I come from a hyper respectful culture. What I mean by hyper respectful is that, in my opinion, they take respecting elders and those in authority to an extreme. I am just going to give a few examples: Girls and women in general are supposed to bend a knee in greeting elders, while boys and men bow on the ground (the one for boys and men is becoming less common nowadays. They now just bow their torso as a sign of respect). How you call people is also important. Any one that is older than you by a certain amount of years can never be called by their first name. You must call them auntie or uncle. To call them by their first name is seen as a sin. So when we see westerners calling people who are much older than them by their first names, some Nigerians shake their heads in disbelief at the rudeness of westerners. “No respect culture people”, some of them think. Oh yes, I know that some people in my culture and probably in other African cultures view westerners as people with no understanding of respect. (This is not my opinion as I grew up around some westerners and was exposed to some of their cultures. I am just stating a certain mindset)
So when I hear people saying that Colin Kaepernick and any American who kneels when the national anthem is being sung are being disrespectful, I shake my head. In what culture is kneeling considered rude? All over the world, we have different people groups, different cultures and customs, different mentalities, different beliefs, and different histories; but please name one culture where kneeling is considered rude? From what I have seen, most cultures view kneeling as a form of respect. Even ancient religious texts agree with this. So I can say that kneeling is not disrespectful at all, but then why are some people so upset about this as a form of protest?
One reason given for the disapproval is that people who kneel when the anthem is being sung are being disrespectful to the American military that have fought for them to have the freedom to kneel. (Did that last sentence sound as contradictory to you as it did to me?) That’s like saying my daddy bought me a car, but I am not going to drive it so that I can be respectful to my dad. Did that sound warped to you as it did to me?
Another reason that’s given is that: The American military have sacrificed for their freedoms and not protesting when the anthem is being sung is a way to respect them. This is according to whom exactly? When did this custom of standing in attention for the anthem as a form of respect for the military begin? It certainly hadn’t been created when the American swimmer Michael Phelps won a medal in the last Olympics in Brazil, and when the American anthem was sung, he was seen laughing (he later explained it was due to the particular way his state of Baltimore sings a part of the American anthem). However, before this fact was known, nobody accused him of being disrespectful to the military, in fact a Time magazine article termed it as: “Phelps let everyone else in on the joke ”, not ‘He explained/apologized that he wasn’t being disrespectful’ . Hang on, maybe this rule had been created, only that it wasn’t applied to Michael Phelps nor was it about the military. I remember that African American gymnast…. Gabby Douglas, who didn’t put her hand over her heart when the anthem was sung, but she stood in attention with a smile on her face. She got flack for this and even apologized that she wasn’t being disrespectful to the country, not the military though, just the country.
It seems to me that this law of the anthem and respect and the military is applied without any rhyme of rhythm, except one: that it is only applicable to black people. So can you understand why they are protesting when the anthem is being sung?