The idea of systematic racism in America is often ignored. As of the past 7 years, we’ve heard of protest following the shootings of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Philando Castile, not to mention all the unnamed. There are websites dedicated to mapping police brutality and its concealed rise in America. We’ve all seen protests, whether violent, peaceful, or subtle. The most controversial as of late has been the idea of taking a knee during the national anthem, popularized by former quarterback Colin Kaepernick. We asked Centennial students their thoughts of kneeling, and their participation.
We start off with Kamden Westray, a senior. “The anthem is a representation of our country, and stands for those who go overseas to defend our lives so we can live as free Americans. I have no problem with people who choose to kneel, I respect the fact that it’s their opinion, but I think it’s disrespectful. It’s disrespectful because there are people who fought for our country and lost their lives, who lost everything so that we can stand in respect for our country.”
Another senior, Diarmuid Reilly, has a different perspective. “The national anthem doesn’t really have a true meaning to me, it’s something that’s played before games. I think that kneeling for the anthem holds a powerful message, because the anthem means a lot to some people. I kneel or usually just sit, but I don’t during the soccer season because I don’t want to draw any avoidable attention to the team. I think there are a lot of injustices towards minorities in America, but even in spite of that, I believe this country has done, and continues to do things that are pretty terrible, and with our current administration, I think there’s a whole host of reasons that people choose not to stand or are not proud to be American that are pretty understandable.”
At the end of the day, we can’t ignore the injustices faced by minorities in America. Whether it be police brutality, the brutal treatment of Native Americans that continues to this day, two Muslim travel bans, and the idea of racist, systematic, categorization of groups of people. Here at school, we have the nicety of not having open backlash towards students and groups who choose to take a knee, such as Dance Team or Cheer. Behind closed doors, these groups may receive backlash from students, staff, or even their own teammates. It’s evident that our school is deeply divided on various topics, this one being the most controversial. It is interesting to see the divide of our school, because it just goes to show the deep division expressed across America today.