San Francisco 49er quarterback Colin Kaepernick refused to stand for the Star Spangled Banner before a pre-season game Friday. Since then, the controversy has caused an outrage. His explanation has caused an uproar. Kaepernick risks becoming a Targeted Individual for taking a stand for the oppressed.
“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. … There are bodies in the street and people getting paid to leave and getting away with murder.”
Anthem Literally Celebrates Murder of African Americans
CNN reports Sunday, “Defiant, and determined to be a conduit for U.S. change, Colin Kaepernick plans to sit through the national anthem for as long as he feels it is appropriate and until he sees significant progress in America — specifically when it comes to race relations.
“[Kaepernick] knows he could be cut by San Francisco for this stand. Criticized, ostracized and he’ll go it all alone if need be.”
Like all whistleblowers and others taking a stand against injustice and for the oppressed, Kerpernick knows he risks becoming a Targeted Individual. He knows he might be persecuted in some road cities. He says he’s ready, not overly concerned about his safety, but “if something happens, that’s only proving my point.”
“I’m going to continue to stand with the people that are being oppressed,” Kaepernick said Sunday at his locker. “To me this is something that has to change. When there’s significant change and I feel like that flag represents what it’s supposed to represent, this country is representing people the way that it’s supposed to, I’ll stand.”
“Almost no one seems to be aware that even if the U.S. were a perfect country today, it would be bizarre to expect, much less force anyone with any decency, to sing the national anthem. It’s even more bizarre to insist that African American players stand for it,” reports The Intercept’s Jon Schwartz.
“Why?” asks Schwartz. “Because it literally celebrates the murder of African Americans.”
“Few know that because we only ever sing the first verse. But read the end of the third verse and you’ll see why the Star Spangled Banner is not just a musical atrocity, it’s an intellectual and moral one, too:
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave,
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.
Violence hailed in the national anthem is enough for some to refuse to stand and to sing it. Star Spangled Banner was written by Francis Scott Key about the Battle of Fort McHenry in Baltimore during the War of 1812.
“But we don’t ever talk about how the War of 1812 was a war of aggression that began with an attempt by the U.S. to grab Canada from the British Empire,” says Schwartz.
As Schwartz highlights, however, there is more to this tale of pathological patriotism that Americans prefer to not face.
Schwarts explains that the U.S. had “wildly overestimated the strength of the U.S. military. By the time of the Battle of Fort McHenry in 1814, the British had counterattacked and overrun Washington, D.C., setting fire to the White House.”
One key tactic behind the British military’s success was actively recruiting American slaves. A detailed 2014 article in Harper’s explains that orders given to Royal Navy’s Admiral Sir George Cockburn read:
Let the landings you make be more for the protection of the desertion of the Black Population than with a view to any other advantage. … The great point to be attained is the cordial Support of the Black population. With them properly armed & backed with 20,000 British Troops, Mr. Madison will be hurled from his throne.
Entire families journeyed to the ships of the British, who promised no one would be given back to their “owners.” The men were trained to create a regiment, the Colonial Marines, who participated in many battles, including the August 1814 raid on Washington.
On the night of September 13, 1814, the British bombarded Fort McHenry. Key, seeing the fort’s flag the next morning, was inspired to write the lyrics for the Star Spangled Banner, Schwartz says.
“So when Key penned ‘No refuge could save the hireling and slave / From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave,’ he was taking great satisfaction in the death of slaves who’d freed themselves.”
He owned several slaves himself.
“With that in mind, think again about the next two lines: ‘And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave / O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.’”
Schwarz offers a reality check to those with a touch of delusion about what they salute and sing:
“The reality is that there were human beings fighting for freedom with incredible bravery during the War of 1812. However, the Star Spangled Banner glorifies America’s ‘triumph’ over them — and then turns that reality completely upside down, transforming their killers into the courageous freedom fighters.”
If Colin Kaepernick’s anger is justified, as Schwartz says, “we really need a new national anthem.”
Kaepernick reiterated Sunday that he will “speak the truth when I’m asked about it.
“This isn’t for look. This isn’t for publicity or anything like that. This is for people that don’t have the voice. And this is for people that are being oppressed and need to have equal opportunities to be successful. To provide for families and not live in poor circumstances.”
Source: The Intercept, CNN
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