The Art of the Protest

Okay, so everyone is still talking about Colin Kaepernick’s sitting through the National Anthem. “It’s disrespectful to this nation!” you’re saying. “He should be ashamed, this is a great country!” you insist. “If he doesn’t like it, he can go live in Afghanistan or the Middle East!” you challenge.

You have a right to your opinion. You can dislike him, you can boo him, you can call him names, have at it.

But why don’t you try listening to him.

Seriously. He’s explained repeatedly why he did it. He’s not hiding his reasoning. Here, here’s a snippet from this article (emphasis mine):

“I have great respect for men and women that have fought for this country,” Kaepernick said. “I have family. I have friends that gone and fought for this country. They fight for freedom. They fight for the people. They fight for liberty and justice for everyone. And that’s not happening. People are dying in vain because this country isn’t holding their end of the bargain up as far as, you know, giving freedom and justice and liberty to everybody.

I know you don’t want to hear it. I know these are things you don’t want to believe. But people are dying and being treated unfairly because of the color or their skin, their gender, because of where they live, how they dress and who they love. He’s right; this country isn’t holding up its end of the bargain. People have fought (my dad included) and people have died so that ALL Americans can be free. But they aren’t. Oh, sure, the literal chains have been removed, but the figurative ones are still attached and as strong as ever.

I know the media would have you believe otherwise, but not everyone who has a negative encounter with a racist Joe Schmo or a less-than-stellar law enforcement office is a thug. Many are just people going about their day, minding their business, but have the audacity to be doing it someplace where it looks like they shouldn’t be. Like a high-end department store. Or the “nice” neighborhood. Or driving too nice a car.

I know many people who have had these situations. Thankfully, past the initial encounter things didn’t take a turn. But a less than fatal outcome doesn’t negate the fact that it shouldn’t have happened in the first place.

People are dying in vain because this country isn’t holding their end of the bargain up as far as, you know, giving freedom and justice and liberty to everybody.

My name on this blog is Unapologetically Mocha because I am a proud woman of color (roughly the color of my favorite coffee, mocha). What Colin is saying, what he is protesting about includes me. All of the scenarios I listed above, I’ve been through, more than once. And I don’t mean they happened a few years ago, several happened within the last couple of weeks.

If you consider me a friend, if my friendship means anything to you, I implore you to really really think about what he’s trying to get across. It’s not just him being a brat or ungrateful or unpatriotic. He’s making a statement and it’s an important one to a lot of people, including me.

People are dying in vain because this country isn’t holding their end of the bargain up as far as, you know, giving freedom and justice and liberty to everybody.

Could we focus on THAT for a while?

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