Recently, there was a big fuss about Colin Kaepernick not standing to recite the pledge of allegiance. So, why didn’t he stand and recite and why have others done the same thing, Kaepernick said that it was a big issue for him especially, with people dying in the streets and the officers involved in the shootings are under investigation for murder getting leave with pay (who has ever heard of someone getting paid while under a murder investigation). He also stated he is not going to stand up and show pride in a flag that oppresses Black people. To pledge allegiance to a flag that doesn’t have “…justice for all.” when this country has so much racial injustice, would be a selfish act.
Let’s examine the pledge of allegiance to see why people oppose it,
“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 for liberty and justice for all.”
Now, when you read this you might think what is the “…Republic for which it stands…”(it’s not talking about the republican party) here is the meaning: A republic (from Latin: res publica) is a sovereign state or country which is organized with a form of government in which power resides in elected individuals representing the citizen body and government leaders exercise power according to the rule of law. The flag is a representation of a government, who was founded by men who were slaveholders who brutally raped and killed Black people and considered them less than human and “…justice for all.” was for White people only. That is why you see government employees for example, politicians, police, postal worker, fire fighters with flags on their uniforms or small pins on their suites and this is why you see the flag outside of all government buildings. So, if it represents the government why do the citizens have to pledge allegiance (loyalty or commitment of a subordinate to a superior or of an individual to a group or cause) the citizens are the subordinates (in lower rank or position) and the flag (government) wants the citizens to give their loyalty and commitment to anyone who works for the government, no questions asked. The government is the public servant and should be serving the citizens but when you are forced to pledge allegiance, you have to bow down and serve the government. Which goes against your First Amendment Rights which is freedom of speech this gives you the option to say the pledge of allegiance or not and to have an opinion.
Jackie Robinson was another athlete who used his first amendment right by not pledging allegiance to the flag this is what he said,
“There I was, the black grandson of a slave, the son of a black sharecropper, part of a historic occasion, a symbolic hero to my people. The air was sparkling. The sunlight was warm. The band struck up the national anthem. The flag billowed in the wind. It should have been a glorious moment for me as the stirring words of the national anthem poured from the stands. Perhaps, it was, but then again, perhaps, the anthem could be called the theme song for a drama called The Noble Experiment. Today, as I look back on that opening game of my first world series, I must tell you that it was Mr. Rickey's drama and that I was only a principal actor. As I write this twenty years later, I cannot stand and sing the anthem. I cannot salute the flag; I know that I am a black man in a white world. In 1972, in 1947, at my birth in 1919, I know that I never had it made.”
Even, Ms. Brooks, Tennessee State Representative, has also chosen not to salute the flag and pledge allegiance because she said,
“And when this designed they did not have Black people in mind. This flag was founded from the thirteen colonies that enslave black people it is a symbol of slavery and racial oppression”
She was corrected for not standing with her colleagues (fellow lawmakers) and reciting the pledge of allegiance. Ms. Brooks also said, “It’s not one nation under God and it’s not liberty and justice for all.” It’s very hard for a black person to recite the anthem which say’s “…one nation under God with liberty and justice for all.” with so many black killings and with the racial injustice of black people today people like Sandra Bland, Jamal Clark, Philando Castile, Trayvon Martin and many more. In my next blog will talk about the National Anthem in part 2.