America: A Nation of Freedom or Censorship?

By Arianna Chen, Senior Editor

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America is a nation that has historically been embroiled in racial conflicts between the black and white communities; recent tensions include the Charlottesville massacre and incidents of police brutality/systematic oppression of people of color.

The entirety of my argument can be summed up in this one point: modern-day Nazis, who unflinchingly stand by the ideologies that led to the deaths of 5 million innocent Jews and deemed enemies of the harsh Nazi regime, have the right to wave around tiki torches and swastikas while screaming “blood and soil” according to President Trump. But somehow, in some totally-not-race-related-way, people of color are “sons of bitches” who are not allowed to silently kneel during the national anthem at a football game to protest racial inequalities in America. If silently kneeling during the national anthem is more “un-American” than Nazis or Confederate flags, we have more problems in America than we thought.

Undoubtedly, the anthem is a symbol of national pride and honor, especially for our country’s veterans. Many people are claiming that kneeling during the national anthem is a huge sign of disrespect to our hardworking veterans, who sacrifice their lives for the sake of maintaining the freedom of America. However, these silent and peaceful protests are truly a way of respecting and utilizing the very ideals of freedom of expression that soldiers fight and die for. What is the point of bolstering our so-called legacies of freedom of speech and having citizens die for this very freedom if people are not allowed to use it? Claiming that protestors should not use their freedom of speech because they should be grateful to have freedom of speech is a paradox within itself.

Veteran, former prisoner of war, and Senator John McCain commented on the situation, “That’s their right to do what they want as citizens.”

In any event, the whole conundrum over the supposed disrespect to the American flag is a diversion from the real issue at hand: racial injustice in America. NFL players are not protesting veterans or the American flag or anything of the sort and everyone knows it because they are open about the root of their discontent. In fact, the outrage that arose from their simple protest is another example of the very point of injustice and inequality that the people of color were trying to expose.

No matter how people may try to frame the issue at hand, the black protesting NFL players are American citizens who are entitled to their freedom of speech and right to peacefully protest against the lack of equal opportunity that faces them in modern-day America.

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