Martin Luther King Jr. inspired many and was a main leader in the Civil Rights Movement, during what may have been one of the darker periods of American history.
Unfortunately, the same ideals that King fought against in the 1960s are the same ideals that are, right now, being played out against someone else who is taking a stand, or, rather kneeling: Colin Kaepernick.
While King fought for different things, to an extent, Kaepernick is doing the same thing King did, yet finding himself with different results.
King was marching and speaking for rights, in general, for African Americans while Kaepernick is using his public figure to speak out for awareness of police brutality, mainly.
In no way are we saying that Kaepernick is the new King or that he is trying to be; instead, we are simply comparing the two so that the point about what happened then and now are not dissimilar, and both need to be talked about.
King is obviously one of the heroes in American history and is revered for the way he brought about and led an entire movement, which became successful.
That is why we celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day—to commemorate the works King did and the change he helped bring about. His actions and words should be remembered because his ideals prove that right is better than wrong, and that this nation should not be divided on the basis of skin color.
With Kaepernick’s situation, he is not advocating for all rights, more so a specific right or situation within the circumference of civil rights. He is speaking out to try and stop police brutality and police shootings.
No doubt, King faced scrutiny to the highest degree, and no doubt did he face threats and slurs and looks and glares that no one should ever face.
Kaepernick may be facing some of these things to a lesser degree, but his actions and words are pointing at an issue that has largely been ignored or flat-out denied.
Same with King, but he saw change happen.
He saw a formal law be put into place to stop what he was fighting against.
But why do we still fight against Kaepernick and what he wants?
We will commemorate King and remember everything he has done, but then turn around and seem to brush off the same arguments Kaepernick is making.
No one has signed him to be their quarterback, even though he deserves to be playing over some of the guys who are currently starting for some NFL teams. Kaepernick makes a Nike advertisement with a great message and people burn their Nike apparel.
Speaking in terms of what King faced, this is pretty normal.
But when do we see the fruit of Kaepernick’s hard labor come to be and make change? When do the governing bodies of the country recognize what is happening and fix it?
More importantly, when does the populace see this message and stop ignoring it?
So, yes, remember King and everything he did not only for the African American population in the United States, but what he did as a movement that changed this country’s history.
But remember that people today are trying to do the same thing he did. Change is needed still, but we tend to ignore or deny it.
Do not let Martin Luther King Jr. Day commemorating action for change come and go with so much as a passing glance because the spirit surrounding King and his day should always be bright.
The editorial board can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]