“Africans in America are a distinct and inferior race of people, which all experience proves to be the greatest evil that afflicts a community.” — Francis Scott Key, author of the Star-Spangled Banner
According to Dictionary.com, patriotism is a noun that stands for: devoted love, support, and defense of one’s country; national loyalty.
San Francisco 49ers’ quarterback Colin Kaepernick recently became public enemy number 1 (at least in white peoples’ eyes) for refusing to stand up during the national anthem. He states his protest is to give a voice to the voiceless in the Unites States that continue to suffer from systemic racism & police brutality. According to the video below, he plans to keep protesting until America seriously changes how people of color are treated in this country. Much respect to Colin Kaepernick.
America is a country that prides itself on the concept of patriotism. Our national identity mandates that every American relish in the ideal that if you are a natural born citizen or you went through the motions of becoming a citizen, you won the jackpot. This way of thinking is instilled at a very early age in damn near every natural born citizen. Sounds great right? Nothing wrong with having pride in one’s homeland correct? Sure. That’s until you decide to start pulling back the veil of the American flag to see all of the problems the concept of patriotism has been trying to mask for a few hundred years now.
Most white Americans could careless if a person of color brings up the topics of systemic racism & police brutality. To most white Americans these are concepts & realities that they were not born into nor were most ever educated about. To most people of color in America, systemic racism & police brutality were mandatory teachings no matter the education levels of the teacher. So when a white person and a person of color examine this concept of patriotism, chances are a white person is viewing patriotism strictly through the lens of whiteness and all that whiteness entails. This patriotic whiteness has been telling little white boys & girls for generations that YOU are a member of the greatest country to every exist, work hard, study hard and the “Dream” can be yours. This pursuit of the “Dream” bubble wrapped in the concept of whiteness fails to teach these little white boys & girls about the world people of color are born into and must conform to in order to survive. When a person of color examines the concept of patriotism, a person of color has no choice but to look at this concept of the “Dream” being sold to them by happy go-lucky white faces broadcasted through the television every day, but they also must grasp the concept that YOU will be treated differently by these same happy go-lucky white faces in your community & country simply because YOU do not possess a literal…happy go-lucky white face.
So when these little boys & girls of color grow up to start questioning exactly what the concept of patriotism truly means as it relates to the world consisting of people of color whom are forced to interpret the landscape of the American homeland differently for pure survival, the questioning is received by the happy go-lucky white faces as a direct attack on their concept of what the “Dream” is supposed to represent. The “Dream” has told white America that as long as you stay true to the homeland without questioning the actions of the homeland, you can be apart of the “Dream”. The “Dream” has also told white Americans that if anybody starts questioning the ideal of loyalty to the “Dream” that these people are to be treated as enemies of the state & if they prevail, YOU will lose your chance at attaining the “Dream”. So if a person of color dares to protest against the concept of patriotism in order to shine a light on the issues patriotism is purposely trying to conceal that affect people of color in lethal ways, understand that this person of color is directly attacking any & everything that America has sold white people for generations on what it means to be white in America. This person of color is attempting to snatch the “Dream” away that this country has spent the last 240 years perfecting on the backs of non-whites.
Side note: A lot of “Dream” chasers love to tell people of color, “If you don’t like this country then leave!” Understand that this is code for “We the Dreamers prefer to uphold the practices of systemic racism & police brutality because they ensure the ‘Dream’ lives on.”