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BamaSits Protests Prompt BamaStands “Stand-Ups”


October 25, 2016
by Susan Dutca-Lovell
Due to ongoing racism at the University of Alabama, students are choosing to remain seated during the national anthem at football games. Their #BamaSits demonstration is just one of the many thought to be motivated by similar protests by San Francisco 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick.

Due to "ongoing racism" at the University of Alabama, students are choosing to remain seated during the national anthem at football games. Their #BamaSits demonstration is just one of the many thought to be motivated by similar protests by San Francisco 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick.

#BamaSits protestors have cited their disapproval of "police violence against young black people" and the "racism that remains present in American society." The demonstrations have sparked counter-movements such as #BamaStands, where students are showing up at games with U.S. flags, "placing their hands over their hearts during the anthem" and "showing great enthusiasm for the anthem." Such critics believe that the national anthem shouldn't be the moment used to "air their grievances."

Protestors are also against the recent, strong recruitment of out-of-state students to the university. From around the time Nick Saban started as the university's football coach, the school has pushed for increased enrollment of out-of-state students; a recent national trend which is most prevalent at Alabama. In-state Alabama students are outnumbered by out-of-state students, with roughly 60 percent of first-year students being from out-of-state. Proponents of #BamaSits state that they "don't think the university recognized that when they pushed for out-of-state recruitment...it would change the entire state."

Protests such as these are not uncommon in Alabama, and have "deep roots...dating back to the Civil War." From this point of view, Alabama students are showing their disapproval as a "continuation of a long struggle within the state...the symbolism behind the naming of public buildings or institutions after individuals associated with slavery, or white supremacy." The group claims they aren't just sitting - they're "pushing against the administration to change policies on [our] campus."

In your opinion, are these useful ways to promote students' ideas? Should colleges try to discourage such acts of protests? If so, what other ways might students protest that could prove effective? Share your thoughts with us.

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Sydney C  on  10/31/2016 5:06:24 PM commented:

Standing up for what you believe in is something we all aspire to do as Americans. Sure, these students have the right to sit during the national anthem despite the harsh criticisms. However, the national anthem represents more than just our freedoms. It represents our sacrifices made to get to where we are today. It represents the struggle that faithful night during the War of 1812 at Fort McHenry. And lastly, it represents hope for millions of emigrants. I find it disgracful that anyone would choose to sit during the national anthem when there are people who would love to live the life they have. Instead, these students, role models even, decide to pout on the side lines. I understand that the first amendment includes the right to assemble, petition, and speech however a football game is neither the right time or place to do so. They are representing the university therefore, they should comply with the universities's guidelines. Those students choose to attend that school so, if they don't like the University of Alabamas ways in how they run their institution, they have the right to leave. In the words of Maya Angelou, "If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude."

Angel Fourkas  on  10/29/2016 5:08:34 PM commented:

Every person should be able to protest their ideas as long as it doesn't impeded other peoples' views and it is respectful.

Naomi A.  on  10/25/2016 5:00:09 PM commented:

They talk about freedom of speech only when it benefits them. 1st amendment rights should be available to everyone whenever and wherever. ESPECIALLY at a in-state school where it's funded by Alabama residents' tax money. If they want to sit, let them sit. This nation was built by immigrants and the reaping of African slaves. They have every right to sit. We've been mistreated for centuries. People should be grateful that black people want to only sit down during the anthem... It's really hypocritical. How many right-leaning folks talk about "freedom of speech" yet try to limit the freedom to speak up about injustices. That amendment is not only subjected to patriotic people. It's subjected to all. For all. Freedom of speech would include the freedom to critic. Be mindful.

Jakai T  on  10/25/2016 3:47:20 PM commented:

The people that protest against minorities standing up for themselves are always just trying to silence them. How does a group of kids sitting down during the anthem hurt you?? There are actual soldiers who sit during the anthem because of recent violence. #BamaStands is just another #AllLivesMatter group meant to silence minorities. Au revoir.

Ericka W.  on  10/25/2016 12:21:48 PM commented:

I think that this method of protesting is effective and we need to stand against racism and discrimination almost every day in order for there to be a change.

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