Colin Kaepernick has been protesting injustices people of colour face all across the United States from police brutality to systemic racism. He has consistently refused to stand up for the national anthem. He has also been vocal in defending his position, “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of colour”.
His supporters have praised his courage and tenacity. They also defended his right to freedom of speech and expression. And in all fairness he’s entitled to that right. President Obama weighed in by reminding the nation that “what makes this country special is that we respect people’s rights to have a different opinion”.
However, his detractors consider his actions offensive. They’ve lambasted him for snubbing the United States’ flag and by extension insulting men and women in uniform. Some even went as far as calling on him to leave the United States and go back to his country. President-elect Trump(then Republican nominee) joined this group by calling on Kaepernick to “find a country that works better for him”. But he’s an American and certainly can’t go anywhere.
Colin Kaepernick shocked both his supporters and detractors by saying after the election that it would have been “hypocritical” for him to vote. Now that left people wondering his motivation and aim. One of the effective ways of making a point is through the ballot box.
It’s mind boggling that someone who’s ostensibly passionate for freedom and justice ditched his right and opportunity to make that point. He could have used his voice to rally young people to vote. He could have used his voice to get them involved into politics. He could have used his voice to make justice and equality a central theme of the presidential campaign. Instead he decided to continue his protest after the election.
Just like him many young people are still protesting across the country. But how many of them actually voted? How many of them talked to their neighbours? How many of them knocked on doors? Could it be that they felt disillusioned just like Colin Kaepernick? Who thinks he’s, “not going to show support for that system”. And believes “the oppressor isn’t going to allow you to vote your way out of your oppression.” Well, Mr Kaepernick you can actually vote your way out of oppression. That’s why people fought and died for your right to vote.