Many Americans are offended by the actions of several athletes who refuse to support the American flag and the National Anthem. Timelines on social media have been flooded with abhorrence and utter disdain because of these actions. Some are demanding players be benched and others leave the country if they are not happy in America. While many remain offended that black athletes will not stand for the flag, others are offended that a piece of cloth is more important to Americans than a black man’s life. So today, we ask America to forgive black Americans for expecting others to take notice of the constant injustices that abound in a country that supports red, white, and blue, but abhors black.
America, please forgive us for expressing hurt and pain toward a flag that brought black people to a country in chains to sell as slaves. How dare a community of “colored” people have the nerve to kneel or sit during the National Anthem, as opposed to riots and looting? Forgive us for attempting recognition as equals in a country where many of blacks have fought for the freedoms that are yet unrealized. It is unfortunate that these types of actions have to take place in order for issues that are racially influenced to gain any ground in our country.
America, forgive us for refusing to stand for a flag that reinforces a system that is responsible for black Americans being killed, incarcerated, arrested and harassed in extraordinary numbers. It is unfortunate that a portion of the black community refuses to support a flag with 13 stripes that stood for slave states. How could blacks be so naïve to believe that the climate of the country could shift in their favor? The 13th Amendment to the United States Constitution makes an exception to allow slavery as “a punishment for crime.” Forgive us for being surprised that this exception continues to be active in this country with the disproportionate number of black Americans incarcerated or buried six feet under at the hands of law enforcement.
America, please forgive us for seeing red, white, and blue different from many of our privileged recipients. While the flag stands for justice to some, others see red as the blood of unarmed black men covering the streets, white as privileged Americans who stand in judgment and blue as the color of this community’s aggressors. The spectacular flag’s design, complete with the 13 colonies, symbolizes an America that had finally come together as a country while the “Star-Spangled Banner” is indicative of lives changed for eternity. Forgive black America for having the courage to express their current reality, which signifies this truth only applies to the dominant race.
Please forgive us for being so ignorant to believe when Americans stood and pledged support of the flag that it really signified inclusivity? Even though blacks fought, alongside white counterparts, Americans seemed to forget the segregation and racism that still prevails so many years after the Declaration of Independence was signed.
I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
America, forgive us for being angry because fellow Americans would rather bench players and ship an entire community to another country (or hell, if they could) rather than address the issues that incite this radical behavior. How foolish of us to rest on the laws of hope after all these years. Americans, please forgive those who protest in peaceful solidarity to plead for justice. If you can forgive black Americans, perhaps we can forgive you for being so judgmental and ignorant of the harsh reality that plagues this country and causes so much division.
Opinion by Cherese Jackson (Virginia)
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US History: The Pledge of Allegiance
Top Image Courtesy of Bryan Rosengrant – Flickr License – Flickr License
Inline Image by Roger Sayles Courtesy of From Sovereign to Serf – Flickr License
Featured Image Courtesy of Florian Schynts – Flickr License