Kneeling During the Anthem
The United States has witnessed what others describe as open rebellion towards the flag and the country at large. Many players have openly shown defiance towards the flag by kneeling when the national anthem is sung. The purpose of this research is to demystify the issue and prove that kneeling during the national anthem is not a way of disrespecting the country. Rather it is a strategy through which people make their voice known amidst the injustices in the country. Martin, in his book On Reparation of Slavery, says that “people of color have suffered injustices in the U.S. for the longest time yet they are citizens with equal rights”. He continues to say that black Americans continue to suffer racial injustices by being black and not any other reason. They have the same rights as white Americans, but they are consistently looked down upon because of the color of their skin. On the other hand, whites enjoy uncalled for privileges by having a white skin. The question arising from this is whether it is reasonable to protect the flag yet it is the very basis of divisions in the U.S. This research focuses on the reasons why kneeling is a show of togetherness and not just open defiance. It will be conducted through exploratory research where issues are brought to the light using extensive research through books, blogs, and journals.
Police Brutality and Inequality
People of color, mostly blacks, have always passed as suspects to the police in America (Nelson 32).Many hard-working blacks in stable employment have confirmed that they have been harassed by policemen just because they look suspicious. 2017 has turned out to be the worst for the black American population as many have been killed by police. According to statistics, the police have killed at least 223 black Americans in the recent years (Collinset al. 16). Kenney Watkins, an 18-year-old black teenager, was shot and murdered by the police who thought he had a gun. It is unfortunate that even kids have not been left out in the face of police brutality. In Salt Lake City, a 50-year-old man was shot and killed by the police. In the wake of police brutality, however, the white people have not been spared. The police in the U.S. shoot to kill at the slightest act of defiance more so if they suspect one is in possession of a gun (Nelson 35).The police have the duty to protect and defend American citizens, yet they have become the biggest threat to every American. The flag is supposed to be the symbol of liberty, protection, vigilance, and justice. However, police killings show so much injustice in the country. None of the policemen who have been accused of the murders have been convicted. Therefore, it does not make sense if one stands during the anthem yet the very country they are respecting are wiping out an entire race. Kneeling as the anthem is sung is entirely justified.
When white supremacists marched down the streets in Charlottesville bearing the Confederate flag, a harsh reality was sent to the entire world. Racism was still alive and rife in America. Young high school and college student covered their faces and joined the march. The fact that white supremacy is still in existence in America was borne out. African-Americans are well aware of the dark ages of the Confederate flag, the black regime of slavery (Martinet al. 75).Ironically, the president instead of condemning the violence that occurred as a result of the supremacist march decided to condemn both parties. One thing that is evident is that there could have been no violence if the white supremacists had not come out. Kneeling during the Anthem could, therefore, be an act showing the president that he has failed America. All Americans, black, white, or colored are equal according to the Constitution (Tushnet et al. 65). They all have equal rights by being American. Therefore, nobody should feel more entitled to the rights than ever. Tushnet goes ahead to say that indiscriminate killings of African-Americans are sure signs that democracy is not for all in America. Research has shown that unemployment is higher among the Blacks in America. Unemployment among blacks was 9.5% in 2015 compared to 4.5 % among the whites(Nelson 16).The disparity was blamed on race. White students attended more prestigious schools that placed them ahead in the job market than blacks. Even in residences, White Americans stay in more palatial homes while many blacks are confined in hoods where life is affordable. All these facts show that equality has not been achieved in America. The question is why people should stand up for a country that still thinks one race is more special than the other. Thus, kneeling justifies these historical injustices.
Rebellion against the President
When President Donald Trump was elected president in November 2016, a debate was sparked worldwide as he was loved and hated in equal measure. Trump is barely a year old in office however his tweets have shown Americans so much about their president. Trump has been quoted saying that he is ready to go on a war with North Korea at any time. His predecessor was, however, a rational man who strived to love all. Barrack Obama, elected the first black president of the United States redefined American politics. He pleased the masses with his eloquent speeches that drew love across both the divides(Hicks 5). The two-term president put in place measures that ensured all Americans had access to affordable health. Obama promoted a doctrine of compromise that was self-serving rather than pragmatic and strategic ideas (Hicks24).Trump, the Republican president, has opted to rule America with sheer force and has attempted to do away with the social programs and public protection schemes that were implemented by Obama. Trump’s slogan of making America great again has been the very undoing of the country. His controversial tweets on fake news and his bigoted opinions have divided the country. Kneeling during the anthem could be an act of open rebellion towards the regime and the president (Collins et al. 55).The president is the country’s protector meaning that he should be impartial in his views and tolerate everyone regardless of their race. The athletes who kneel during the national anthem are passing some message to the country and the president at large. President Trump further called for the dismissal of the athletes who had knelt for the flag and called them names. His action triggered countrywide protests from many black athletes who knelt in solidarity. Maybe it is the time that the president focused on police brutality and unemployment in America and become the driver of the much-needed change.
To answer the research question, qualitative methods were used in which extensive research on books and journals was undertaken. From a survey carried out, it was also discovered that many Americans are happy with the steps football teams have taken in fighting injustices. Many elderly Americans interviewed were of the opinion that kneeling by the NFL players passes an important message to the world and it is the president took necessary action. However, some Americans, mostly whites were opposed to kneeling as they thought it was a sign of disrespect to the flag. Interviews were also conducted, and here, young Black American students and white students between the ages of 15-24 were selected. It was discovered that 96% unanimously agreed that the primary cause of kneeling during anthems was the indiscriminate police killings. They expressed concern that the President should speak out positively instead of inciting the athletes.
It is evident that the whole idea of kneeling during the anthem was to air concerns about the injustices in the country. Many NFL players were involved in the brutal police killings that spared not even the pregnant women. The fault was belonging to the ‘wrong’ race. Many African-Americans confirmed that they often pass as suspicious to police officers even when innocent. There is need to stop the extra-judicial killings in America. The system is eliminating an entire race with no convictions of the killers. Kneeling is not rebellion to the system but a protest mechanism. The act itself has captured the attention of the whole world as never before has there been such courage. Systematic oppression against African-Americans, police brutality and the criminal justice system has to come to an end. In the words of John F Kennedy, conformity is the jailer of freedom and the enemy of growth. The players have chosen not to conform to the set rules to give Americans a second liberation, and with these developments, the country needs to go back to its right path.
Collins, Allyson, and Cynthia Brown. Shielded from Justice: Police Brutality and Accountability in the United States. New York: Human Rights Watch, 1998.
Hicks, Peter. Barack Obama: President for Change. New York: Power Kids Press, 2011.
Martin, Michael T. Redress for Historical Injustices in the United States: On Reparations for Slavery, Jim Crow, and Their Legacies. Durham [u.a.: Duke Univ. Press, 2007. Nelson, Jill. Police Brutality: An Anthology. , 2000..
Tushnet, Mark V, Mark A. Graber, and Sanford Levinson. The Oxford Handbook of the U.s. Constitution. , 2015.