#TakeTheKnee

What it’s really about

We all know about football players kneeling during the national anthem. Months ago it was all over the news, CNN was debating over it, and even Trump had some words to say about it during one of his rallies. After that, it all blew up in a negative light. A simple protest got twisted into something it wasn’t about. The more I saw people complaining about it the madder I got. Trump put something out there and suddenly people were eating it up and reciting his words without wanting to understand.

For one, Colin Kaepernick started kneeling during preseason and even explained it had to do with police brutality and systematic barriers. The flag is supposed to represent justice and liberty, the land of the free, but that is not the reality for people of color living in America, for those who are oppressed and find themselves in various systematic traps. All over social media and all over the news, I saw people calling everyone who took the knee to protest these injustices disrespectful.  Kneeling during the national anthem, though it had to do with the symbolism of the flag, was never about disrespecting the American Flag and had absolutely nothing to do with troops who fight for our country. Instead, it was a criticism and a peaceful, silent protest about how our country operates by someone with a platform to reach millions of people. I refuse to believe Trump was clever enough to purposefully misdirect the conversation, but I wouldn’t put it past him to silence those speaking out. That’s something white nationalist and supremacists do well. I will confidentially say he did a damn good job of misinterpreting the conversation and spreading false information.

What really got to me was the hypocrisy and irony of it all. If we want to talk about disrespecting the flag, we should probably have a discussion about the way it is capitalized. If we want to talk about disrespecting our troops, we should probably have a discussion about the way America treats them after they’ve completed their service and returned back home. It is so ironic to me that as a country we preach freedom but essentially refuse those the right to protest by making it unnecessarily difficult to do so, even when it’s done quietly. Kaepernick had something to say, a conversation to start, and he used his voice to do so. It’s ridiculous that the conversation turned the way it did. After reading this, if you have a problem with kneeling during the national anthem, I hope you understand why. I’ve got a couple guesses.

Let’s Get Serious

Promoting Social Justice

Discrimination and oppression are serious problems in America’s history. With Trump being your president, others are made to feel safe in promoting these ideologies of hate and intolerance, supporting Confederate propaganda as if that’s a part of our history that we should be proud of. America is a society that consistently covers up any faults. It appears like the only people who seem to remember America’s shortcomings are the same ones who were and still are oppressed and discriminated against as a consequence of those faults. When people try to have a conversation about how they were and are being mistreated, about America’s problems in the past and present, others start to get hyper-reactive, shutting it down in a way where no one is allowed to have an open and honest conversation. People are so busy trying to distance themselves from wrongdoings and our history, as if that’ll give them some sort of deniable accountability, that they stop listening, walk away, and react without even being educated on the topic in the first place. They spout things they’ve only heard, that they cannot exactly back up or defend.

I used to hate talking about politics and social justice. At first discussing it made me uncomfortable, partly because I worried about learning people in my life, whether acquaintances or friends, discriminate through their beliefs and actions. If you’re for or against tax cuts, it doesn’t really matter to me. Yes I have my opinions but if yours are different that’s your prerogative. However, building a wall to keep people out, telling those immigrants to go home as if someone in your family wasn’t once an immigrant, attempting to control woman, killing black people unarmed in the streets, chanting All Lives Matter, and overall white supremacy; that shit affects people’s lives in an extreme way. Condoning and defending it is something I truly don’t and never will understand, no matter how hard I try.

Some of the most common explanations I have seen for the amount of racism, sexism and other discrimination cases are as follows:

  • It’s just increased as time goes on.
    • False. Because of technology we are able to record things and spread them online. We also live in a time where people seem to be more brave in making their stories known because in some cases people are starting to take action.
  • You can have your beliefs and I can have mine.
    • True, but saying you think apple pie is better than pumpkin pie or your belief or lack thereof in God are way less detrimental than saying you think an entire group of people is harmful for the country. By thinking this way, or supporting someone who does, you are ruining a countless number of lives physically, mentally, and emotionally solely based upon stereotypes and fear. That’s not okay and by thinking it is further proves you are in a place of privilege. Please re-evaluate your beliefs.
  • I’m just being honest.
    • If your beliefs surround the practicing of racism, sexism, and other forms of discrimination you have some serious self evaluation to do. Also, please educate yourself. I despise living in a world where I have to deal with others’ consequences of their own ignorance. Just saying.
  • You took it the wrong way.
    • Or, you said something out of pocket. Just because it was acceptable back in the day doesn’t mean and is actually more likely a testament to the fact it’s not okay to say now. If you don’t know, back in the day women couldn’t vote, Japanese people were forced into internment camps, and black people were property. I’d say some traditions and sayings aren’t meant to last.
  • This has nothing to do with race, sex, etc.
    • Maybe it does. Especially if it seems like an exception, especially if it has a history of repeating itself. People point these things out for a reason. Society does a brilliant job of taking jabs at groups and painting them in a certain light in a way you wouldn’t realize until you open your eyes to actually see it.

My biggest pet peeve when it comes to politics and social justice is the “sensitive” copout. People always complain “Those millennials are sensitive. People are so sensitive nowadays. Political correctness ruins jokes. Political correctness sucks.” etc. etc. It’s as if people put blame on other people rather than taking responsibility for their own actions. When stories come out of people’s lives being ruined for saying something racist, homophobic, sexist, etc. people continue to paint them as the victim instead of the perpetrator. Call me heartless, but I don’t feel bad that you received consequences for your actions. By turning a blind eye, you’re essentially telling them what they did is okay. If you see a little kid writing on the the wall with a crayon they’re going to keep writing until you tell them to stop and make it known that it’s not acceptable.

Social justice is something I am passionate about. In daily conversations, partly due to my shyness and partly to avoid being that loud, angry, political black girl, I’ve been known to hold my tongue. Plus, during the times I have pointed something out or given my own opinion, it is often overlooked. Because I started this blog and because it is something I think is super important, if I don’t discuss the injustices I have witnessed, heard about, or experienced I’ll be another person turning a blind eye. This is just my way of saying that I’ll be sharing my viewpoint on controversial topics. My goal is not to alienate and not to persuade, necessarily, but to educate on my perspective, whether different and similar to yours. In that way it will cause you to think about your own beliefs. I like debating  and I like to be educated so if I say something wrong or something you disagree with, let me know and we can discuss. It’s easy to use ignorance as an excuse so I’m here in the hopes to decrease my and other people’s ignorance. Politics and social justice affect everyone. If it is something that makes you uncomfortable, it is proof that it is not discussed openly enough. It serves as more of a reason to have a discussion about it; avoidance is never a beneficial solution.