Please Stand. Protest not always appropriate in all situations


Recently, it has become popular among athletes to silently protest during the national anthem. These athletes, such as 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, have been using the national anthem, which is played before sporting events, as a platform to speak out against racial injustices. In theory, this grand gesture of solidarity is a commendable pursuit. However, in practice, kneeling or raising a fist during the national anthem comes off as disrespectful rather than productive. These athletes and followers of the trend must realize there are more appropriate mediums for their protest than boycotting a sacred national anthem.

Public figures, such as athletes, have such a broad and captivated audience to articulate their messages. This affords celebrities a powerful voice that can affect people worldwide. If used correctly, this influence over the general public can produce extraordinarily positive results. Yet, in this circumstance, neglecting to participate in the national anthem is dishonorable. The national anthem and the flag are symbols of the men and women, of all ethnicities, who have died in order to preserve the rights granted by the Constitution, thus standing during the anthem is a sign of respect for those who fought to ensure freedom of speech for all Americans.

To clarify, the ability to protest and disagree with the status quo are also core values of the U.S. Therefore, protesting racial inequality is admirable, but disrespecting the anthem and everything it stands for is a sign of irreverence rather than appropriateness. These athletes with incredible influence must be careful to exude the correct image to the public; otherwise their message and stance on an issue could be wholly misinterpreted.

The ability to protest must be available to all Americans, but as individuals we must understand when and where it is appropriate to protest. To make a true impact, protesters need to convey their message in a considerate manner that will create the correct image of protesting to the public.

The views in this column do not necessarily reflect the views of the HiLite staff. Reach Misha Rekhter at [email protected]

Read – Gabby Perelmuter: Right to protest always valid, even during National Anthem.