Those Who Condemn Kneeling Don’t Know Significance of Gesture
According to Time magazine, “At a rally against the (Vietnam) War, (David Miller, a pacifist member of the Catholic Worker movement) clambered up to the top of a sound truck and announced to the crowd that he believed that what the U.S. was doing in Vietnam was immoral and that he wanted to make a political statement, ‘so here goes.’
“Then in full view of the news cameras, he touched a cigarette to his draft card.”
Throughout the history of America, disgruntled citizens have done things that have seemed unpatriotic and disrespectful to the flag and the military like burning a flag, which is protected under the First Amendment, to burning a draft card like Miller, which is not protected by the First Amendment.
But what is amazing is that now kneeling, which has always been seen as a symbol of love and respect, is seen as disrespectful because political Black athletes are using the gesture during the national anthem to protest police brutality and systemic racism.
After leaving the recent Indianapolis Colts vs. San Francisco 49ers game early reportedly because of the national anthem protest, Vice President Mike Pence stated, “I left (Sunday’s) Colts game because President Trump and I will not dignify any event that disrespects our soldiers, our flag, or our national anthem.”
The question remains what is disrespectful about kneeling?
When one prays, he or she often kneels.
When a man proposes marriage to his future wife, he often kneels before asking for her hand in marriage.
But for some reason, when a National Football League (NFL) player kneels during the national anthem, the symbolism of kneeling changes because a certain demographic does not approve of the gesture.
For some reason because President Donald Trump, Vice President Pence and NFL team owners like Jerry Jones thinks so, Black people who utilize their First Amendment rights are all of a sudden being disrespectful to the flag, country, national anthem and the military.
But if America prides itself on freedom, why is it disrespectful for Black Americans to exercise those freedoms?
Was it disrespectful when then-candidate Trump vowed to make America great again, insinuating that America was not already great?
Was it disrespectful to America and the flag when President Trump claimed there were some good people in the White nationalist movement even though their marches led to violence and death in Charlottesville, Va.?
Is it disrespectful to the flag and the soldiers when folks down South fly the Confederate flag, a country that mounted a treasonous insurrection against this great country called the United States of America?
Was it disrespectful to America to enslave Black people for centuries even though the Declaration of Independence stated that all men were created equal?
Was it disrespectful to America for the GOP to treat former President Barack Obama with such disdain for eight years?
Was it disrespectful to America for Houston Astros outfielder Josh Reddick to wear an American flag speedo while his teammates doused it with champagne and beer after the team’s American League Division Series clinching win in Boston on Monday?
If the aforementioned realities were not disrespectful to the country, then kneeling, which is a sign of respect and submission, definitely cannot be disrespectful.
According to AllAboutPrayer.org, “One thought about the origin of kneeling to pray comes from the practice of kneeling before a king in petition for a request. This tradition was a symbol of humbleness and honor when coming before a king or ruler. In recognition and honor of God, it may have been the appropriate position to come before God.”
But the real issue is not the fact that players are kneeling during the national anthem. It is the color of the players that are kneeling.
Throughout American history, White Americans have widely disagreed with the methods used by African-Americans to gain equality no matter what methods were used.
According to the Chicago Tribune, “Only 15 percent of Whites surveyed thought those peaceful protests [during the Civil Rights Movement] would advance the cause of integration and equality. Martin Luther King Jr. and his nonviolent methods are honored by conservatives today, but in 1967, half of Whites said he was harming Blacks, with only 36 percent disagreeing…
“In many respects, the country has changed a lot since then—partly because of those unpopular demonstrations. What has not changed is that Whites generally resent efforts by African-Americans to raise grievances and seek change. Last year, a Reuters poll found that 63 percent of Whites disapproved of NFL players kneeling during the anthem—compared with 17 percent of Blacks.”
American history shows that the real problem is not kneeling, which is not a sign of disrespect in many cultures.
The real problem is the fact that African-Americans are standing up to police brutality and systemic racism and many people are trying to disguise their racism with fake patriotism.