The #TakeAKnee protest has stepped outside the sport world and into pop culture at large. #TakeAKnee began last year when former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began kneeling during the national anthem before football games, as a way to protest police brutality against Black Americans.
Now, his message is being spread by the X-Files, Star Trek: Discovery, and Grey's Anatomy. Cast members from each of these shows posted photos of themselves kneeling in solidarity with Kaepernick's message. Shonda Rimes, creator of Grey's Anatomy, even captioned her photo "...and we took a knee in solidarity of racial justice," to celebrate the show's 300th episode.
#TakeAKnee gained more national prominence over the weekend when President Donald Trump tweeted out a condemnation of the peaceful protest, and referred to "players" who kneel during the "Star-Spangled Banner" as "sons of bitches." He did not mention Kaepernick by name but it was widely assumed Kaepernick was being targeted by the President.
The irony that Trump's comments have turned a small act of protest into a burgeoning national movement is not lost on us. The more he attacks #TakeAKnee, the more support seems to come from all sectors of American culture.
In the meanwhile, we hope that Kaepernick's original message won't be diluted. Kaepernick kneeled to protest police killing Black citizens with impunity, and to declare that Black Lives Matter. #TakeAKnee is larger than Mulder, Scully, Meredith Grey, Donald Trump, and even Colin Kaepernick. It's about refusing to adhere to jingoism on principle, but to examine our areas where we, as a country, can do better. #TakeAKnee says that we should not be defined by worst of our humanity, but we can't ignore it either — we all have a responsibility to making our world a more perfect, equal, and just place.