Colin Kaepernick gives a voice to the under-represented

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Colin Kaepernick is a name many people wouldn’t recognize until a few weeks ago, when he made the bold move of sitting for the American national anthem at a football game for his team, the San Francisco 49ers.

Kaepernick’s decision not to stand for the anthem stemmed from his belief that people of colour, particularly black people, in the United States are being treated unfairly by the police and justice systems at large.

Though many will disagree with his method of exposing his beliefs, you cannot deny that this is a pressing issue and a conversation that needs to be held.

The issue of police brutality is one that can be painful and awkward to talk about, so instead, people choose to ignore it and find any reason to pretend it doesn’t happen, or that there is any other reason that people are getting killed besides their race.

It is not unnatural for a person to want to believe that the world they live in is fair, that we are all equal, that we are all happy and healthy and okay.

The truth is that no matter what we believe in as individuals, there will always be a hierarchy to which people fall under. Unfortunately for people of colour, the bottom is where we currently fall.

If one minority is less equal than the other, doesn’t that defeat the purpose?

It is understandable that people found his actions disrespectful, but at what line are we willing to stop and say that this country is no longer free?

There are many arguments in which I can claim that freedom is restrained, but in the terms of race, it cannot be argued, it is simply a fact.

The United States is a country distinguished and symbolized by its flag and anthem. When I think U.S.A, I think red, white and blue. I think stars and stripes. The basis of the U.S.A and in turn the basis of the national anthem, is that all are free and equal. If one minority is less equal than another, doesn’t that defeat the purpose?

I cannot tell Kaepernick that he was right by his actions and I cannot tell him he was wrong.

What I can do is commend him for his actions, because it cannot be denied that he caused an impact and sparked a conversation. I commend Kaepernick for having the guts to raise awareness to an issue on such a public and national stage.

Kaepernick brought attention to the issue in an entirely new light and whether people are talking poorly about his decision or standing behind him, they are talking.

In circumstances like this, if the issue is not being pressed in any manner, it is simply forgotten about.

Think about the many black men, women and children whose names you read about in the news in recent years and then forgot about the next day.

Police brutality is an extremely pressing issue in our society, but when it comes to issues that are beyond our control, if they don’t affect us directly, we tend to forget in a matter of minutes, simply thankful that it isn’t us.

In the society we live in, the opinion of a celebrity is more important and holds more weight in media than that of a political figure.

Kaepernick started a conversation. He stated his opinion and he is not wrong. So why not stand behind him and hope his actions create positive impact in the coloured community?

He didn’t mean any disrespect to the country or the flag by his actions, he simply wanted to state his opinion, which is well within his rights.

His protest is not against the people who fought for his right to stand. His protest is to give an opportunity for those who are being forced to sit.

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