Protests have the potential to remain respectful

Brea Jones/ Staff Writer 

Everyone’s eyes are watching and everyone has an opinion. 

By today’s standards, your opinion is either right or wrong. Colin Kaepernick kneeling during the national anthem, which is arguably one of the biggest controversies in the last four years, proves that. 

After Kaepernick’s movement gained attention, those who opposed his actions were very quick to express their distaste. Claims were made that those who do not stand during the anthem are not only disrespecting America, but are also disrespecting veterans. 

So now many wonder: how can you practice your First Amendment right without offending others?

First, know that not everyone is going to have the same opinion as you. Although you don’t agree with them, keep it respectful. 

If you are discussing opinions with someone and the conversations starts to get heated, just walk away. 

Most movements want to evoke positive change and equality, but you aren’t going to achieve that or change anyone else’s mind about the movement if you are just yelling and calling those who disagree with you rude names. 

We are now at a point to where you can’t please everyone. If people are spreading lies about what your movement does or believes, be sure to evaluate your protests’ intentions and make sure that the message isn’t negative. 

Make your beliefs and intentions clear so that you can shut down rumors when they arise. 

In the case of Kaepernick and protesting police brutality, kneeling became a recognizable act of the movement. So when the idea that ‘kneeling during the anthem was disrespecting veterans’ came to light should Kaepernick have changed his tactics? No. 

Nate Boyer, a former Army Green Beret, is the one who gave Kaepernick the idea that kneeling was more respectful than sitting. 

The most important thing people need to do is listen. When Boyer reached out and expressed his concerns, Kaepernick listened and made the necessary adjustments.

Even Boyers’ actions are commendable and noteworthy. By expressing his opinion and simply explaining how he viewed the movement, he was able to show empathy and compassion and became an ally to the movement. 

He wasn’t trying to change Kaepernick’s protest but instead he was trying to improve it. 

Even Boyer admitted in his letter to Kaepernick that his initial reaction was anger. 

Respect for everyone is essential for us to be successful. 

The best way to protest without disrespecting anyone is being open-minded. Listen to those with different opinions. Just because it is different doesn’t mean it’s wrong. 

You can’t beg for others to treat you as a human with basic rights if you just take it away from someone else. 


The opinions presented within this page do not represent the views of PantherNOW Editorial Board. These views are separate from editorials and reflect individual perspectives of contributing writers and/or members of the University community.

Photo by Alice Donovan Rouse on Unsplash

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