Mulattea is a blog written by Skye Haynes. Her posts explore mixed identity, feminism, race, religion, and privilege.

Why We Should All #TakeAKnee

Why We Should All #TakeAKnee

Happy Monday everybody! Let's start off the week the right way— with a discussion on racial inequality in America and the impossibility of expressing anger about said inequality.

giphy.com

giphy.com

Basically, let's talk Colin Kaepernick. Let's talk Steph Curry. Let's talk about this dumpster fire of a last weekend we had. 

I'm going to start off this discussion from the ground up for those of you that are new to Mulattea. 

Police brutality towards people of color—specifically black people in America— is NOT an opinion. It's a fact. It's a statistically proven FACT. 

As it relates specifically to the subject of police brutality, I don't care if your dad, mother, brother, sister, second cousin is a police officer. I'm sure they're nice people. That has nothing to do with the fact that black people are the subject of police brutality at a rate that is not proportionate to the U.S. population. I have a whole article talking about this, give it a read.  That being said, we shouldn't judge an entire group based on the racist actions of a few. The police are sworn to protect us, and we should be able to expect that from them without bias.

That's my perspective, and that's where I'm coming from for this piece. 

Now that we're on the same page— let's talk Kap. 

A platform is an opportunity to reach massive amounts of people, grab them by the shoulders, shake them, and say, "THIS IS A PROBLEM. STOP IGNORING IT."  

Colin Kaepernick was using his platform to point out police brutality. If you think about the time, it was in the midst of a very tense racial climate in the U.S. Protests were commonplace and everyone had an opinion about everything.  

Because of the way America works, people can pretty much protest whatever they want to. I see direct parallels between Colin Kapeornick's protest and Tommie Smith's 1968 Olympics protest. "I cannot stand and sing the anthem. I cannot salute the flag. I know that I am a black man in a white world." Y'know who said that? Jackie Robinson. The point I'm making here is that there is a difficult relationship between black people and sports— one wrought with racism, enslavement, discrimination and wage gaps. But for some reason, black people are not allowed to comment on it. 

The national anthem itself talks about slavery. Let's just get that out of the way. It was written by a slave owner. Francis Scott key was an anti-abolitionist. He literally called black people an inferior race.* His worldview was racist. So with that racist worldview, Key created a song that did NOT represent every type of American. He was specifically writing about American pride for those that are like him: white and privileged. 

With all this in mind, we chose this song as our national anthem. We sing it in schools with black children, we sing it at sporting events with black athletes. We have black soldiers and veterans who sacrificed their lives for a nation whose national anthem does not include OR want them. 

And the minute a black person expresses an ounce of dissent, a moment of frustration, or a modicum of hesitance— what do we get?

Instead of analyzing his rhetoric and cross examining it with historical contexts, I'll just give you some tweets that sum up my point: 

Now of course President Trump (never have I ever been so reluctant to type two words in my life) says that his comments never had anything to do with race. But his tone and targeting of black influencers SPECIFICALLY is extremely telling. As of right now, our "president" has not mentioned Hurricane Maria or the terrible flooding that happened in Puerto Rico. People are suffering in Puerto Rico, American citizens who wave that same flag that Trump claims we're all disrespecting, and instead of tweeting about that, he has sent NINE tweets about silencing black athletes practicing their first amendment rights. Ya kidding me?

And if you really think about it, this sentiment isn't exclusive to our president. Colin Kaepernick isn't playing football right now because a bunch of fans decided that it's Kaepernick who's being offensive instead of, yknow the actual murder of unarmed black citizens. So they boycotted and raged against the 49ers and the NFL to the point where this man is out of a job. 

Really think about that.

Racist cops get away with actual murder, but this black man can't get away with critiquing American race relations. 

I truly don't believe that soldiers and vets fight and die for a song. They fight and die for what our country represents (in theory). They fight for freedom, for equality, for liberty.

Kneeling for this song is what our soldiers fight and die for. 

We are not equal. Not yet. 

So take a knee until we are equal. 

* http://www.cnn.com/2016/08/29/sport/colin-kaepernick-flag-protest-has-history-trnd/index.html

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