Kneeling for equality

I’m often asked by eager learners who, out of respect, would like to know my intellectual stance on players kneeling during the national anthem. Growing up as a young inner city youth in Chicago and now being formed as a scholar, it is no surprise to me to see that the voices of minorities in this country have been limited and often silenced.
The progression of a fair America with an educated couple of color in the White House has resulted in a backlash. We now have a president who plays on the ignorance of others through the eager
media to race bait. That is bliss for those who foster this form of angst towards fellow Americans who are culturally different.

I presume those in this country who have never felt injustice and have never been plagued with stigmas cannot understand the inequality behind the flag. They can’t fathom that when this amazing democracy was created, those same framers were slave owners, and blacks were considered three-fifths of a person.

Those 13 colonies hold the heavy weight of mistreating anyone who appeared to be different. That the land of the free and home of the brave was an America where citizens were enslaved and beaten to death trying to obtain freedom, their constitutional right. That U.S. Air Force men of color were injected with syphilis while serving their country, that words like “nigger” were not about ignorance but used as a demeaning tool that was translated for people of color into lazy loose women and aggressive men. That water fountains and restrooms and bus rides and educational systems segregated Americans under that same flag. When minorities in this country are viewed as invisible and ungrateful when they succeed and when they speak up against injustices.

I do not think that kneeling is an insult to those who fought and died for this country and those citizens who have been free since birth, free to get an education or job without being looked at as affirmative action contenders, free to receive government assistance without being labeled and targeted as welfare queens, free to worship in whatever religion they choose without being labeled a terrorist. Free to love whomever one chooses to love, free to not be labeled or profiled.

The issue is not the fact that individuals are kneeling. The issue should be why in 2017 are there still race issues and inequality that make individuals feel so isolated from a country they feel does not embrace them and their race, religion, gender — through all the isms that this country has and continues to inflict upon a subset of the population.

People are left feeling they have to kneel to protest these injustices that are surging forth with vengeance.

Food for thought. Keeping it real….

Kamara Taylor

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