Patriotism vs. Protest

Hello and welcome to this week’s post.

I was asked to give my thoughts on the controversy surrounding the NFL and the #takeaknee protest. I wasn’t expecting such a big topic to cover and it’s difficult for me to express my opinions on such a heavy subject happening in a country I currently reside in, but am not a citizen of.  I’m Canadian so take what I say with a grain of salt- I’m polite and I say sorry a lot.

Please also keep in mind that I’m giving my opinions and they may not necessarily reflect yours, and that’s okay.  This doesn’t mean that we’re not able to have a civil, educated conversation about our beliefs and where we stand on the subject.   We’re all human, we’re all entitled to our thoughts and freedom of speech- we all have rights.

Colin Kaepernick chose to protest racial injustice in the most accessible way he could.  This is his right.  You may not agree with it, you might do differently, but he did what he was entitled to do.

I’ve read several articles surrounding patriotism versus protest. The main argument against kneeling during the anthem is that it is disrespectful to those who fought and who continue to fight for America.  I’ve read that Kaepernick chose to kneel (rather than sit on the bench like he previously did) after a conversation he had with a war veteran. He chose to kneel because he didn’t want to disrespect the men and women who have fought for America’s freedom.

I’ve also read The US Flag Code Chapter 10 Sec. 176: Respect for the flag (which was brought to my attention by Hennywise) which lists several things which should never be done out of respect for the US flag.  Chapter 10 Sec. 171: Conduct During Play suggests that one should stand, however it doesn’t state anywhere that kneeling is seen as disrespectful. You can read all about it here if you’re interested. I do understand that this is subjective and as I stated earlier, I’m not entitled to an opinion on patriotism in a country that I’m not a citizen of.

The “disrespecting the flag” narrative is shadowing the reasons that Kaepernick did what he did, which as I mentioned, was to share his views on how the justice system failed those who lost their lives to excessive police brutality, and racial inequality.  This is his opinion and it is not my place to critique his actions because I do not, nor will I ever be able to fully understand the horrible oppression and injustice African American people have faced.

I believe that we are all entitled to and should emanate basic human decency.  We may not understand one another, we may not agree with one another, but everyone is entitled to express their opinions; in order to create understanding, we must create discourse rather than belligerence.

I don’t want this post to turn into an essay; I’d rather know how you feel about this and discuss it with you in the comments.  Again I’d like to ask that we all be respectful of one another and try to stay cordial.  Everyone is welcome and safe to say what the feel without being threatened.

I look forward to hearing your opinions.

Sincerely,

Kayla Price