Western Courier

“I refuse to stand for the National Anthem”

Destiny Kerr, Courier Staff

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As a writer and a future journalist, I feel like it’s my calling to be the voice for those who are often silenced by society and the government. People such as the LGBT community, minorities and people in general who are against bigotry and social injustice like myself.

Before I begin to discuss the main topic of this article, I want to say that I am speaking from things that I have seen and have personally experienced as an African American woman. I am not trying to offend anyone with what I write. However, I will not apologize for speaking the truth. I will not allow anyone to silence me or my people. So without further ado, here’s my opinion about standing for the National Anthem.

America is a country that has allowed the slaughtering of African Americans for decades. Yet, we were still called to fight in wars to protect the country. With tragic occurrences such as the murder of 14-year-old Emmett Till, the Rosewood Massacre, the Birmingham church bombing and more recently, the killing of unarmed black men by white officers, why would we want to honor a flag that represents a country that has been killing us for years? A flag that is drenched by our blood and the blood of our ancestors.

The fact that black men being murdered has become normal is not only sickening, but it horrifies me. We are up against a government and a system that is biased towards whites. It is hard for us to receive equal education, jobs and judicial sentencing. Yet, for some strange and peculiar reason, we are expected to stand and honor the American flag during the National Anthem and Pledge of Allegiance.

Well, I will not. Call me disrespectful, call me a disgrace. But out of respect for all of those who died unprotected by this country, I will remain seated.

I supported Colin Kaepernick for taking a knee during the National Anthem in the NFL. Even though he is now a free agent, he has made a substantial impact in black culture. Many white Americans don’t realize that we have a purpose. When we rally in protest, we are told to “go back to Africa” since we don’t like the way things are. Apparently, this country belongs to white people. Wrong!

If there is anyone to have a say about who should leave this country, it would be the Natives, whose ancestors were also slaughtered by Christopher Columbus for their own land, a man who is nationally celebrated and has his very own holiday. Our children are even being taught at a young age that he was the one to discover America. However, I would be willing to bet that white nationalists would be the first on the list to be exiled from this country if it were up to the Natives, not blacks.

Donald Trump basically gave NFL players an ultimatum to either stand and respect the flag, or to be kicked out of the league. Keep in mind, Trump has a solid reputation for his ignorant and racist comments not only about minorities, but about women and people with disabilities. This is the man who was voted to run our country, so you all can’t possibly expect me to take it seriously.

Yes, I am thankful for the veterans who risk their lives every day to fight for our limited freedom. I even have family members who have fought in the Army. But I pay my respects to them in different ways.

Until I see more effort to protect the freedowms and rights of minorities, I will not honor the flag. I am not sorry about that.

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The independent student newspaper of Western Illinois University. Serving Macomb since 1905.
“I refuse to stand for the National Anthem”