This has been weighing on my heart for quite some time. Before I went to bed last night I shared a story on Facebook, which you can read HERE.
We live in America “the home of the Brave and the land of the Free.” The place where we are supposed to be able to say what’s on our mind without the fear of persecution, the place where we are supposed to believe in whatever we choose to believe. The place where we can bare arms, legally b/c it’s our right. So, why so often are we not able to indulge in our “certain inalienable rights”? Are Americans really free??
A major headline this week has been Colin Kaepernick’s choice to not stand for the National Anthem. Colin expressed his reasoning for doing so, “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.” This sincerely gives me chills. The oppression of people of color in our country has been happening for nearly 400 years. Finally in 2016, WE THE PEOPLE, are tired of the oppression.
I find it very difficult as a “woke” white woman [of privilege] in America to be patriotic when I see such horrific atrocities occurring against my neighbors. I decided a long time ago to start trying to refrain from using such terms as “them” “they” when referring to my brothers and sisters of different races, or religious backgrounds because “they” are not different from me, “they” are just like me. We are human beings. We are Americans. We all deserve equity in this country.
From a very young age, I have always been very patriotic. The National Anthem is often a song that brings tears to my eyes to think of the hundreds of thousands of lives lost to protect my freedom. I have found as I have gotten older that the tears that stream down my face during the National Anthem are not tears of gratitude for the soldiers who’ve died to protect me, but instead are tears of sadness for the lives that are not protected within our country’s borders. They are tears of sadness for the veterans who fight for our freedoms and yet come home to a place where their lives are no longer appreciated. Although I may speak in generalizations, it’s the greater picture I’m looking at. It’s the faces of color that wear our military fatigues with the Star Spangled Banner on the sleeves, that fight for our freedoms every single day in countries clear across the world and yet their children, their friends, their families are NOT free in the country for which they lay down their life! How can I be patriotic to that??
Blind patriotism is something I’ve been living in for years. I’ve been conditioned to believe in the IDEOLOGY of FREEDOM, and what a beautiful ideology it is. But it’s just that, an ideology.
The future of our country leaves me with a sense of excitement and fear. There is a revolution occurring in our beautiful country today. I find it inspiring that Colin Kaepernick chooses NOT to stand for the National Anthem in PROTEST.
Having a conversation with my aunt last weekend, I was expressing my support of Colin Kaepernick. I was expressing my opinion on how black people and people of color in this country are valued based on the entertainment they bring to our society as a whole. They are treated as jesters in a high court: for our entertainment. Honestly, how fucked up is that? We put value on people of color based on their entertainment value! Athletes, actors, actresses, musicians. If “they” didn’t have these “super-human” qualities, would we treat them the same? The answer is obviously NO. How on earth can I say that? Because every single day in America if you are not of a particular class worthy of our applause, you are nothing, and treated as such.
I found myself in that conversation saying how I absolutely feel like other entertainers/athletes should stand up however they feel necessary to bring attention to the mistreatment of black people and people of color in America. But I also found myself, once again, realizing that that alone is not enough. It’s also up to us little people. It’s up to those of us who are woke enough to admit there is a race problem in America to STOP acting as though nothing is happening around us. It is not just the responsibility of those with large Twitter followings and lots of Facebook likes to express their disgust and stand in solidarity with those being mistreated. It’s up to ME. It’s up to YOU. It’s up to those of us who believe that this is not ok.
Please, take a moment today to decide whether you are going to STAND FOR SOMETHING OR FALL FOR ANYTHING.
Peace & Love. LP