In response to "To the football players who took a knee," by PluviopileSr:
In response to all of the people who have tried to silence our suffering:
So, you think we are disrespectful?
Jump into my skin. Walk to school each morning, head held high and feet grounded into the concrete. Continue walking as cars rush by, and pretend not to notice as some of them roll down their windows. Be warned, they will hurl insults at you. "N-ggers don't belong here." "Get off our street." They will hurl back-handed compliments. "You so fine, mama, you gotta be mixed." "Come in my car, baby, that *** belongs here." Don't respond, but know that later these words will echo in your head, making you a foreigner in your own home. Get used to saying "no," without saying no at all. And when you do refuse, don't be surprised when those people pull over and leap out of their cars. They will follow you. And you will have to determine whether to stay and fight or to run.
That is disrespect.
Get taken aside by a mall cop. Have that cop ask your best friend if he stole the shoes that sat on his feet. Watch them argue, attempt to step in and pacify them both, and listen as the cop spits at you,"N-ggers like you are always lying." Your best friend will respond like lightning, but you will feel the entire world begin moving in slow-motion. His fist will pull back, veins popping through his dark skin, and your first response will be to hold him back and push him away. To avoid any chance of conflict. Avoid any chance of danger. He will try to fight, and you will not.
Elders teach us that if you act and dress professionally, keep your hands where the officer can see them, and don't speak back, then nothing bad will happen to us. But take a moment to watch a video. Watch Alton Sterling, whose name I still have trouble saying out loud, be shot as he lay on the ground. Watch Delrawn Small simply approach a police car before he is shot. Watch this happen over and over and over again from the intolerable comfort of your bedroom. Your brother's blood is spilling on the concrete. Your sister's feet are dangling from the floor, and you are doing nothing. You are not allowed to do or say anything without being told that you are disrespectful. People police your tone in order to muffle your message.
No one who is protesting has said a word against the military, against the people who fought for us to be safe from other countries. The two topics are completely different. But we cannot forget that now is the time to protect all of our citizens. Protect us from each other, from extrajudicial ******, from the system that has kept people of color from feeling heard in America. The flag stands for a history of citizens who fought for their freedom, but we can't deny that it also holds the black blood which has been spilled and never given justice.
The military and the ****** of black men in America are completely different topics. Putting them together is irrational, and it is a way to divert from the meaning of kneeling during the National Anthem:
Our country is in a state of distress. If no one will acknowledge that, we will fly our own flags half-mast.
There is not a God who can provide liberty and justice for all. He does not change people's minds. It is our job to live, live freely, and to make our own choices on how to treat the people around us. Whether or not you follow the Bible, Torah, Quran, Bhagavad Gita, or anything else, we must acknowledge our differences and treat each other with love. Your emotions and choices are your own.
So yes. I'll take a knee with Colin Kaepernick. I'll do that any day, if it means not standing with the system that makes life more difficult every day. Because what is more important: being safe or being heard?