All this came to my mind while watching an episode of Superstore-a super funny comedy with America Ferraira. The Manager of Cloud 9 was bragging about his ancestors and being proud of building the ships the African Americans first came to the US on. As he was talking about this exciting feeling, he was questioned by an employee “you mean the slave ships?” Then he quickly said “no”, and then realized that his understanding of pride was different and also very wrong. He had not made the connection between the two different prides. He was for one, proud of being part of a lineage that built the first to great ships, but was not connecting that those ships hurt millions of people- African Americans. He then quickly changed the subject.
To me, this is the issue with the whole “anthem” problem. People are being proud of what is in front of them but not asking the harder questions-what is behind what is in front of them?
I don’t think there should be so much anger and outrage because people choose to kneel during the national anthem. In many countries people can choose to stand, sit, or kneel. Taking a knee to me is actually more respectful (as we bow our heads or pray) than standing. First, it is not about a piece of material or object-weren’t we freed from that exact thing? Materialism?
Second, one should be asking “what is behind” this kneeling? Why are so many people doing it? Why has this movement grown?
Do educated people really think those who kneel are purposely trying to disrespect veterans? Service men and women? Those who think so need to check themselves. Isn’t taking a knee like taking our fear, injustice, frustration, confusion, anger, to God….in prayer? Where two or more are gathered…right?
The anthem claims freedom for ALL (for the land of the free and the home of the brave) and yet we see so much injustice. Injustice is actually the OPPOSITE of freedom. I believe THIS is why kneeling is happening (which again, is a stronger form of unity, understanding, respect) but also pride in realizing that America is just not there yet and it wants to move forward. Those taking a knee are just trying to push America to think and to move forward. Those taking a knee ARE Americans; they are part of this country that screams justice for some only.
America wants uniformity but it can’t have it if uniformity means inequality.
I think we all know the answer to that. Remember when the black police shot the white Australian woman?-tables were turned and whites acted the SAME way….what??
The other thing I am still puzzled by is whether women are aware that at the time the national anthem was written, women were not free either. At the time the US was founded, women did not share the same rights as men. It was not until August 18th 1920 that white women actually had the right to vote. And black women were not allowed to vote until 1960 (40 years later). And even after we were allowed to vote, the US used literacy tests, poll taxes and other means to silence us. This of course has come a long way but inequality is still present.
It’s the system. It’s systemic and it is even clearer that it is systemic when you get the president of the USA saying what he has said about those kneeling. He has exercised his free speech, now, let’s let everyone else do the same.
There is a huge divide in America and it all started with colonialism. How many white Americans stood and respected the first people who were on this great soil when they were doing their national anthems? I’m going to guess very few. Instead, the pride was built on the backs of those who lived here before us. Why are we forcing them to stand in “solidarity?” Why are we forcing them to respect something that symbolizes division?
Why are all marginalized groups told to forget their past but to remember how they were apparently “Saved” from whatever fate may have befallen them?
I am having a hard time NOT seeing colonialism in the anthem itself. I’m starting to read “between the stars and the stripes” as I take a knee.
Too often non people of color will turn what they have done to marginalized groups into “hand-outs” or favors.
No, raping my sisters did not help their mixed kid’s generation live an “easier” life because now they have colonial blood. You did not do us a favor. In fact, due to your act of “kindness”, there is even MORE divide and colorism has only grown.
Many non-people of color think they have “helped” the supposed underdog but have they really? Many non marginalized thoughts in italics.
Black people–we eventually freed you, and then became best friends with the Crows. So what’s the problem? Pull yourself up by your bootstraps….oh wait, you need to have boots for that-and straps.
First people–but Sacajawea (and the baby we never knew the name of ) was our friend. And we gave thanks at a dinner together. One big happy family. And her face is on a coin-oh happy day! All well on the western front.
Japanese people–we let you intern at a camp. What a great opportunity! I mean, we know that most of you were born on “our” soil but still, what a great opportunity.
Latinos/Spanish decent–as long as you work for free, we won’t call ICE.
Chinese people–We were not really jealous of your accomplishments but for your protection and the rest, we don’t want you here for 10 years because you endanger the good order of certain localities within the territories.
Why must marginalized people be forced to forget their past but remember how graciously the non marginalized group of people have “treated” them?
THIS is why we kneel.
It is not about cloth.
It is not about lack of respect.
It is not about hate.
Kneeling is actually about unity and true justice for all. Being allowed to exercise their constitutional rights.
Being judged for not standing is demonstrating EXACTLY why kneeling has to happen.