I have thought long and hard about whether or not I should post what I am about to say. At the end of the day though this blog is supposed to be a reflection of who I am, and that includes my thoughts and opinions.
Since the beginning of American history people of color have been oppressed decade after decade. Although slavery and segregation have been abolished, the lingering effects of racism and discrimination are still present in today’s society.
As someone who is biracial talking about this kind of stuff can be challenging because in no way am I anti-white, but I do consider myself to be pro-black. What’s taking place in our country right now shouldn’t be acceptable to anyone, no matter their race.
Over the past five years, the #BlackLivesMatter movement has taken off as a response to the countless acts of police brutality on African Americans. There have been marches, boycotts, peaceful protests, protests that turned violent, basically everything we were taught about the Civil Rights Era during school, is happening now.
Many celebrities have used their platforms to speak out on these issues, but in my opinion, no one has taken quite a stand as the San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
Now unless you have been living under a rock these past few weeks, you should know that Kaepernick has chosen to sit/kneel during the National Anthem before the start of his football games.
The criticism and praise he has received from this simple action have been insane. Not only did his jersey shoot to #1 in sales but, he is also the reason behind #boycottNFL.
Personally, I think there are many other reasons to boycott the NFL, for instance, domestic abuse, substance abuse, concussions…and so on. But people have decided that someone kneeling for a few minutes during the opening ceremony is worse than the previously mentioned items.
With all the fuss over his actions, the message Kaepernick is trying to share has been lost. He is trying to shine a light on the injustice and inequality that is still very much real and alive in America.
What he is doing is not intended to discredit the brave men and women who have, and continue to fight and defend our country and our freedoms. He is trying to bring awareness to a subject that has been swept under the rug decade after decade.
He is also not making this an anti-white issue. I mean honestly, he is biracial and was adopted and raised by white parents. As someone who is also biracial, and was raised by her white mom in a predominantly white town, in the south, I can only imagine the stress and confliction he must have felt, and still probably feels about his decision.
It is hard being a biracial individual who feels strongly about the injustices half of our culture endures. It can feel like you’re trapped because you don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, but at the same time, as you get older you get tired of never voicing your opinion.
That’s about the point I am at now, and that seems to be where Colin Kaepernick is as well.
I understand why people are upset by what he is doing, and they have a right to feel that way. But Kaepernick has that same right as well.
Another point that I feel keeps getting forgotten or looked over by the media is that he is not just kneeling. He is actually making a change within his community.
In a recent interview, Kaepernick pledged to donate the first $1 million he earned to organizations that work in communities to better the relationships between the people of the community and the law enforcement. He made the same promise with the money he will receive from his recent increase in jersey sales.
Kaepernick has started a movement. Across the country, thousands of people are joining him in kneeling during the National Anthem. Not only are other NFL players taking a knee, but many African-American high school athletes are too.
I give a special shout-out to all of the young African American men and women who are brave enough to take a stand in front of their peers. It’s hard enough to not give into peer pressure, but to take a knee in front of not only their peers, but their administrators and parents take a whole lot of courage. I’m not sure I had that courage when I was in high school.
I kneel with Kaepernick. He is not backing down from what he believes in. Hopefully, his actions will start conversations within communities about the injustice that still lives in our country.
I kneel with Kaepernick because he is inspiring a younger generation to have a reason to have passion and a fire within themselves to stand up for what they believe in.
I kneel with Kaepernick because as a young biracial woman he has inspired me to not be afraid to stand up for what I feel and believe is right. He has shown me that it is ok to defend and take a public stand for my black side, while still loving and appreciating everything about my white side.
With the donations he is making into the community, as well as police officers like Officer Norman from North Little Rock, AR, I believe that we will begin to see a change.
This isn’t going to happen overnight, it might not even happen in the next five years. All that matters is that conversations are being started, policies are being reevaluated and all parties are held equally accountable for their actions.
I have felt passionately about this topic for many years, I just haven’t had a platform, or the courage to properly share my voice.