OPINION: I stand with Eminem by taking a knee
Last night’s Super Bowl halftime show with rappers Snoop Dogg, Eminem, and 50-cent as well as Mary J. Blige and the amazing Dr. Dre was spectacular, binging nostalgia to a lot of us who enjoyed the old-school hip hop. However, a message was delivered by one of the artists.
Famously anti-Trump rapper Eminem took a knee in solidarity with Colin Kaepernick in the fight against police brutality.
The right’s “views” claim to kneeling to the flag and anthem is an insult to men and women in uniform and to those who have served in the past. As an Army veteran who served for 13 years, I disagree. Standing up against racial injustice can be very uniting for our country. Just consider how one of the teams on the field yesterday arrived at that moment.
Both Eminem and Colin Kaepernick used their First Amendment rights to freely express their free speech. That’s what many men and women service members fought for, not a piece of cloth, but the constitutional rights that make us the Democracy that we are today and cherish.
And I don’t stand alone.
Cincinnati Bengals star Quarterback Joe Burrow made an impact and united his team when he talked about the moment that made him vow to fight against racial discrimination for the rest of his life. It’s hard to believe he’d have been playing in the Super Bowl if his teammates didn’t support him after the story he shared and its meaning.
“Burrow decided to address the team by telling a personal story about the racial injustice a Black teammate experienced during their high school basketball days growing up in Athens, Ohio,” reports ESPN. “During one game, Burrow said, people in the stands yelled racial slurs at the friend. Burrow described feeling shaken and upset during the game, and what it felt like afterward as the two of them sat in the back of the team bus.” They quoted his teammate as saying:
“He kind of broke down talking about it,” [Bengals defensive tackle D.J.] Reader said. “He’s a guy who stood there and he supported his friend as he should because you know it’s not right. As a person it meant a lot to hear how he stood up for him. [Racism] is not something he’s not just now learning.”
When I was a Conservative, I was blinded to the wrongdoings of the police and how they treat the black community, especially when we are told to respect and defend the police. At the beginning of my own journey, I couldn’t believe the systemic racism that goes on in this day and age.
While it’s true, we can support the police because they do the hard job of protecting and serving, they are still humans who are flawed and can make hateful mistakes, even fatal ones.
When I think about the victims of police brutality I tell myself, ‘they didn’t deserve the punishment for the crime they’ve committed.’ Many didn’t even attempt a crime. I think about Breona Taylor, George Floyd, Tamir Rice, and others who fell, victim to deadly cops.
So that’s why this veteran stands with Eminem, Kaepernick, and many others who take a knee to support the victims and their families of police brutality.
Anyone else who thinks America should stand up for justice if we want a better democracy should stand up and take a knee too.
This is an opinion column.
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Opinion columnist and Army veteran. Former MAGA, now a Biden voter.