October 2017, Opinion

Taking a knee = standing up for what is right

How serious are the people of America about improving race relations in our society? Even though the results aren’t often noticed, changes have been occurring since the 1960s.

Race-related problems have been a big part of our country’s history, and it is up to all of us to decide if we have the will to change that. Since many Americans don’t seem to want to change – and to even move backward – there have been a lot of protests lately. The most talked-about protest involves professional athletes kneeling instead of standing when the National Anthem is played at sporting events.

Recently, Lebron James, a professional basketball player, called the president a “bum” for criticizing players who protested by “taking the knee.” The protest, James continued, “is about equality and people having the option and the freedom to speak upon things that they feel is unjust.”

Taking the knee is a movement started by Colin Kaepernick, initially used to “to protest police brutality, anti-black segregation of socioeconomic resources, mass incarceration, and the myriad other forms of anti-blackness.” Although, it has been understood recently as mainly a protest against Donald Trump, avoiding participating in the National Anthem has a deeper meaning to it.

I agree with James – this aim of this protest is to promote peace and morality throughout the country and to bring about a better future for this nation. The action does no harm to anyone, and the athletes undertaking this protest should be praised and not criticized.

As a group that has suffered racial discrimination throughout the history of this nation, African Americans have every right to protest their right to equality and justice.

It is important to keep in mind the words of Elie Wiesel, the Holocaust survivor who became a writer, activist and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize: “There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.”

I would advise that everyone who strongly believes in right and wrong to stand up — or take a knee — and speak out for what you know is right.

Kendall Smith Jr. is an Early College student.