Colin Kaepernick, the Racist US National Anthem & Righteous Resistance
By Solomon Comissiong
Recently professional football player, Colin Kaepernick, stated “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” Kaepernick told NFL Media in an exclusive interview after the game. “To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.” Of course Colin Kaepernick is justified in taking this stance, especially when considering the ongoing and blatant oppression that is being levied upon people of color, not just within the United States but also throughout the globe. However the much of white “America” could give a damn about the impact of police terror within African/Black communities. When it comes to African/Black athletes and entertainers, they simply want them to dribble, throw or catch balls and entertain them. They want these athletes to be “good Negroes”, which means being satisfied with the salaries they are paid and never speaking out against structural oppression. Unfortunately, far too many African/Black athletes have accepted these cookie cutter roles that corporate and white America have carved out for them. The deeper we get into the 21st century, the more distracted many professional athletes get. Those with no social justice consciousness are easy prey for Americanism. They soon become fiercely loyal to corporations that could care less about the plight of the communities from which they derive.
However, Colin Kaepernick is a professional athlete that should be applauded; especially for utilizing his platform and celebrity to shed much needed light upon the ongoing legacy of oppression within the United States. He is absolutely justified in refusing to stand up to the hypocritical and racist “National Anthem” The United States’ “National Anthem” is a song written by a devoted white supremacist and slave-owner, Francis Scott Key. The United States’ National Anthem has never stood for justice or the equality of ALL men and women. African/Black people have never comprehensively been treated with equity or humanity within the United States, dating back to the illegal founding of this nation. The same can be said about the historical (and ongoing) treatment of Native Americans, whose land was viciously stolen by barbaric European invaders.
The US is a country built on stolen land and with stolen bodies. There has never been any kind of justice doled out to oppressed communities of color, which is why we continue to see societal maladies such as police terrorism, throughout communities of color. Colin Kaepernick is justified and he is courageous. Many more African/Black athletes and entertainers need to begin to show much more solidarity with their communities rather than the corporations they are working for. In many cases these athletes are getting pimped by corporate America. They are corporate America’s trophy pawns. These corporations could not give a damn about the ultimate liberation of communities of color or the end of white supremacy and systematic racism. The true face of the United States continues to rear its hideous face within the cowardly realm of social media. There has been no shortage of hypocritical “Americans” (mostly white) verbally attacking Colin Kaepernick on social media and elsewhere. These people are beyond hypocritical, they are amoral. They are taking more umbrage to Colin Kaepernick’s righteous stance than they are to the actual cold-blooded murder of people of color, at the hands of the state sponsored police. Many of them are proud racists, much like their ancestors who supported and did nothing to end the institution of slavery. Behind closed doors the term, “Nigger” is loosely used to refer to African/Black people—and when someone like Kaepernick takes the stance he did, they become incensed. Their fragile self-esteem is predicated on perpetuating myriad lies regarding the history of the United States and white supremacy.
Those of us, who oppose police terror/brutality, and structural racism, need to stand with professional athletes/entertainers, like Colin Kaepernick, who choose to use their celebrity to speak out and protest his country’s legacy of systematic injustice! They need to be encouraged to step outside of the ill-conceived “boxes” that have long been constructed to force the oppressed to champion the status quo, even at the expense of their own communities.
Even if Colin Kaepernick were solely protesting the United States’ imperialist and destructive military, he would be justified! The United States military is a destructive imperialist tool that has been historically (and currently) used to eviscerate countless lives. If the US National Anthem was solely attached to this country’s military, that would be reason enough not to stand during its singing. Any morally and social justice oriented person would rightfully make that decision. Millions of Americans have been mentally programmed to believe the United States’ military is something other than a lean, mean innocent civilian killing machine. Mindless indoctrination and the memorization of these types of songs contribute to their delusion.
Lastly, there should be a healthy dose of light consistently shone on the United States’ so-called National Anthem. This light would hopefully allow more people to awaken from their mental slumber and denounce the acceptance of the Star Spangled Banner as a national anthem. A proud and dedicated slave master named Francis Scott Key wrote the US national anthem. Francis Scott Key used his platform as a US Attorney to attack abolitionists. He saw them as a direct threat to the potential ending of slavery, and the loss of revenue that would naturally ensue. He did not want to see an end to slavery, plain and simple. This shiftless and evil man profited from slavery. He was a hypocrite, just as many of the so-called “Founding Fathers” were. The Star Spangled Banner is nothing more than a celebratory song for white supremacist, slave masters and land pirates. Who do we think Francis Scott Key is referring to when he wrote, “Land of the free and the home of the brave”? He certainly was not referring to Native Americans, whose land he and other whites stole. And he most certainly was not referring to enslaved Africans…. after all, being enslaved means you are not free. Francis Scott Key used his professional position and the ‘law’ to defend the wretched institution of slavery. A white supremacist hypocrite wrote the Star Spangled Banner.
There should be a new national anthem, one written by someone who was not a hypocrite and enslaver. It should be a song that reflects a tone that denounces injustice and is free from contradiction. It speaks volumes of US society to have embraced “The Star Spangled Banner” as the national anthem in 1931. Since it’s illegal inception, the United States has been a nation that wholeheartedly embraces injustice, especially against people of color. The United States is a contradiction, in and of itself. There is no freedom, and justice for all, only for those who are white and wealthy. The United States has always been a white settler colony. And until US structural oppression ends there will be no societal basis for the emergence of a new, much more humane “National Anthem”. A new, much more humane society, must emerge, a society that not only would not accept the Star Spangled Banner, but more importantly, a society that complete denounces all forms of oppression and imperialism. Colin Kaepernick is speaking up, now its time more of us proudly follow suit!