Colin Kaepernick, a quarterback of the San Francisco 49’ers, decided -all of a sudden- that he would not get up during the national anthem, but instead he would sit there in silent protest.
I wanted to know more about it. Is it just a PR stunt – or is there a deep meaning behind it? Where does his refusal to stand during the national anthem comes from? What had happened to this Millionaire during the summer football break, that he changed his behavior?
“I cannot stand and sing the anthem. I cannot salute the flag. I know that I am a black man in a white world,” he explained afterward.
“Well, Hello little one, I understand how you feel.” I am not black, but I do know what it’s like to live in man’s world (both black and white). It sucks…big time. But it also brings the best out of some…IF… one chooses to fight the odds.
Here I am a first generation immigrant, who remembers so well how it felt to get up and salute the flag and sing the anthem of my new country, here I am, pale and white as I can be, and I am going to criticize a black quarterback. How dare you, woman?
Yes, how dare I? I dare because I am tired of people like Kaepernick and Trump; I am tired of people who try to separate us more. Let me tell you a story, please.
About five years ago we were driving down Poplar, in Memphis, TN. It was a gorgeous day, we were in a good mood, the music was on, and we were singing and giggling like little girls. She had our day planned, and I was an easy victim.
We drove by an old, beautiful building and I asked what it was.
“That’s an old school,” she explained.
“Did you go there,” I wanted to know, and she didn’t respond right away.
“No, I wasn’t allowed there,” she said, and I didn’t get that at first.
I am not stupid, but I just don’t get racism, never have and never will. The whole black and white thing puzzles me since more than 30 years. We have dark people down in the South of Sicily, but the color of their skin never mattered, they are just Italians, just like the ones from the North, who are blond, tall and freckled as I am. But then maybe I don’t get it because I am a mountain girl, we are special anyway (yeah right).
“Why weren’t you allowed to go to school there,” I asked, and I expected it to be a money issue.
“Because I am black,” she said proudly and then I understood.
All of a sudden I felt bad; I wished I wouldn’t have asked about the building, it hadn’t been my intention to sadden my friend. I tried to apologize, but she cut me short.
“Don’t,” she said, “It makes me proud to drive by there.”
That statement stunned me more than anything. I didn’t say anything, just waited for her to go on.
“You see,” she said, “They didn’t want me there when I was a child because of the color of my skin, and now I drive by there in my big car, and I just smile at them. They missed out; I didn’t.”
I sat there in silence, tried to understand.
“I am married to a great man, who happens to be a General in the Army; we have four beautiful kids, all pf them go to college. We have a house in a nice neighborhood; we have a great life. We didn’t need that school; we made it anyway. We worked hard all our lives.”
I know my friends family, I thought about her mother-in-law, who had made room in their main living room for a picture of President Obama, just a few days after the election. They all have accomplished something in their lives, and they are proud of it.
Many people here in this country stand up and salute the flag and sing the anthem, many of us do so with joy and pride because we have accomplished something special. Many of us -like my husband- stand up and think about the family members who have served in the military.
I don’t have a dream, but I have a vision. I hope one day it won’t matter that one of my friends is African American and that another friend happens to celebrate Ramadan. One day it won’t matter that I wasn’t born here.
One day, instead of crying over spilled milk from the past, we will get together and find a solution for all of us. Yes, slavery happened, and it was bad, so was the Holocaust and the injustice against Native Americans. We need to get up and start changing things and we need to do it together, we need to remind the youth of what can happen if you listen to hate.
We should never forget, we should make sure history never repeats itself…none of it.
As for Colin Kaepernick, sitting there like an angry, stubborn (high paid) child won’t solve a thing. Get up and do something go to schools, talk to kids, make a difference the right way.
Same goes for the moron who burned Kaepernick jersey on youtube. Haven’t we learned?