By David Jordan Jr
San Francisco 49ers star quarterback Colin Kaepernick has recently been the subject of disapproval by “Patriotic” Americans due to his stance on the United States Of America national anthem and his protest of the treatment and oppression of black Americans in this country. A silent protest of simply not standing during the playing/singing of the national anthem before the start of his games has caused the loudest and most obscure reactions by so many Americans that claim to be for justice and righteous of all people in this country. Colin’s stance is deeper than football, deeper than unjustified killings of blacks by police officers in America; Kaepernick’s stance is to reiterate the fact that the liberties and things celebrated in the national anthem were not originally written with the interest of black people’s inclusion in this nation. Black people were considered three fifths of a person in this country at the time the Star Spangled Banner was written; not a complete human being that mattered for anything else besides picking cotton and tobacco. The people (both black and white) that consider Kaepernick’s stand to be unpatriotic must acknowledge the facts in his protest; all of the statistics in regard to black Americans in this country are pretty accurate and in the grand scheme of things, living conditions for the majority of black Americans in this country are below average. An examination of economics and the judicial system points out the obvious and biased flaws that populate the day to day lives of black Americans. Many people feel that Kaepernick should just shut up and play football or in other words “Run Nigger Run and be grateful for the millions you make playing a game.” Critics say that there is a different way for him to protest and that the football field is not the place for him to protest. My question to those critics is where is the right place for him to protest and how should he protest? Considering his 1st Amendment right, he has the liberty to protest and express his views. The Klu Klux Klan, an organization that is based strictly on hate and has a explosive history of terrorizing and murdering blacks in this country, doesn’t receive the same criticism; they are readily accepted.
Clemson football coach Dabo Swinney is the most recent person to chastise Mr. Kaepernick and his decision to not honor an anthem that does not address him. As with any citizen in this country, Swinney has the right to express his opinion, but his opinion is very well misinformed and uneducated. In his criticizing of the 49ers quarterback, Swinney used the card that a lot of white people tend to use when it comes to addressing racism and how racism should be addressed in this country; he pulled the MLK card. During his speaking to the press, Swinney quoted Martin Luther King Jr and stated how he was such a great man of non violence and how he changed the world. What Swinney did not acknowledge was the fact that MLK was the most hated man in America when he was alive and that MLK was killed by the America which in 2016 celebrates his life. MLK stood for nonviolence, yet it was violence that stemmed from hate of him being a strong black man fighting for civil and human rights as a black man in a racist country that ended his life in Memphis,TN. Swinney along with many others tend to use MLK as the poster boy for how black people should go about seeking racial equality and justice, neglecting the fact that he was not the only person to seek justice and human rights for black citizens in the United States of America. Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and the Black Panthers are just a few of the many other black people and organizations that have sought equality for blacks in a variety of ways, yet were all met with violence in their peaceful demonstrations and resourceful endeavors. The aforementioned people were alive in this country a little over fifty short years ago, speaking about the same lack of liberties and injustices plaguing black people that still exist today. This fact is why there is a supreme value in Kaepernick’s stance. In 1996, Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf took a similar stance in regard to the national Anthem as he opted to not be present (and then eventually praying through the anthem) during it’s singing/playing because the practices of the country and acts of violence and injustices did not align with his Islamic faith and his practices of peace. Abdul-Rauf was vilified for his beliefs and heavily criticized, being called unpatriotic among nicer things.
As Swinney continued his rant on why Kaepernick was wrong, he began speaking about the advancements of black people; he spoke of there being a black president, black quarterbacks and black coaches in the NFL, black CEOs and black NBA owners. Yes there are blacks that hold those positions in those respective fields Coach Swinney, but the number of them can be counted on all of our fingers and toes. Racism is just as prominent as it’s ever been in America Coach Swinney. If you can point to certain blacks holding certain positions and can count them that is not advancement; that is simply INCLUSION. The fact that you have to put your race on a job application negates any statement about equality and advancement in race relations in America. Why should I have to tell my potential employer that I am a black man/woman to be considered for a job if I have the needed education, experience and job qualifications for the position? I can’t count the number of white owners in professional sports in America but I can count the number of black owners in professional sports. Is this advancement? Rewind a few months ago to the Super Bowl and Carolina Panthers star Cam Newton was lynched by the media for celebrating on field success in the same media that has publicly lynched Colin Kaepernick for speaking his mind on the treatment of blacks. Why would Kaepernick hold a press conference so that his words can be reduced into sound bites that cater to a bigger agenda and cause even greater division that you say his protest is creating? Coach Swinney, you speak of a two term African American President being a dream for Martin Luther King Jr, but do you think MLK would be applauding the fact that President Barack Obama is the most disrepected President in the history of the United States? Coach Swinney you are correct in acknowledging the things that have transpired in this country over the years, but your viewpoint is extremely shallow in the fact that you are seemingly ignoring the problems which still exist in so many areas for black people in this country. Colin Kaepernick’s stand may be dividing in your eyes, but nonetheless his stance is creating another discussion that may one day create an avenue for change.
By David Jordan Jr