Colin Kaepernick’s freedom of speech is protected by the First Amendment, and he has the right to kneel during the National Anthem. If people find his actions offensive, that’s unfortunate. The price we pay for living in a free society is that people are going to say and do things that we find disagreeable. Anyone of us could one day find ourselves in Colin Kaepernick’s position. There may be disagreement with what he’s saying, or how he’s saying it, but there should be absolute unanimity in defending his right to say it.
Here is where Colin is right. African-Americans are definitely at a disadvantage in America. They have the worst schools, the highest unemployment rate, and are more likely to be victims of a violent crime than the rest of the population. It’s unjust, and Kaepernick is rightfully angry.
However, if Colin is claiming that the police in America are intentionally murdering black men, he’s wrong. Certainly, there are racist cops and corrupt police departments in America, but they are the exception, and not the norm. Statistics compiled by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, show that a black person is no more likely to be killed by a police officer than a white person. This was confirmed by an independent study conducted by Roland Fryer, an African-American Professor of Economics at Harvard, who found that there was no racial bias in police shootings in America.
If Colin wants to protest the fact that bigotry and racism still exist in America, he’d be right because there are racists and bigots of every color in America. However, if he’s claiming that institutional racism still plagues this country, he’d be wrong, because it’s virtually impossible to find a business, school, civic organization, city, state or federal agency, or any other institution that still discriminates against people because of race.
Now, if Colin is claiming that the deck is stacked against black people in America, he’s right. However, what he needs to understand is that today, the deck is stacked against most Americans.
“The American Dream,” is a term coined by historian James Adams to describe the idea that everyone in America, regardless of the circumstances of birth, has the opportunity to ascend to whatever level their ambition and abilities can take them. Unfortunately, for more than three centuries, it was nothing but a myth for most African-Americans. Finally, America began to awaken to the injustice, and the civil rights movement promised to give African-Americans access to opportunities that were previously denied them. Although many African-Americans have been able to take advantage of the opportunities afforded them in America, rising to the pinnacles of the government, military and industry, today most African-Americans still find themselves languishing behind.
The frustration and anger being vented by the African-American community, although sometimes misdirected, stems from the realization that the promise of the civil rights movement has not, and may never materialize. A black child born to an unwed mother in the inner cities of America today, has little or no chance of working her way out of the poverty into which she was born. This is what I believe is the crux of Colin’s protest, and if it is, he’s right.
But why are the opportunities to improve their lives being denied African-Americans? They’re not. The simple truth is that there are fewer opportunities today for everyone. The Millennials will be the first generation in our history that will not have it as good as, or better than their parents. It will be harder for them to buy a house, educate their children, and to save for retirement. It will be more difficult for those entering the workforce today to improve their lives, then it was for those who grew up during the Great Depression.
“The American Dream,” is vanishing for all Americans. However, it’s hit the African-American community hardest because they were the ones relegated to the periphery of society and therefore, the most vulnerable.
Fifty-years ago, President Lyndon Johnson declared war on poverty. His idea was to provide the disadvantaged in America with the resources needed to improve their lives. It was a noble undertaking that was unfortunately, ill-conceived and negligently implemented. The war on poverty initiated the largest expansion of government in history, creating over 120 programs and bureaucracies intended to fight poverty. However, instead of giving people greater access to the opportunities needed to advance themselves, it has ensnared millions of Americans in a culture of dependence.
Social Scientists have shown that there is a direct correlation between welfare spending and out-of-wedlock births. An increase in welfare spending causes an increase in the number of out-of-wedlock births. The single biggest indicator that a child will grow up in poverty, drop out of school, become involved with drugs, crime and violence, and have almost no opportunity to improve their lot in life, isn’t race or ethnicity. It’s being born out-of-wedlock, and today 75% of all African-American children are born out-of-wedlock.
It may have been well intentioned, but the war on poverty has been a colossal disaster. All it’s succeeded in doing is creating a big government that is dependent upon dependent people. It has destroyed the nuclear family and pushed the African-American community into a never-ending cycle of dependency and despair.
Liberty creates the opportunity individuals need to improve their lives. However, liberty is a zero-sum proposition. The more power the government has, the less liberty the people have. The less liberty the people have, the fewer opportunities, they have to improve their lives. An individual’s opportunity to improve their life decreases, as their dependence upon the state increases. The more dependent upon government we become, the less free we are, and the less free we are, the worse our lives become.
If Colin Kaepernick wants to kneel down during the National Anthem to protest the injustices going on in America, he needs to do it while he still has the opportunity.