Inequality & police cruelty against minorities

by B.Matthews on February 7, 2017 - 4:30pm

On September 9th, 2016, the Guardian published a story on, “Kaepernick’s anthem protest is the perfect way to highlight America’s race problems” written by Les Carpenter. On August 26th, Colin Kaepernick of the 49ers quarterback denied standing for the American National Anthem. This act raised a national dispute about ‘racial discrimination, police brutality and the significance of the American flag’. Les Carpenter states, Kaepernick’s sudden concern about racial discrimination; Carpenter compares Kaepernick to Muhammed Ali based on his denial to fight in the Vietnamese War. However, Kaepernick states his concerns about racial inequality and how he has always been affected by it. Following the game, a reporter from the NFL Network asked Kaepernick about not standing for the American Anthem. Kaepernick stated, “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.” This conflict has more to do with our society than football. Some fans were hurt, while others rushed to buy his jersey. People are standing by his side; Michael Eric Dyson a sociology professor at Georgetown University named his protest, “A thoughtful reflection on how best to highlight the plague of injustice, and the need, finally, to hold our nation accountable for Black Death in the streets”. Kaepernick is not alone in standing for the rights of minorities, in fact, team-mate Eric Reid, Brandon Marshall (Denver Bronco), Jeremy Lance (Seattle Seahawk) and Megan Rapinoe from Seattle Reign FC – National Women’s soccer league has joined Kaepernick in this fight to get rid of racial inequality. Carpenter exemplifies how Kaepernick chose the perfect platform to create tension between America’s problems with racial discrimination. No other professional league is subjugated by African American athletes; however, the American flag is becoming the issue that White people use against African Americans in the United States. Since the shooting of a young black teenager, Michael Brown, by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri; racial injustice and police brutality have been affecting the everyday lives of all minorities. Kaepernick’s stand to racism is just the start of something.

color:#333333">Being a Black Canadian teenage girl, I have experienced a lot of racism. Based on some of my personal experiences and Kaepernick’s gesture to stand for what is right shows how much I appreciate this article. Feeling targeted by the police and higher authorities are things that Black people hate. Growing up my parents always told me to stay away from trouble and the police because you never know when something bad is going to happen. Some may not understand why, but being Black we don’t live the easiest of lives (and neither does anyone else but,) constantly being targeted or put down by superior races.

color:#333333">Police brutality and racial inequality are issues that could potentially affect millions of African Americans and other minority races around the world. To help end the disagreement on police brutality, and racial inequality more people should join this ‘debate’ on helping out their fellow citizens.




Great topic and content! I loved the way you incorporated your own personal background. Being part of a community of people, who are different, whether it is in terms of your race, religion or sexuality is very difficult and especially hard to understand unless you are part of a minority. An example of that could be the #BlackLivesMatter movement. I believe it is an incredibly important movement to stand for and I was incredibly outraged when people started saying "#AllLivesMatter". They couldn't understand that #BlackLivesMatter didn't mean that other lives don't. I think it's a great example of how ignorant and narcissistic some people can be. Racism has always been an issue. In regards to your article, I have definitely seen people talk about Kaepernick’s stance in the media and I completely agree with it. His gesture has definitely helped feed the buzz and the stigma surrounding inequality and police brutality.

As a Canadian-born Chinese-Vietnamese young woman of timid nature, I grew up stuck between two worlds: the one I have inside my home and the one outside of it. I spent my entire childhood fake laughing when people would pull their temples back at me to try to imitate my almond-shaped eyes and when people “jokingly” laughed when I failed a math exam for the first time because they thought “Asians were supposed to be good at math”. I have always had such a hard time standing up for myself because I needed so desperately to fit in with the crowd.

The prejudices that come with all the categories and boxes we are put in are sometimes outrageous. In 2017, you would think that this would stop, but I’m still very much waiting. Have people not understood that when one person of a particular gender, religion, race or sexuality does something wrong, it doesn’t make everyone of that gender, religion, race or sexuality bad people? Have people not understood that we can’t choose the color of our skin or the way our heart wants to love? The worst thing is that we can be put in a variety of boxes all at once and be discriminated against for solely being ourselves.

I find your post very insightful and structured very efficiently. Though I do think that your introduction to the subject was somewhat quick and to the point, your summary of the topic is very properly articulated. Also, by comparing the situation to that of Muhammad Ali’s and quoting professionals such as the sociologist Michael Eric Dyson, you highlight the importance of the topic even more. Finally, by giving your stance on the issue, it makes your article all the more thorough, however this inherently introduces the possibilities of other opinions on the issue through different ethical frameworks.

In this case, there are conflicting ethical points of view that have to be taken into account. For instance, Kaepernick’s refusal to stand up during the anthem did not sit well with many other NFL players who basically argue that standing up for the anthem honors the men and women who serve and have served the U.S. military. This ties into to the framework of ethical relativism, which in sum, refutes the judgement of actions or behaviors of people from other cultures, (well in this case race) because no moral principles are valid for all people, places and times. Essentially, morals are pitted against each other- discrimination and disrespect for the men and women who serve the U.S. citizens. On the other hand, a utilitarian point of view would see Kaepernick’s actions as inherently good. The teleological ideal (utilitarianism) functions based on giving the greatest happiness for the greatest number. In other words, by kneeling during the national anthem, the NFL player is doing the most good but making a public statement that there definitely a problem when it comes to inequality and police brutality against minorities. Also, as per your concluding statement, Kaepernicks actions sparked debate and brought attention to your topic, and consequently would aim to eliminate or at least lessen the issues of race.

In closing, I feel as though applying the utilitarian framework would be the most suited point of view would be best for this situation. Because of your anecdote, the overall idea that ending or lessening the brutality towards people of colour justifies that doing so would bring the greatest happiness for the greatest amount of people.

In this article, Brianne Matthews talks about her opinions about the Kaepernick’s anthem protest’s news. This athlete refused to stand for the American National Anthem because he thinks America has a great discrimination against people with other skin colors than white. The author linked her own experience to Kaepernick’s protest to show her support to kaepernick’s action. Brianne Matthews is a black girl, and she had many bad experiences on racism. I am surprised to see her mother told her to stay away from trouble and the police from her young age only because of their skin colors. I think Matthews’s experience can be related to intersectionality. As a black girl, she may struggles against both racism and discrimination against women. For the black feminism I have learned from class, African-American women play a special role in the society because they may receive more oppression. As a female, she is more likely to be attacked by the society than a male. I also feel sad to see that people of color think that stay away to protect themselves is a better way than speak out their thoughts against racism since the country cannot guarantee all the rights for them. From my point of view, the policies for protecting people from different races still need to be improved. We need to encourage people to share their experience because it helps the society to pay attention to racism and police cruelty.

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About the author

I'm Brianne, this is my final semester at Champlain College and I am currently studying social science: education option. On my past time, I enjoy learning musical instruments, and practicing the ones that I currently study.