Colin Kaepernick’s ‘racial injustice protest’

ELAIDJA JOHNSON

Williamsport

I have decided to support an ongoing protest against racial injustice that was brought to light when NFL quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, decided to kneel during the recital of the National Anthem. The protest quickly spread to other NFL teams across the U.S., sitting and kneeling to show support for those who have been oppressed and do not have a voice. This protest has brought awareness to this serious topic and shows the importance of exercising your first amendment right to peacefully protest.

Kaepernick’s decision to kneel or sit during the National Anthem has brought conversation amongst people from different corners of the US on this matter. I believe that if using his social status or publicity brings awareness to a serious problem in America then it is appropriate and I completely support. Some of the audiences have had a negative reaction stating that his refusal to stand for the national anthem disrespects the people in the military who have and continue to put their lives on the line for the “freedom, liberty, and justice for all” of the people in America.

However Kaepernick, during an interview with the press, responded by saying “I have great respect for the men and women that have fought for this country. I have family, I have friends that have gone and fought for this country. And they fight for freedom, they fight for the people, they fight for liberty and justice, for everyone. That’s not happening.” I agree with this statement. His actions are merely to protest the inequality against minorities, not to show disrespect toward the military. Studies show that, “Sentences imposed on Black males in the federal system are nearly 20 percent longer than those imposed on white males convicted of similar crimes.” This is factual evidence showing the true existence of racial injustice.

The First Amendment states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” With this being so, I find it easy to support and respect the fact that Kaepernick is peacefully exercising his 1st amendment right. I am not the only one who thinks so either. Many Military personnel have come forward and shown their support for Kaepernick’s protest.

For example, in an open letter from American Military Veterans showing support for Kaepernick, it states that his actions are “Far from disrespecting our troops…” It continues by saying, “…there is no finer form of appreciation for our sacrifice than for Americans to enthusiastically exercise their freedom of speech.” Not only have there been support expressed through this letter but some have taken to twitter through the hashtag #veteransforkaepernick and #takeaknee. John Middlemas, a-97-year old World War II veteran, took a knee on Twitter in support of this protest, saying that “those kids have every right to protest.”

I think that it is important to understand that veterans put their lives on the line to protect the rights of an U.S citizen to protest peacefully. Therefore, Kaepernick’s actions are just, and many veterans are honored to know that they’re fighting for Kaepernick’s right to do exactly what he is doing.

I believe that in order to make a difference in the racial injustices in the United States, it is appropriate to protest in these ways. Not only do I believe it is appropriate but being able to exercise your right to protest is exactly what the military fights to protect.

Kaepernick’s decision to take pride in his rights does not make him against the military, but rather shows appreciation for the true things that the military fights for.

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