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KATIE ZERR: Protest is not what is dividing the country

How can we form an opinion on something of which we cannot even grasp the concept?
So many people are climbing on their soapboxes, preaching about Nike’s choice to include Colin Kaepernick in their new ad campaign. People are destroying their Nike gear and posting their actions on social media. Some are pulling their investment money from the company and others are taking to the airwaves to condemn the campaign’s inclusion of Kaepernick.
Other athletes including Serena Williams, LeBron James, Odell Beckham Jr., and others are also being featured in the ads honoring the 30th anniversary of its iconic “Just Do It” slogan. One needs to understand the campaign before jumping on the hate Nike bandwagon.
This is not the first controversy Nike has faced in their marketing strategy. There have been other black athletes in Nike ads that have sparked outrage. Tiger Woods talking about country clubs that turned him away because he was black or Charles Barkley declaring that he was not a role model, come to mind.
We talked about Nike then and we are still talking about Nike. They have been extremely successful.
It is difficult to understand how someone who does not have an understanding, other than what they hear on television, can criticize what Kaepernick and others are trying to bring to light. These individuals have stressed the protests are not intended to disrespect the flag or the U.S. military. The athletes have said it is to bring attention to racism and police brutality, especially cases in which law officers have fatally shot unarmed blacks where there was no need to use their weapons.
We may not agree with those athletes choice of protest, but it is their right, as American citizens to do so, no matter what some members of the media and others in the national spotlight are saying.
Kneeling or sitting during the national anthem wouldn’t be my choice as an action of protest, but I understand why these athletes chose that venue.
Look at all of the airtime and print these protests are getting.
On the other side, it amazes me that people who have no clue what the protest is all about, are some of the loudest in criticism. How can someone who was taken to private schools in an expensive car and lived in luxurious homes staffed with people paid to serve them, form an opinion on life experiences of people who are not of the same background? How can those of us who were raised with both parents, where poverty was not a major factor, in quiet neighborhoods where violence was never considered the norm, have any kind of understanding these protests?
We cannot put ourselves in the shoes of those who daily worry about their youth being in the wrong place at the wrong time and losing their lives because of it.
For example, how does someone like Tucker Carlson, one of most vocal critics of the protest, have any concept of why these athletes are bringing the situation to the public eye?
Carlson was born in San Francisco, and is the son of Richard Warner Carlson, a former news anchor, U.S. ambassador to the Seychelles, president of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and director of Voice of America. His stepmother is the former Patricia Caroline Swanson, an heiress to the Swanson frozen-food fortune. He attended St. George’s School, a boarding school in Rhode Island and studied at Trinity College in Connecticut.
His life is a very long way from those neighborhoods in Detroit, Chicago, Baltimore, St. Louis and other cities, where violence has spurred national news.
On Tuesday, Carlson took to airwaves to criticize Nike executives and Kaepernick, calling their collaboration on a controversial new ad “an attack on the country.” He lambasted the spot showing a picture of Kaepernick with the tagline: “Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything.” He said some of nation’s most successful people hate U.S. society. They hate and resent the very system that made their prosperity, their success possible, he told the listening audience.
He also said the ad was an attack on this country and that a room full of executives decided to put profit above country. How hypocritical is that from an avid Trump supporter?
What Carlson and those like him are not saying is that some of these athletes of whom they are so critical are also those who give back to their communities. They fund efforts aimed at helping young people to escape the violence in which they live. For example, Kaepernick has formed a foundation into which a portion of his salary from Nike is funneled. His charity, “Know Your Rights” helps to raise awareness in “higher education, self empowerment, and instruction to properly interact with law enforcement in various scenarios.” It was formed to educate people about their rights, including the rights to be free, healthy, brilliant, alive, and trusted. The campaign is entirely funded by the Colin Kaepernick Foundation.
Does that sound like a nefarious attack on this country?
I believe that Carlson’s divisive words and fear mongering tactics are much more nefarious actions than those he so vocally criticized.
– Katie Zerr-