Savvy - Would the Real America Please Stand Up As an editor of the Collegian I find myself in fear of offending someone with my opinions. As an English major delving into journalism I suppose I don’t care. In fact, I invite the conversation. During a San Francisco 49ers’ preseason game against the Green Bay Packers on the September 26, 49ers quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, decided to make quite the statement. Kaepernick refused to stand during the pre-game national anthem. Many were quick to show their disgust while others are taking a hard look at what Kaepernick is trying to say. He has since explained his reasoning behind his stand – or lack thereof – against the national anthem. “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.” My initial thoughts did not actually go straight to the matter of race but the disgraceful state of our nation as a whole. When we are little we are taught to stand with our hands on our hearts and pledge allegiance to an inanimate object that is supposed to represent our “one nation…indivisible with liberty and justice for all.” We do so blindly because it is simply what we are told to do. Many parents have a problem with this pledge because it states that we are one nation “under God.” It is understandable why parents are concerned but I believe that we should also be concerned that these children are not even aware of what these words really mean. Some will learn firsthand while others will only watch safely from their living room televisions. This is a completely different country from the one that was started and fought for by our forefathers. One could argue that even in the seventeen and eighteen hundreds Kaepernick still would have had plenty of reason to remain seated. You would be correct but the fact is that, at this point, we should be past all of the harsh discrimination and inequality that we cannot seem to escape from. Another problem is that there is no equality in the simple definition. We are all separated by skin color, gender, sex, and even religion no matter what we do. What we need is to spark the true human essence; love, understanding, and acceptance. I have talked about this a million times over in multiple papers throughout my college career. It begins with the children. We have to teach our children love, respect, empathy, and compassion towards other members of our species; because like it or not we are all one species. If we show our children that we are against a certain race or belief they will then grow up expressing similar characteristics. We find this discussion relevant in the famous tale of Scout Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird. Father and town lawyer Atticus Finch teaches his children not to judge people until you have seen things from their point of view or until you have “crawled into their skin and walked around in it.” Moral education is the main theme of To Kill a Mockingbird and Harper Lee shows us that teaching our children understanding and sympathy is a necessity. Atticus devotes himself to instilling a social consciousness in his children from an early age. If you observe very young children you will notice that they do not understand their differences. We quickly lose this innocence throughout childhood as we see, in the media and through our parents, how everyone else reacts to things these children have never noticed before. What we need to do is bring our many cultures back together. We gained the melting pot nickname hundreds of years ago. Unfortunately, now, our nation seems like a middle school science project of oil versus water. You can shake the bottle all you want and fool the audience into believing the two liquids are mixing when in reality they are both made of different things. Instead of shaking these things and forcing them together we need to let the two settle and coexist while respecting their individualities.