To Stand or Not To Stand

I grew up in the 60s. All during elementary school, we recited the Pledge of Allegiance followed by singing, My Country ‘Tis of Thee. We were being indoctrinated to love our country.

As a disclaimer, to possibly being perceived as a racist, or playing the race card; here’s a little about my background. From the time I was 11 years old, I lived in a virtually all black society; my church was all black, my school was all black, my friends were black,  although, there was a white kid right around the corner with whom my brother and I  played. When we moved to Sacramento, we moved into a integrated, mostly white neighborhood, and those were the kids we played with. I hadn’t grown up with an “anti-white” mentality, nor an inferior complex because I was black.

A few weeks ago, I attended my grandson’s junior league football game. As the game was starting, over the loud speaker I hear someone singing the National Anthem. I looked around me, and the people around me remained seated. As I looked across the field I saw some people standing. They didn’t look like me. I hesitated at first, but I stood. Why did I stand? Why didn’t those around me stand?

I stood because of habit, partly; but, I mainly because I felt odd being seated while it was being sung.  But I must admit I felt just as odd being the only one in my immediate surrounding standing. It’s been a while since I have been at an event where the National Anthem was sung, which required a response on my part.

Why didn’t they stand? I’m certain that there are reasons. It could be this wasn’t taught or instilled in them, or they don’t see the relevance. I won’t judge them. I cannot judge them. We shouldn’t judge what we don’t know, nor understand. Your experience in life may be totally different, which is why you may have a different response. Their experience may not have been so kind; in fact, it may have been the very opposite of yours.

A couple of years ago, my daughter took my grandsons, one teenager and one adult to a basketball game. She stood during the anthem. They did not. One of them stated the person behind them kneed them because they didn’t stand. This is a free country, right? We do have certain freedoms, right?

I really get that we should take pride in our country for its ideals, but what if those ideals do not trickle down to all? It is a beautiful concept. “…one Nation, under God , indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” But is liberty and justice for all? Are all treated equally? Are all treated fairly? Do all have the same opportunity? Is justice blind?

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

There had been a big brouhaha about Colin Kaepernick taking the knee during the National Anthem last year. There were supporters and detractors. Some believed it to be disrespectful.

This season, Colin Kaepernick is out of work. No NFL owner has hired him to serve as a quarterback. Why didn’t he stand? Why did he take the knee? Was it because he hated America? Was it because he disrespected the flag and the military? When asked why he didn’t stand, Colin 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,” Kaepernick told NFL Media in an exclusive interview after the game. “To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”

He was referring to the police shootings of unarmed African-Americans that seemed to be prevalent especially in the past couple of years. His knee stance was his way of protesting the injustice.

Now, because he hasn’t been hired, more sport players are joining in taking the knee to protest Kaepernick’s being black balled because of his protest. It’s been one of the hot topics now being made more relevant by the President’s statement at a rally in Alabama, and his tweets, that NFL owners should fire the players who do not stand during the National Anthem.

The San Antonio Spurs coach, Gregg Popovich gave a very insightful statement on this matter:

When you’ve been born with certain privileges, those that aren’t in your circle, or that look like you become invisible. Their world is invisible to you. It takes intentional effort on your part to break the barrier, to understand their world. We need empathy.

Because I live in the United States of America, and am a citizen; I have certain unalienable rights; freedom of speech, and the ability to redress grievances. Perhaps, our grievances are not the same, but let’s not be quick to dismiss a person’s position because it isn’t your position.




14 thoughts on “To Stand or Not To Stand

  1. Barbara,
    You are doing a great job. I always have someone read my stuff😬 I think blogging is about speaking out truth in hopes of helping others. I lost 6 followers on my FB page this week. I must have offended someone. I guess you can’t please everyone. Don’t stop what you’re doing!!😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You lost followers? Wow! Your posts are so truth speaking in our life issues and it’s always with humor, so I’m surprised. I do admire your work, and I’m glad that even in light of our positions, that we could have this debate and not let it divide us..

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Barbara! Great post! By looking at your pic and experiences I’d guess we are about the same age…..39! I will be brief. I lived in the south most of my life. Schools integrated when I was in the 9th grade….All 9th grade students went to one school, which had been the Black high school. It was an adjustment. There were fights but no gangs and by the end of the year, I would say it was a pretty good idea as we were next going to the one high school in the county! Guess what brought us racially together? Sports!
    We won a state championship! Now, we are afraid of one another! I am afraid of concealed weapons, legal or illegal. The other day at a medical office a Black woman was told by another patient in the waiting room a terrible and demeaning racial comment. No one said a word other than the Black woman who simply replied, ” I have worked for our government for forty years ” and then returned to her iPad. Guns concealed in the waiting room? I looked around and guessed there might be and I did not want the situation to escalate to a shooting. After the speaker of the insult went inside for her appointment, I went over to sit next to the Black woman. I said,” I’m so sorry you had to hear that” she said, you are so kind to comfort me, but “it happens all the time”. Now reminds me of the 60’s and the various protests over different issues. Now, we fear one another because we don’t know one another. Now, we kill one another rather trying to work out a peaceful solution. I’m afraid! You know my blog is diverse…with people of faith and those spiritually seeking. I pray for you and your family. Thank you for sharing your walk of faith!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow! Rick, I so appreciate your willingness to stand up, to speak truth., and to live out your faith in our Creator God. As one commenter reminds: this world is not our home, we are passing through. Let’s spread the truth of God and share it with as many people as possible. Again, thanks Rick for being so encouraging!


  3. Thanks for clarifying, Barbara. We can agree to disagree. Just because you see an issue differently than how I see it, doesn’t mean we can’t remain friends.

    That said, I think they are protesting in the wrong way. I defend their right to protest. But, if their beef is with police brutality, then hold rally’s or picket in front of police departments.

    They are saying they cannot respect a country that treats it’s citizens unfairly. I am not sure how they can complain about unfair treatment when they are millionaires based on this country’s capitalist economy that allows people to rise above wherever they started. That does not happen in other countries.

    I believe prejudice is alive in our country. I believe some people are treated unfairly. I have been a victim myself. But, every government has done things it’s not proud of. The United States is the ONLY government which has tried to make amends to its people. Instead of taking a knee to call attention to the problem, why not volunteer, education people, employ people and call attention to solutions.

    I get so sick of people using the word “racists ” to intimidate people. I hope you don’t lose people over this . We should be able to articulate our differences and remain friends.

    The flag should be the last thing they should be disrespecting. It is the very thing that gives them the right to behave in the manner they are.

    They have to realize that people may not like what they are doing. And, when the public retaliates (I will not be watching football), they need to accept it for what it is. We don’t care what color you are; we don’t like what you are doing. There are consequences to every action. If you’re willing to protest be willing to accept the consequences and don’t call racism.

    I hope we can have healthy debate here. Thanks for writing about this.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad that we can have a healthy debate, and still remain friends. Can one not complain because they have benefited? Can they not speak out for the oppressed? He is being paid or was being paid for something he does, his talent. That talent should not silence his voice to speak out for those who are oppressed. In fact, by virtue of his skin color, although, it is my understanding he’s half-white, he is still subject to the same racial profiling.

      I actually don’t see his protest against the military or the flag as disrespect, but a call to aim to fulfill it. But that’s my take. I used to be appalled and not understand how people could burn our flag, to me that was blatant disrespect. So, I guess it is a matter of perspective.

      I am far from being a racist, but I am also far from being perfect. I started a post that I haven’t completed yet on tolerance. We say that we are a tolerant society, but when people do not agree with our positions, our tolerance goes out the window.

      Also, I don’t know that Kaepernick has complained of his not being hired as a result of his protest, or has called his failure to be hired, racism. I believe that others are.

      I love our country and its ideals; however, I do recognize that we will never really fully reach those ideals because we are all but sinners, as I stated in an earlier response in agreement to Wally Fry.

      Thanks for your feedback!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Just because he benefited does not negate his right to complain. But he should confine his protesting to when he’s a private citizen, not he’s representing his employer. He agreed not to disparage his employer (I am sure it’s in his contract). I would not have a problem if he took his stance as a private citizen. And, I don’t know that he has complained, either. He stood up for what he believed in. He has to be willing to suffer the consequences. Like you said, we are ALL sinners, and we will never fully reach those ideals. I am so sick of the racial debate in this country. We are not perfect. We need to look for ways to come together. I am glad you blogged about this. A lot of people would not be brave enough to (me included) 😀

        Liked by 1 person

      2. God has wired us all differently. I pray God always uses me to speak truth and being gracious at the same time. Sheila, I do pray about my blogs because some are controversial and its not easy to put it out there, so I am always looking to him for guidance. Sometimes, I even have to have someone else read it before I press the Publish button. I don’t want to offend, but I do want to speak the truth, or voice my perspective, opinion.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi Barbara. You are going to get in trouble LOL, watch and see. You know, on a personal level I think what Kapernick is boneheaded. I actually get that there is still a substantial amount of racial prejudice in our county; anybody who denies that is blind. Sadly, that has probably spilled over to how police treat minorities. I can speak to that, as I grew up in Little Rock in racially diverse parts of town, and have seen it. On the other hand, I am not sure protesting against the government and America itself is reallynot pointing the finger the right way. I really don’t think our government is institutionally bigoted; people are. I also happen to be a veteran of one of our conflicts, and tend towards the Patriotic myself, so I find what he did bothersome. Having said that? More power to him. I joined in that conflict because these rights are guaranteed by our constitution. Any efforts to legislate that makes the sacrifice some made meaningless. So, while I would likely gladly tell that fellow what I think, I support his right to do it fully. On to the owners who won’t hire him? Well, while he has an inalienable right to his protest, they also have a right to hire or not hire folks based on business decisions and the type of image they put out. Final note, and I will hush. I find, among the Christian world, the linkages between American patriotism and the Christian faith bothersome.The simple fact is….there is no link. My faith is not measured by how I feel about this country. My Lord requires that I be a good citizen, but He does not require patriotism. There has been a tendency in some Christian quarters, especially in the South, to equate Patriotism with Godliness. This is simply not true. I believe we are taught that, ultimately, our citizenship is NOT of this world, right? Just my disjointed thoughts here, Thanks for the space.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wally – I so absolutely agree with you! Yes, I figure I may get in trouble or lose friends on this one.

      As Christians, we forget this world is not our home, and yet we are to be subject to the government Romans 13 and pray for our leaders 1 Timothy 2.

      I agree too, it’s the owners’ prerogative, and I respect his right to protest the oppression. I do not see his protest as anti-military or anti-America but perhaps a call for us to rise to our ideals.

      And yes, we are a world of sinners so, while we may have lofty ideals and laws which reflect those ideals, those who enforce are but flawed individuals with preconceived biases based on our world’s experiences.

      Thanks so much for providing a thoughtful response!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I support the right to stand or not to stand based on your conviction. Was I not clear? I don’t think that we should be quick to judge someone not knowing what’s behind their position. Our military fight for these very freedoms.


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