The same images have popped up everywhere in the world. From Washington to Paris via London, and a knee to the ground, the demonstrators and protesters anti-racist are calling for justice for victims of police violence following the death high-profile George Floyd. This African-american 46-year-old died on the 25th of may, the knee of a white policeman on his neck, after having said several times that he could no longer breathe. But where does this gesture?
At the outset, it was made famous by Colin Kaepernick. In 2016, american football player laying the knee on the ground during the national anthem. The tradition, however, requires that we get up and we wear the hand on the heart.
What is the meaning of this knee to the ground?
By this gesture, Colin Kaepernick, himself a victim of discrimination, intended to protest against the police violence. A few days before, he said: “I’m not going to stand up, to demonstrate my pride in the flag of a country that oppresses Black people.” It was a few months after the death of Freddie Gray, a young black boy died in a police van in Baltimore.
Where did the idea come from?
The idea of the knee is the result of a discussion between the player and a former american soldier. This gesture refers to the soldiers who kneel before the graves of their fallen comrades. You can also see a continuation of the posture of Martin Luther King, in 1975, when the pastor is black, was kneeling during a peaceful demonstration.
What are the implications?
The initiative of Colin Kaepernick knows then an echo unheard. At the age of 28, the player makes the cover of the magazine Time and the then president, Barack Obama, welcomed his gesture. The idea is then taken up by the anti-racism movement american Black Lives Matter.
But on the side of the NFL, the league of american football, the activism of Colin Kaepernick is seen with a bad eye. From 2016, the player finds himself without a contract. He accuses the leaders of having organized his ostracisation. The global movement of protest against the racism contributes little by little to its rehabilitation. The NFL itself has admitted to having “been wrong not to listen to the players”.