”

As much as white Americans would like to deny it, the “Star-Spangled Banner” has never been a “one-size-fits-all” anthem. If anything, it is steeped in a brutal history of degradation toward blacks and written by a slaves, to which ‘land of the free’ did not apply.

A majority of the blacks have embraced the anthem and stand for it. But the moment that their belief in it is swayed, they are criticized, publicly castigated for feeling a certain way and called “childish” and “unpatriotic.”

No right in the U.S. has ever been granted by sitting quietly. It would be hypocritical of Americans to think so.

Opinion columnist Caprice Carter is a communication junior and can be reached at [email protected]

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