By Alexandra Foster, Contributor
A hot topic of discussion in the news throughout this year has been the racial divide that the United States is currently facing. With mass amounts of people having access to social media today, more and more videos showing police brutality and racial injustice are surfacing. Resentment of police officers and protests against law enforcement are on the rise.
One protest that caught the media’s eye recently is Colin Kaepernick’s refusal to stand during the national anthem. In a recent post-game interview by NFL Media, Kaepernick, quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, stated, “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.” While some people believe that Kaepernick has legitimate reasons to protest racial injustices, there has also been a serious backlash on social media and in the news.
The main issue many fellow Americans have with Kaepernick’s protest is his lack of respect for the American flag. In a tweet from F1’s “Undisputed,” Ray Lewis, a former NFL linebacker, spoke back to Kaepernick: “I understand what you’re trying to do… take the flag out of it.”
By refusing to stand during the national anthem, he is showing a great deal of disrespect to the United States military and the men and women who have fought and continue to fight for our independence and safety.
The purpose of the national anthem is to show patriotism for this country and to show admiration for the men and women fighting for our freedom and protection. Refusing to stand during the national anthem is extremely disrespectful and insulting. Taking a stand, removing your hat and placing your right hand over your heart has become a national symbol for loyalty, respect, honor and integrity, which are values the United States military instills in all of its soldiers. By showing reverence during the national anthem, we are saluting our armed forces.
Kaepernick’s refusal to stand during the national anthem is inappropriate and unjustifiable. There are better and more effective ways to express your discontent. Many individuals join anti-racism organizations or anti-racism protests, which specifically target certain racial issues and have certain goals for moving our country forward. This may be more powerful than disrespecting our country and our military. There are many other ways to object to racism occurring in America, but an act of anti-patriotism is unacceptable.
Regardless of one’s opinion on racism in America, the American flag and national anthem are symbols of respect, love, and support for our country and the soldiers who fight for it. Disrespecting such a symbol is not an effective form of anti-racist protest.