Thursday, April 15, 2021

Letter to the editor: Looking past privilege to understand issues

I happened to read the opinions article written by Emily Kim concerning athletes who don’t salute the flag during the national anthem. The article is rigged with privileged ignorance.

The article’s point was that athletes should stop being bad examples for the sake of the children who look up to them. According to Emily, “Children know nothing about police brutality.”

I’d like to clarify that statement by saying maybe, “Non-minority children know nothing about police brutality.” For the rest of us, talks about the “birds and the bees” has been replaced by talks about “how to survive a police encounter.”

Unfortunately, censorship was removed for children when 12-year-old Tamir Rice was shot and killed by the police for having a toy gun that “looked real.” You’re concerned about children seeing athletes not putting their hands on their chest for a racist anthem, but you’re forgetting about the hundreds of minority children who may have seen their parents brutalized by the police.

Free speech and the right to peaceably assemble (protest) are our First Amendment rights as citizens of this country. Football players do not shed their constitutional rights in the locker room. They still have those rights as long as they are citizens of this country.

Our country has no issue with black sports stars when they are running across a field providing entertainment for them but the moment they use their platform to speak out against injustice, there is a national uproar.

We know taking a knee does physically nothing for the injustice in this country. Peaceful protesting for any cause has no direct effect on the cause. But it initiates a conversation, it draws attention to the cause and it makes people think.

These athletes spend their time, effort, blood, sweat and tears running across the field, so I would definitely say this is “their own time.”

We will not hide the bruises for the sake of optimality and “unity.” This country has been divided between the oppressed and oppressor since its inception. These athletes have chosen to let the whole world see that in many ways we are still slaves from the National Anthem living in the “land of the free.” What an oxymoron.

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