Kacie Paplow author of this 2017-2018 MLHS senior student editorial
Take A Knee
Colin Kaepernick’s protest emphasizes the amount of “police brutality, systematic oppression against colored people and criminal injustices” in our country today. These three reasons for taking a knee are prominent problems in our country that millions of people tend to push aside and ignore. He is tired of nothing changing in the justice system to make these issues better for the people directly affected by it. I agree with Colin Kaepernick because he’s practicing his First Amendment right, speaking for those without voices, and drawing attention to injustices.
The First Amendment to the Bill of Rights is “Freedom of Speech” and that means every person here can utilize it. Kaepernick has the right to express how he feels through taking a knee and expressing that he does not believe all the elements the flag is supposed to stand for.
The Flag Code states: “Persons present are expected to stand and face the flag if there is one;” there is no indication stating you “have” to stand. We as Americans are taught to stand for the flag, nothing more or less; we are taught this. It is ridiculous when Mr. Trump brought up that the National Footbal League (NFL) should fire or bench players for not standing because all he is doing as a President is restricting the first amendment. Also, the NFL owners and commissioners knelt with their players to help show support their of political activism.
Additionally, which victim of police brutality towards an African-American do you remember most? On March 3, 1991, the Rodney King case sparked riots all over California. Yes, he survived his attack, but not one officer was convicted for the crime against him. Some people say his case could have started the Black Lives Matter movement.
We may not have a lot of those cases around here, but there are some just a couple of hours away. The most recent Minnesota case, Jamar Clark, on November 15, 2015, was shot and killed after being pinned down. His case went on for over a year. Alton Sterling, July 5, 2016, was shot and killed by two police officers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. No officer was convicted of the crime against Sterling; there was no sufficient evidence to support his murder.
Consequently, African-American people face more injustices in this country than any other race. One out of every three people killed by police is black. For myself, I consider that number a little large and it should not even exist. Eighty-four percent of police officers have stated in a survey from vittana.com that they directly witnessed a fellow officer using more force than necessary. Brotherhood, in the law, is a very touchy bond that officers use to protect themselves and their colleagues. On reuters.com 99% of officials in 2015 were not convicted of crimes they were involved in.
Police are mostly seen as the good guys and when they are involved in brutality cases, most people see it in their defense, that what they did was to protect the American people. These lives that have been taken away by the police are American people too, but no one seems to ever remember that.
In conclusion, #TakeAKnee was never about the National Anthem or the Flag, but about Kaepernick expressing all his frustrations in America by using his First Amendment right. King, Clark and Sterling were not the first black men targeted or killed by police; but they could not speak out for themselves in the ways the NFL players are trying to get their voices need to be heard. African-Americans are not the only race with injustices happening to them, but without this movement, I
would not be writing this paper, and you, the reader, would not be reading this. #TakeAKnee has never and will never be against the flag or our beloved veterans. This movement Kaepernick started is about presenting racial prejudice in our “land of the free.”