In America’s latest race related firestorm created by San Francisco 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick’s refusal to stand for the national anthem, it seems the whole country is now weighing in and taking sides. But since we’ve been monitoring this story both in the mainstream and social medias, there’s been little if any attention given to the core issue being debated: Black patriotism or the lack thereof.
When Colin Kaepernick took his stand (knee in this case) on the sidelines, many saw the act as unpatriotic and un-American. To many in White America, Kaepernick could have made his point a thousand other ways than refusing to place his hand over his heart and pay respect to what America (supposedly) stands for. That’s what Americans have been trained and expected to do from pre-school till death. And despite having the constitutional right not to do so, Black, White or otherwise, there’s a price to pay for not going along to get along.
But considering the historical and persistent racially charged atmospherics in America, we’re wondering if Black Americans should be held to the same standard and expectations when it comes to patriotic crap like the Stars and Stripes, My Country ‘Tis of Thee and America the Beautiful. These are foreign and meaningless concepts in the Black community.
Unfortunately, too many White Americans fail to fully comprehend the vast diversity of experiences “other” Americans face and endure in these United States. For many White Americans, America is something to be proud of, protective of and loved. And why not? White America has some really cool keywords associated with it. Keywords and phrases like the Founding Fathers, the United States Constitution, the Bill of Rights and of course, the best one of them all, Freedom. Who wouldn’t be willing to fight and die for stuff like that? But again, these too are meaningless concepts in the world of Black America.
The problem is, White America’s keywords and phrases are completely different from that of Black America’s. Were they the same as they should be, America wouldn’t be in such an uproar. While Black America’s few keywords and phrases are quite interesting, they’re hardly anything to be proud of, protective of or loved. When keywords and phrases like Slavery, Lynchings, Jim Crow, Racial Inequality, Police Brutality and Mass Incarceration litter the landscape of the Black experience, it’s difficult to understand why any Black American would be bursting with pride when the band starts playing the national anthem.
Considering the ugly history of America, one should be hard-pressed to find Black Americans happily saluting the flag or pledging his or her allegiance to the United States of America. From this observer’s perspective, it should be their duty not to salute the flag or pledge their allegiance to this country. And, if there’s anything more ludicrous than a Black American willing to fight and die for America, I’m sorry, but I just can’t think of it at the moment.
Bottom line: If after digesting the positions taken above, White America remains insistent upon engaging in this debate by viciously attacking Colin Kaepernick’s chosen method of peacefully protesting the unbridled and unaccountable violence against Black America, it would be helpful if it would provide a logical argument for its positions on the issue. We’d love to hear White America’s response. Otherwise, this country can expect more Black athletes, entertainers, celebrities and prominent citizens to join this protest.