I’ve been thinking a lot about patriotism, in light of the recent uproar with Colin Kapepernick deciding not to stand for the national anthem, and I can honestly say that I don’t see what the big deal is. He sat because he is dissatisfied with the current situation of police brutality in our country. It’as simple as 1+1=2……
So I have to admit that the backlash he is receiving makes me a bit angry. It seems that the same people who are so furious that he decided not to stand, are the same ones who constantly complain that their rights are being infringed upon. Furthermore, these are the people who celebrate the United States for being the land of the “free and brave.” So, correct me if I’m wrong, but doesn’t that includes the freedom to sit or stand for the national anthem if one choses to do so?
In reality, it seems that that isn’t the case. Is one only free to do as one pleases when it coincides with YOUR beliefs and principles? If so, keep reading.
As a black woman here in the U.S., that’s exactly how I feel. I am not truly free here. I am only free to do what the majority sees as fit. Everything else will be deemed as deviant behavior and some sort of backlash will be received.
I am also angry because it seems as if in the U.S. there are only two options. 1) Be a hardcore “Merican” who is extremely patriotic and loves my country to death, or 2) be an ungrateful “American” who should just “leave if I am not satisfied.” Apparently there is no in between. And APPARENTLY my protest options are extreeeemly limited and no matter what I protest or how I do it, I’m just an ungrateful citizen.
A. Supports #BlackLivesMatter = ungrateful for the opportunities that blacks receive in the U.S. in comparison with “Africa.” OR thinks #BlackLives are more valuable than other lives.
B. Sits during national anthem = America hater and citizen who is ungrateful for the good police officers and soldiers who have died in the line of duty protecting me.
C. Marches against injustice for x-cause (women’s rights, minority rights, gay rights, etc.) = ungrateful for how far x-group has come since oh, I don’t know, the 50’s or something.
Oh, and lets not forget that all of these methods of protest could’ve been “more peaceful. ”
Literally. I. Can’t. Even.
What could possibly be more “peaceful” than sitting down?
Can someone please enlighten me? The last time I checked, our country has reached its current position because dissatisfied citizens were brave enough to fight back against the injustices they were dealt. Women did not receive the right to vote because they sat at home preparing meals and cleaning. Desegregation did not occur because MLK decided to be content with how far blacks had already come. Gays did not receive the right to marry by accepting civil unions and thinking “oh gee, I’m so glad that at least I can have a civil union with the one I love! At least I’m not in the Middle East.”
NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. Jeez I’m getting worked up just writing about this because the ignorance and one sided opinions that people posses continually blow my mind to the point where I really am beginning to think it’s hopeless.
Now you may be reading this and pointing a finger saying “No! You’re the one who has the one sided opinion!” I assure you not, my friend. I have traveled to 4 of the 7 continents and have visited over 7 countries ranging from third world countries to first world ones like ours. I know what its like to not have equal rights to men. I’ve lived for over a month without electricity, limited drinking water, extensive flooding, no religious freedom and the list goes on. So I can tell you, I am privileged to be in the U.S. where I am paid to go to school, and suffer from first world problems such as not having “cold” drinking water. But let me give you a metaphor that I really hope will clear things up.
Your best friend (let’s bring back our good ol’ pal Bob) is an amazing person. He volunteers in soup kitchens, gives food to abandoned animals, is highly educated, and loves everyone unconditionally. But, Bob is addicted to meth. Do you:
A. look the other way because he has so many other amazing assets? You’re complacent and think, “maybe one day Bob will change.” “Bob’s done so much for so many people! I can’t possibly be dissatisfied with him!” “So screw the meth, Bob! Your other accomplishments make up for the meth addiction. And you know what? You haven’t harmed me in anyway so we are gooood. Maybe those other people you’ve harmed should’ve cut ties with you sooner. Or maybe they’re meth addicts too and they wouldn’t be in their current situation if they would’ve been a good law abiding citizen, like me, and not do meth.”
B. are you brave and, although it may be difficult and hurt him in the beginning, you stand up to his flaw and do what you can to push him to get treatment. Maybe even being so harsh as to say “I will not continue to be your friend and support you until you change.”
Think about the other implications each of these options presents you. In option B, just because you want Bob to get help doesn’t mean you can’t recognize and aren’t grateful for all of the good that Bob has done. All of the sacrifices he’s made spending countless hours in those soup kitchens and pet shelters. But you just can’t support a meth addiction! Not only is it harmful to Bob, it also puts others in danger because although good Bob helps so many people, bad/ high on meth Bob can be dangerous and may even go to extreme lengths to get his next fix.
So on that note friends, I know which option I’d choose.
Which of these two options would you choose?
As I wrap up this post, I cannot stress enough that to stand up (or sit down) in protest of a cause does not make you ungrateful or ignorant to the good in the world. It simply makes you dissatisfied with that specific thing you are protesting. As a society, we can only truly progress by putting ourselves in the shoes of our brothers and sisters. I am not gay/lesbian but I can be empathetic to that group. I am not Muslim, but I can fight for Muslim’s rights and understand that everyone is entitled to believe or not believe in whichever God they want. I am not white, but I can understand that many whites cannot see our problems because for them, those problems don’t exist. I am a black woman and I do not feel completely free in the United States of America. So I ask that you try and understand why some of us chose not to stand for the national anthem who’s lyrics read “for the land of the free, and the home of the brave.” And until the land of the free includes everyone; Muslims, transgenders, Blacks, Latinos, etc. I will continue to sit (and hope that those who are famous and can reach people on a larger platform continue to do so). All in the hopes of bringing change to our great country as did those brave souls before me, who fought for me to be able to sit where I want on a bus, drink from whichever public fountain I want, go to the school I want, and vote for which government official I want.
*As always, my posts are not to offend or to make anyone “feel bad.” Although if you do, I think that may be a good thing because it means you are finally starting to take a look at things from a perspective other than your own. And that is beautiful because it means that you my friend, are on your way to change.*