If there has ever been an example of how the USA can collectively disassociate from serious issues in favour of minutiae, it can be personified in the form of NFL player Colin Kaepernick. Kaepernick (who plays for the San Francisco 49ers) has set off a wave, because he took the step of sitting (later kneeling) during the playing of the national anthem – a protest against the treatment of black people in America. Other NFL players have followed suit, and this issue erupted briefly in discussions of patriotism and respecting the flag. It is telling that Kaepernick has received death threats over this – meanwhile, black people continue to be on the receiving end of police aggression.
Unsurprisingly, Donald Trump has weighed in, criticising Kaepernick – I think that tells you everything you need to know.
How is it that America can lose its collective shit over a peaceful protest involving the national anthem, yet what happened to Terence Crutcher doesn’t seem to generate the same level of outrage. Even if he was armed and even if he didn’t follow instructions, he was tasered before being shot – what possible threat could he have posed in those circumstances? When is America going to take steps to enact real and meaningful social change, to ensure old stereotypes are banished and this sort of tragedy doesn’t happen again.