The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

SBCC student sides with Kaepernick against racism

The Channels Opinion Pages | STAFF COLUMN

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick is making waves by taking a knee during the national anthem in order to raise awareness for the Black Lives Matter movement in the United States.

Refusing to stand for the national anthem has stirred discussion in everyone from fellow NFL player Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks to President Obama. Kaepernick’s statement has all of America discussing our constitutional rights as well as the social issues affecting African-Americans.

Kaepernick was recently demoted to backup quarterback causing some critics to speculate that Kaepernick is using this protest as some sort of publicity stunt. Kaepernick has a good rebuttal for these critics.

“People don’t realize what’s really going on in this country,” said Kaepernick in an interview in August. “There are a lot things that are going on that are unjust.”

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For someone of Kaepernick’s stature to exercise his constitutional right to peacefully protest the playing of the national anthem highlights a crossroad in our country. Kaepernick, as an African-American himself, protests for the families of Trayvon Martin, Freddie Gray, and Tamir Rice.

Racism is still alive in our society, and did not end in 2008 when an African-American was elected President of the United States.

It is a disease that perhaps has been our darkest wound ever since the Declaration of Independence was signed 240 years ago.

Avoiding the topic of racism will do no good. If any athlete feels passionate about a social issue such as racism, they should not mind the criticism that may come from whites, blacks, and all races alike. Kaepernick is correct in his demonstration to represent the millions of African-Americans that do not have a voice to be heard.

Football is a game that has allowed Kaepernick, along with many others, to become famed and embraced. It does not define who any of them are.

Some may argue that perhaps not honoring the flag is “un-American” on Kaepernick’s part. However, these same critics think the way to curb illegal immigration from Mexico is to build a wall on the southern border of the United States.

Such critics lose themselves on Twitter and Facebook and avoid any human interaction, leaving them to stand for nothing. That is much more un-American than refusing to hold a hand over the heart during “The Star Spangled Banner.”

Kaepernick, as well as those who joined the protest, stand for toughness, equality and progress. All of these aspects have been attained through football.

Freddie Gray’s murderer still roams free and George Zimmerman still hasn’t gotten the justice deserved for the death of Trayvon Martin. Until this changes, Kaepernick needs to take a knee every time the national anthem is played before kickoff.

Avoiding the topic of racism against African-Americans only heightens the severity of it. Cameras will be focused on Kaepernick’s actions before a football is kicked off at every game. Each interview and camera close-up drives up the fight to end racism as we know it.

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