Black citizens are 2.7 times more likely to be shot by the police than white citizens, according to the Fatal Encounters database.
This is an astounding number. Each case has different circumstances, but the fact remains that police officers, the very people who are charged with protecting citizens, have been responsible for killing them.
The Black Lives Matter movement has grown into a national protest to bring attention to these deaths and demand justice. Protests have taken many forms and drawn attention through numbers. But who can make the biggest change? Those who are well-respected and listened to: people who are already famous.
When quarterback of the San Francisco 49ers Colin Kaepernick peacefully protested against police brutality at a game by taking a knee during the national anthem, he used his fame and power for good. His action was not only effective in drawing attention and thought, it was brave and innovative.
I know several people who have not stood for the national anthem at ball games for years. My own father is one of them, because he does not support glorifying war. But the fact is that Kaepernick’s action had much more of a widespread effect than those who are not famous.
Kaepernick’s protest inspired other football players to copy him and develop other ways of showing solidarity with the Black Lives Matter cause. It is a mark of the times that people like Kaepernick would take the risk of kneeling during the national anthem while the entire country stands in reverence.
Kaepernick and other football players may have much to lose, but it is worth the risk to gain equality and stop the deaths of black U.S. citizens at the hands of police officers.
“There’s a lot of racism disguised as patriotism in this country,” said Kaepernick according to CNN.
According CNN, Kaepernick is paying the price, as he has received death threats against him.
“It will be loud and clear for everyone why it happened, and that would move this movement forward at a greater speed than what it is even now,” Kaepernick said in response to the death threats, according to the article.
Let’s knock on wood that it will not come to that.
To top off the drama, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump commented that he thought the protesters should leave the country.
Not only has the protest caused death threats, but about a third of NFL TV viewers say they are less likely to watch because they do not approve of the national anthem protests, according to Sporting News.
The polls also gathered information that 28 percent of African-Americans felt more inclined to watch NFL on TV than before the protests. These are dramatic numbers and show the divide in how the country views the Black Lives Matter movement.
Racism has been an ongoing theme in this country reaching back to slavery. Yet, only now are some of these patterns coming to light with concrete examples. The recent instances of police officers killing black citizens are re-occurrences of events that have happened before on many occasions.
Our increasing use of social media and video sharing has brought these patterns to public attention. Now, more than ever, racial injustice is apparent to all. Now, more than ever, is it possible to speak out and begin finding ways to stop this injustice.
Those who boycott NFL TV because they think the players do not show proper respect for the national anthem are missing the point. Such “patriots” continue to ignore the incredibly obvious, ongoing instances of racism and racial profiling.
But Kaepernick, as well as those in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, have reminded us yet again that there is no justifying racism and the laws of human rights must apply to all.