Tre'Von McCowin offers another perspective on the issue of kneeling during National Anthem

"Standpoints on whether or not kneeling for the national anthem as an act of peaceful protest has become a trending topic in Center, Texas."

Letter to the editor,

We are living a world of mass media. Systematic racism, injustice, prejudice, and stereotyping are set on display at an alarming rate.

Police brutality is now being put in the spotlight on a global scale more than it has ever been. The excessive use of force, and murder of George Floyd is one of the many lives who have been unjustifiably lost at the hands of police.

These reoccurring murders of unarmed Black individuals has touched the hearts of millions and sparked outrage throughout all of the United States. Organizations such as “Black Lives Matter,” and high-profile individuals such as Colin Kaepernick have aimed to peacefully protest these injustices faced by Black people and people of color with marches and kneeling.

Standpoints on whether or not kneeling for the national anthem as an act of peaceful protest has become a trending topic in Center, Texas.

While others see the protest as the young adults using their platform as a means of bringing awareness to a longstanding societal race issue, others would strongly disagree. So much so that individuals have expressed not only their disagreement, but have stopped supporting the Center Roughrider football team, and blame CHS staff and faculty for allowing these protests.

This touchy topic is fueled by differentiation in our moral values, which can be newfound or generation. When it comes to social issues, and furthermore determining moral values, there’s a lot of circumstantial and cofounding variables you must take into consideration.

In light of recent events, a main issue is the basis of facts used to misconstrue and set false narratives in hopes of seeming more persuasive in agenda or debate.

One fact brought to my attention by a recent submission to the Light and Champion is, “2555 White Americans and only 1329 Black Americans have been killed by police in the last five years.” This is a true fact, yet the context to at which the fact is being used is statistically “cherry picking.” The definition of “cherry-pick” is defined by Webster as: to select as being best or most desirable. The urban usage of “cherry picking,” is suppressing evidence, or the fallacy of incomplete evidence is the act of pointing to individual cases or data that seem to confirm a particular position while ignoring a significant portion of related and similar cases that may contradict that position.

To shed truth to this ignorantly used statistic, in the last five years, 2555 White Americans have been killed versus that of 1329 Black Americans. A difference of 1226 killings. Let’s take that in comparison to the population of the White Americans versus Black Americans.

The White American population is approximately 197 million, while the Black population is approximately 42 million. A difference of 155 million people. When we break this down by the amount of police killings per million, statistically, Black Americans are killed as high as twice the rate for White Americans while having a wide margin, significantly smaller, population. Black Americans being killed 32 per million, and White Americans being killed 13 per million.

Another egregiously exclaimed statement was to “research and read the story and history of how and when the National Anthem was written,” yet doesn’t provide any backstory as to exactly that, how and when it was written. Another unlettered statement on an easy topic to clarify. Francis Scott Key was the writer of the Star-Spangled Banner following witnessing the Battle of Baltimore in 1814. The song coined the beloved lyrics, “the land of the free” and “home of the brave,” from the first two notable verses.

Yet the original Star-Spangled Banner is actually four verses long, with the third verse stating: “And where is that band who so vauntingly swore That the havoc of war and the battle's confusion, A home and a country, should leave us no more? Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps' pollution. No refuge could save the hireling and slave From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave: And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave, O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.”

Furthermore, the Start-Spangled banner was established in the early 1800s. Other notable parts of American history in the 1800s: establishment of federally sanctioned slave code, the Fugitive Slave Act, and the Dred Scott decision.

All racially motivated sanctions, codes, and laws to keep Africans, enslaved or even freed, cycled back into chattel slavery under the federal jurisdiction of the United States of America. Other comments and opinions were stated but to summarize them all, all opinions on the issue should be heard. Each person has a voice in the society that they live in.

Yet, to undoubtably cherry-pick factual information, and ultimately be loud and wrong about information that you suggest people should research is a primary reason that valid debate and civilized dialect are hard to facilitate amid emotions being strong about the issues.

I would hope that this doesn’t seem as a letter to persuade or shift opinions, but to remind individuals to be more knowledgeable on societal issues, statistics, and history when choosing to engage in debate.

This creates a dialect so we may all learn from each other and conceptually grasp opinions, and furthermore, push to reach a consensus on the tensions and frustrations we have amongst these societal issues we share.


Tre'Von K. McCowin

A Black Longhorn

Shelbyville, Texas

The Light and Champion

137 San Augustine St.
Center TX 75935