The Instigator
Bremners
Pro (for)
The Contender
extian
Con (against)

Colin Kaepernick has no good reason why he didn't stand up during the National Anthem

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/17/2016 Category: Politics
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 539 times Debate No: 95451
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (4)
Votes (0)

 

Bremners

Pro

So, I think as a lot of people already knew, Colin Kaepernick refused to stand up during the U.S. national anthem, saying "I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder" [1]

Before you attack me, I want to clarify that his decision not to stand up is protected by the First Amendment (freedom of speech). He can stand, sit, squat or even sleep during the U.S. national anthem if he wants to. What bothers me is his reason why he chose not to stand up, arguing that people of colour are being oppressed in the United States. This debate should examine if people of colour, that is, other than the white people are truly being oppressed. My position is NO.

Definition of oppressed [2]:
1. to burden with cruel or unjust impositions or restraints; subject to aburdensome or
harsh exercise of authority or power

I don't see that the "oppression" of people of colour Kaepernick is talking about fits the definition.


ROUND ONE: Acceptance & opening statement only
ROUND TWO: Arguments
ROUND THREE: Rebuttal to arguments
ROUND FOUR: Further defense of your argument & closing statement

Please no trolling!


SOURCES:

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org...
[2] http://www.dictionary.com...



extian

Con

I'd like to thank Pro for offering this debate. I will be arguing the Con position, that Colin Kaepernick has good reasons to not stand up during the National Anthem. I will accept the definition of "oppressed" that Pro has provided. This will be a great topic to discuss, and I look forward to the debate.
Debate Round No. 1
Bremners

Pro

Thank you CON for accepting this debate. I am looking forward to the discussion.

I will reinstate my position. I believe that Colin Kaepernick can stand, sit, sleep, etc. during the National Anthem as guaranteed by the First Amendment. However, I disagree with the reason why he chose to sit down, saying "I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of colour. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder" [1].

Are people of colour really oppressed as Kaepernick blurted out? Remember, he said "oppresses", meaning that to this day, people of colour still experience the same oppression decades ago. Let's take a look at Kaepernick's life first [2]. He was born to a white mother and black father who left the picture before he was born. Ultimately, his mother who cannot afford to raise the baby, opted to give Kaepernick for adoption. He was then adopted by a white couple. He also showed a career in sports and excel with a 4.0 GPA and that his mother said Kaepernick was never arrested [2]. As a quarterback of San Francisco 49ers, his net worth is about $25 million and salary of $18 million [3]. How does this sound oppressive: having a promising young life, never been arrested and earning millions of dollars annually? There aren't any claims his adoptive parents abused him and that even his own biological mother reprimanded him for "bringing shame to the very country and family who afforded you so many blessings" [4]. Kaepernick was also under investigation [5] for a sexual abuse case with the female victim allegedly saying she woke up in a hospital room. Who was being allegedly oppressed here? Certainly not Kaepernick. There's nothing really much about Kaepernick's life for he led a great one but one thing for sure, he was never oppressed.

I am going to compare contemporary times to the Civil Rights era, examining whether or not the people of colour are still oppressed. Do minority groups still attend a different school designed only for them, sit at the back of the bus and theatres, have separate washrooms? The answer is no. Nowadays, minority groups can vote, attend any schools they want, sit wherever seats they want and use the same washrooms white people use. The government does not enforce any Jim Crow laws but instead the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is enforced. I don't see anything oppressive here that Kaepernick was suggesting has been inflicted upon people of colour.

Kaepernick was talking about bodies in the streets, likely referring to dead black people. It is undeniable that 93% of black homicide victims are killed on the hands of other blacks than whites [6]. More blacks had committed 52% of the homicides between 1980-2008 even though they represent 13% of the population while white people only committed 45% of the crimes despite representing 77% of the total population [7]. Also, out of 6000 blacks killed by other blacks in 2015, only 258 were killed by police that year [8]. Blacks are 25x more vulnerable to other blacks than the police! I don't see anything oppressive here but Kaepernick totally ignored the facts. Instead of ranting about how the government is oppressive, he should find ways to reach out to the black communities, where at least 27% of African-Americans are living under the poverty line, compared to the 11% of all Americans [9] where poverty is definitely a contributing factor to crime.

Now Kaepernick talked about police shooting black people, getting paid leave and getting away with murder. I am not denying that there is police brutality but there seems to be less sources or stories of police getting away with murder for killing a minority for NO REASON. I want to give an example. Tamir Rice, the 12 year old boy who was shot by two police officers for pointing a fake pistol, the police's decision to shoot him had at least a legitimate reason. First, the fake pistol looked authentic. Second, when the police officers tried to confront him, Rice tried to reach for the gun in his waistband [10]. A very bad move for the boy. The media exaggerated this by trying to make the boy seem harmless because he was holding a fake pistol. Indeed, the pistol was fake but the police were alarmed when the boy tried to reach for the gun as they approached. Also, I don't see this as oppressive. The boy was not even oppressed by the government or white people before he was shot.

We can debate about social issues minority groups are facing but for this time, we are analyzing what Kaepernick said. Sure, there's racism against minorities but racism cannot be avoided in a multicultural country. In fact, minority groups can also be hostile and racist toward other minority groups since people come from different backgrounds, cultures and hold different beliefs. Try living as a black man in East Asia. You'd probably encounter more racism there.

SOURCES:

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org...
[2] http://www.usatoday.com...
[3] http://www.celebritynetworth.com...
[4] http://bluelivesmatter.blue...
[5] http://www.latinpost.com...
[6] http://www.dailywire.com...#
[7] Ibid.
[8] Ibid.
[9] http://blackdemographics.com...
[10] https://en.wikipedia.org...
extian

Con

Again, many thanks to Pro for allowing me to participate in this discussion. Pro argues that Colin Kaepernick has no good reason to sit down during the national anthem. Pro bases this argument on the assertion that people of color are not being oppressed in the United States. I will demonstrate that this assertion is false - people of color in the United States have been and are currently oppressed by various systems and authorities. I will focus on three main areas of society where this oppression is manifest - the education system, the criminal justice system, and -- the focus of Kaepernick's protest -- killings by police officers.

If "oppressed" is being defined as "to burden with cruel or unjust impositions or restraints," then the treatment of people of color within the education system is a prime example of oppression. African-American students are treated much more punitively than white students, for example. The U.S. Department of Education reports that, despite the fact that they make up about 18 percent of enrolled students, black students account for 39 percent of all expulsions. Black students are three and a half times as likely to be suspended or expelled as white students. Over 70 percent of students arrested or referred to law enforcement were black or Hispanic. Black students with disabilities represent 21 percent of all students with disabilities but make up 44 percent of disabled students who are placed under mechanical restraints [1]. What we see here is that students of color are punished disproportionately more than white students, and when they are punished they are subject to more harsh punishment than white students. This has the effect of driving students of color out of school, limiting opportunities and increasing the likelihood of criminal activity.

People of color are also "subject to a burdensome or harsh exercise of authority or power" by the criminal justice system. Over 60 percent of all prisoners in the United States are people of color; black men are nearly six times as likely to be incarcerated as white men [2]. A big part of this is the so-called War on Drugs. African-Americans make up 13 percent of the US population and 14 percent of monthly drug users, but they are 37 percent of the people arrested for drug offenses [3]. Even though whites and blacks use marijuana at roughly the same rate, an ACLU report found that blacks were 3.7 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than whites in 2010 [4]. Human Rights Watch has found that black Americans are arrested on drug charges at rates from 2.8 to 5.5 times as high as white Americans [5]. There is a strong possibility of racial profiling being a driver of these incarceration rates. The U.S. Department of Justice found that blacks and Hispanics were approximately three times more likely to be searched during a traffic stop than white motorists. Blacks are twice as likely to be arrested and almost four times as likely to be subject to use of force during encounters with police [6]. This racial disproportionality found in arrest rates even extends to the courtroom. Sentencing guidelines, like the disparity between offenses involving crack cocaine versus powder cocaine, disproportionately punish people of color. Since people of color are generally less affluent then white Americans, powder cocaine is less accessible then crack cocaine. But sentencing guidelines dictate that crack-related offenses be 18 times longer - down from 100 times longer - for crack than powder cocaine. More than 66 percent of crack users are white or Hispanic, yet more than 80 percent of defendants sentenced for crack offenses are African American [7]. The injustice should be obvious - black people are being sentenced longer than white people for using the same drug. African Americans serve, on average, 58.7 months for a drug offense, which is almost as much time as white Americans serve on average for violent offenses (61.7 months) [8]. This demonstrates that the U.S. justice system punishes people of color disproportionately. The statistics bear out that people of color, and black people in particular, are indeed subject to oppression, as Kaepernick pointed out.

The specific point of Kaepernick's protest was to draw attention to the alarming rates of homicide of African Americans (particularly unarmed African Americans) at the hands of law enforcement officers. Once again, we can see how this fits the definition of oppression by looking at the numbers. According to the Guardian, black Americans are more than twice as likely as white Americans to be killed by police officers [9]. Particularly troubling is the killing of unarmed African Americans. In 2015, unarmed black people were killed by police at five times the rate of unarmed whites. Again, we are talking about a demographic that accounts for 13 percent of the U.S. population. That year, of the 102 documented cases of unarmed black people killed by police officers who were eventually charged with a crime, only two resulted in convictions for the officer involved [10]. One might expect a justifiable defense for some of these cases, but for there to be almost no convictions is almost certainly a clear case of injustice. A common outcome is for an officer to be put on paid administrative leave, which is what happened to Betsy Shelby, the police officer who fatally shot Terance Crutcher, an unarmed black man with no criminal record who had his hands raised when he was killed [11]. Or the case with Kenneth Boss, one of four police officers acquitted for the killing of Amadou Diallo, an unarmed black man who was merely reaching for his wallet; Boss got to keep his job [12]. This is what angers many about the treatment of black people and people of color by police officers. African Americans are killed by the police at a greater rate than whites, yet there is often little punishment for the officers involved. The ultimate form of oppression is the ability to take a life unnecessarily and avoid the consequences.

Political protests in sports are nothing new, and the legitimacy of the protest is borne out by the facts of reality. I believe I've laid out the facts to make a worthy case for why Colin Kaepernick is right - people of color are being oppressed in the United States. I highlighted three different areas - the education system, the criminal justice system, and police killings of people of color - as examples of oppression in modern day society. The harsh treatment and punishment of students of color, in relation to white students, creates undue burden on those students, forcing many out of the school system altogether. People of color are targeted, arrested, and incarcerated by the justice system at disproportionate rates - particularly as a result of the War on Drugs. And people of color, particular black people, are more likely than white people to be killed in encounters with the police. While most times, police officers involved in shooting of unarmed blacks are given nothing more than administrative leave as punishment, the law imposes harsher punishments on civilians of color than whites for comparable crimes. It is all part of a cycle of despair that keeps American prisons full of people of color. I did not even address the many other forms of societal oppression that exist for minorities in America, like income inequality, housing discrimination, healthcare access, voting restrictions, etc. This disparity in justice perfectly fits Pro's provided definition of "oppression." Therefore, Kaepernick's assertion, that the United States is a "country that oppresses black people and people of color," is correct.

Thank you for reading.


SOURCES:

[1] http://www.nytimes.com...


[2] http://www.sentencingproject.org...

[3] http://www.huffingtonpost.com...

[4] http://www.sentencingproject.org...

[5] https://www.hrw.org...

[6] https://www.americanprogress.org...

[7] https://www.aclu.org...

[8] http://www.naacp.org...

[9] https://www.theguardian.com...#

[10] http://mappingpoliceviolence.org...

[11] http://www.commondreams.org...

[12] http://www.nytimes.com...




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Debate Round No. 4
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by extian 12 months ago
extian
It sucks that Bremners had to forefeit. I worked hard researching for this debate and was looking forward to a good discussion.
Posted by Bremners 1 year ago
Bremners
@Emmarie There's something called statistics and reports. Also, we are talking about the US, not some pretty unknown country.
Posted by extian 1 year ago
extian
@Emmarie - Bremners did provide a definition of "oppressed," from www.dictionary.com:

"Definition of oppressed [2]:
1. to burden with cruel or unjust impositions or restraints; subject to aburdensome or
harsh exercise of authority or power"

There might be better definitions, but this one is acceptable for this debate.
Posted by Emmarie 1 year ago
Emmarie
@bremmers isn't even from the US, I can tell by how he spells "colour." How can your position that people of color are not being oppressed, if you don't even live here to know firsthand what goes on in the US.

@extian - how can you accept a definition of oppression, if one was never provided?
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