When I hear “take a knee” I think of when I was playing softball as a kid and a player would get hurt and you took a knee while they helped the kid. As I got older this tradition kept up, followed by thunderous applause when the player was moving off the field, in the countless football games I went to (high school and college) the players would take a knee as a kind of sign of respect.
Recently, athletes have decided to take a knee during the national anthem against oppression in America. Many people have voiced their opinions on how and why it was in good or poor taste. Some people are disgusted with the lack of respect of the country that allows them to play these sports. Others are in full support of them because they agree with their cause. And still others support them because they fought for their right to kneel if they so choose.
Though I found it disrespectful the first time Kaepernic sat through the national anthem, the narrative I respected was that of the military and veterans alike who made it clear they fought for him not to stand, as much as they fought for the right for everyone else to be upset about it. That is the beauty and the weakness of this country. You have all the freedom to stand up for what you believe is right, the problem is it could actually tear a country in half.
I understand their reasons for kneeling, but I don’t see it changing what they want to change. I really don’t see how kneeling through a song (that shows unity) on national TV once a week for a few months will erase (or even minimize) racism.
Once during the anthem of my school’s football game girls behind me decided to not just talk through the anthem but almost got louder (as if the anthem was disruptive to their conversation). I turned around and asked them to stop talking for the remainder of the song (to the horror of my friends with me) and they did but not without making some horrific faces at me and exclaiming, “WHAT?” I was glad they decided to move before kickoff! All that being said, I do appreciate these players are remaining silent during the anthem and showing a portion of the respect I believe it should receive.
In Kindergarten we were taught not to call names, to treat people with respect, to share our crayons, clean up after yourself, and to take naps. If both sides can finally learn these lessons we can move forward in society. To make a change, you don’t have to say a word. You change your heart, your speech, and your mindset and teach your children your new and improved views and we will have a great society ready to succeed in the next milenia. I swear, sometimes the entire country just needs a fuzzy blanket, warm fresh cookies, and a LONG nap. And hopefully when everyone wakes up after these lessons have sunk in, we will still see the flag flying high and everyone standing to honor the unity it represents.
I cannot help but feel pride in the county and of the people that have persevered through the many years of oppression and tribulation. Our flag survived. Our country survived. And yet now we are pulling each other apart at the seams over a sign of unity, hard work, opportunities, voting, and independence. It is 2017, and as we scream for equality and unity, we could NOT be more divided.
ALL this being said: I was upset, I may have been offended in the beginning… but then I remembered as a christian, I am called not to judge. It is not my place to judge any person for what they choose to do especially when they believe it is the right thing. God is the only one who can judge, and I highly doubt he will judge us based on our patriotism. So sit, stand, sing along, or put your hand over your heart just keep in mind those who gave you that right to choose.
For the record the things that have changed since August 26, 2016 when kaepernick first sat through the anthem:
- in 2016 out of 963 people shot by police 233 were black reference
- as of Sept 2017 out of 730 people shot by police 164 have been black reference
- in 2016 the black unemployment rate was 8.8 reference
- in 2017 it is 7.7 reference
- in 2016 the KKK was active in 37 states reference
- in 2017 the KKK is active in 42 states
- The estimated 427,910 children in foster care on September 30, 2015 unfortunately these numbers are not reviewed frequently not even a 2016 database was accessible. reference
- in 2016 out of 67,891,000 people on welfare, 26,884,000 are black reference
- according to the census the percent of black people with a 4 year degree is 22.5 reference
- homelessness has seen an increase from 2,794 to 3,892 from 2016 to 2017 though it is incredibly difficult to count the homeless population resource I resource II
Were ANY of these things changed (for better or worse) based on taking a knee?
There are still far too many children not receiving proper education. Far too many children in a broken foster system. Far too many people starving. Far too many people homeless. Far too many people watching people complain for a change and then complain more when there isn’t one.
**I am not denying there are problems, that there are people who are racist or sexist, that there are things that need to get better. There just has to be a better way to go about it.**