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Kneeling means standing up for the marginalized

Kneeling means standing up for the marginalized

Kneeling means standing up for the marginalized
January 28
15:42 2020

Kelly Holstine was one of the few honorees chosen for 2019 ‘Teacher of the Year’, a ceremony that was held at the NCAA Football Championship game earlier this month. Holstine said that the honorees were told that holding their hands up to their heart during the national anthem was optional, but Holstine said she felt that wasn’t enough. Holstine decided that she was going to kneel in front of a crowd of 76,885 people that included President Donald Trump. Holstine said that the president’s attendance and his continuing discrimination of marginalized people played a factor in her choice to kneel during the national anthem.

Taking a knee” during the national anthem at sporting events is not a new concept as it has been practiced at multiple NFL stadiums around America since Aug. 14, 2016. Colin Kaepernick conceived this idea as a peaceful protest for the American justice system to hold themselves accountable for the multiple killings of innocent black civilians by police officers.

As a minority living in America, I’ve gone through my own obstacles dealing with racism in a both direct and indirect way. I’ve been called slurs pertaining to my Mexican heritage and I’ve felt unwelcome in stores when I walk in and get ignored by the greeter but happen to have a worker always follow me around the store. I’ve also woken up to officers coming into my house without a warrant, flashing a light in my face and asking for me to put my hands up.

Though my experiences with police have ranged from good to bad, I feel like there is far more corruption within the force than there is good based on what I’ve seen from my old neighborhood to the current social climate in America. I support Kaepernick and Holstine’s decision to kneel during the national anthem because they are not only voicing opposition to police brutality against minorities, but they are also admitting that there is indeed a problem with America.

There is nothing wrong with acknowledging that America is not on that pedestal we try to put it on because in truth, it isn’t. Case in point, 46 percent of white Americans felt apprehensive at the thought of the majority becoming a non-White nation because it would “weaken” American customs and cultures, according to a survey conducted by Pew Research Center. It’s also interesting to point out that in the same survey, 40 percent of black people and 46 percent of Hispanic people felt it would strengthen American customs and cultures.

That study alone shows that there is a clear disconnection between the white, black and Latino communities. Personal experiences will draw a sense of bias towards how one will react to NFL players taking a knee. Though it’s not always the case, there are some people who’ve never come across the bad side of the law or faced discrimination who then feel like taking a knee is unpatriotic. Their sense of what it means to be American and what America stands for differs from someone who fears the thought of being pulled over by police because it has quite literally become life-threatening.

Taking a knee isn’t unpatriotic, it’s exercising the right to the First Amendment. It’s a form of non-violent resistance against a law and a country that doesn’t seem to care about the well-being of citizens who don’t fit the mold of a demographic that is acceptable to them.

Marginalization and oppression aren’t words of yesteryear — minorities face it daily. It isn’t victim mentality, it’s an inconvenient truth. No one is wrong if they agree with this protest or disagree, but Americans shouldn’t look away when fellow Americans are in pain. See us how you see yourself.

Featured Illustration: Miranda Thomas

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Adrian Maldonado

Adrian Maldonado

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