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Hijacking American Protest

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More stories from Imani Manley-Coats

Black History Month
February 23, 2018
Photo+by+Rey+Del+Rio%2FGetty+Images+
Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images

Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images

Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images

Kneeling during the National Anthem has never had the purpose of disrespecting or offending the veterans who had risked their lives to fight for the freedoms we obtain and value today. If this has become the idea, kneeling during the National Anthem would actually be a gratitude to the veterans for being part of the reason we are able to protest what is unjust.

Despite the recent attention, professional players such as Marshawn Lynch and Colin Kaepernick have been sitting during the National Anthem for years. Unfortunately, President Trump´s insatiable need to insert himself into the limelight of the protest, rather than focus on the destruction of Puerto Rico, or the mass shooting in Las Vegas, has taken away the meaning of the protest as a whole. He has turned it into something besides the point. As Colin Kaepernick has explained, the reason for not standing for the ¨Star Spangled Banner,¨ which has a verse indicating slavery, is simply not standing to ¨show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black¨ and indigenous people.

However, Trump, with spectacular timing and a few tricks up his sleeve, decided that it was the appropriate time to refocus the country on the “unacceptable” and “unpatriotic” NFL players who knelt during the National Anthem. He has roused negativity from his supporters, who truly know that this is not about patriotism, or the veterans, or the American flag, or the Anthem.

To be brutally candid, this is about the white supremacy in America. The stack of bodies piling up in the street from police gunning down unarmed, innocent black men and women.. It’s about the system of oppression, racism, and indifference that has been perpetuated for so long that it has become entangled in our schools, media, workplaces. This system has been ignored and pushed to the side to bulldoze and rebuild later, but professional athletes are joining the fight to bring them to light.

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