Colin Kaepernick Is Forcing You To Look In The Mirror
Colin Kaepernick, a mixed race man adopted by white parents, is not standing for the national anthem because of the historical and ongoing treatment of people of color in the United States. As a black man, let me be the first (I’m sure I’m not) to stand up and give this man a slow clap like I did when my man Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf (the former Chris Jackson) did the same thing.
I don’t care that he isn’t the player he once was. I don’t care that he’s rich. I do care that he has a platform and is using it to make people look in the mirror and examine how much bigotry and racism they are willing to tolerate.
I’m not even sure why we’re even supposed to consider this to be a big deal. Like most things originating in 1814, the national anthem is racist as hell.
The poem known as the Defense of Fort McHenry, which later became the song known as the Star Spangled Banner, was written by Francis Scott Key. Key was a slave owner and a proponent of sending blacks back to Africa and a vehement enemy of the abolitionist movement.
Key was also a lawyer who defended the rights of runaway slaves from being sent back to abusive owners (as he didn’t believe in beating slaves) and earned the disparaging nickname the “Nigger Lawyer.” It seems he was as contradictory as the nation whose anthem he wrote.
“And where is that band who so vauntingly swore,
That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion
A home and a Country should leave us no more?
Their blood has wash’d out their foul footstep’s
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave,
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.”
Not sure how anyone can ignore this incredibly racist third verse of the song that seems to call for the deaths of slaves and poor people for some reason. It’s almost as if the deaths of the poor and people of color are an ingrained part of Americana that we should or have been told to ignore for some reason for the greater good (white people).
Black People And The Military
The national anthem isn’t about the military as much as it is about rowdy Baltimoreans spilling out of the many bars near Fort McHenry and saving America. Most black people aren’t in the military due to an overwhelming love of country. They’re there because they have problems, want to go away to reinvent themselves, grew up in the hood with limited or no other opportunities, or they need money for college.
Black people look at American history from two perspectives. The first is what a person did that was of historical significance. The second is how this person treated black people. You could be the most decorated and highly respected person in American history but if there’s evidence that you didn’t care about black people, we’re not going to care all that much about you.
By the way, has anyone realized or admitted that Colin Kaepernick is right? When police, who represent the authority of government in this country, are brutalizing and murdering black men and women almost every day across this land, are not punished or, at the very least, removed from their positions of power, I think it’s appropriate for Colin Kaepernick to vent his rage by simply refusing to stand in salute of the flag that for him represents oppression.
The entire country may not engage in this oppression, but that doesn’t mean a lot. To remain silent when others suffer makes one as guilty as if they were the oppressor themselves. It took enormous courage to do what Colin Kaepernick did, particularly in the face of the ensuing hysteria and backlash. For those opposing him, professing a need for actual equality is the cause of “unnecessary strife” and not the equality issues themselves.