Writing on the progressive parenting website Romper, mom Angie Grace wrote that she recently told her daughters, ages 10 and 8, that they can stop saying the Pledge of Allegiance at their Los Angeles-area public school.
“They can stand with the rest of the class if they want, but they don’t have to recite the pledge or salute the flag,” Grace noted. “When they asked why, I explained to them what’s been going on in the news lately. I told them about Ferguson, about Philando Castile and Sandra Bland.”
Grace said she then told her daughters that “when young black men lose their lives as the result of a police shooting, the police aren’t always held accountable for their actions.”
I love America, and I am happy we get to live in this country, but I was not raised to be patriotic. People in my family have served in the military (my uncles and my grandfather all fought in wars), and I have tremendous respect for veterans. But it’s hard to teach my children to be blindly patriotic in light of how much we have had to question our own safety in this country lately.
Now that Donald Trump is President and executive orders like the travel ban are now officially in effect, things are much harder for people of color in the United States. On top of that, police officers still continue to shoot innocent black men. As recently as last week, a police officer was acquitted for shooting and killing Philando Castile. How can I teach my children to respect the flag of a country where our lives don’t matter? Where I’m constantly afraid of being stopped by a police officer for no good reason?
She said she was also inspired by Colin Kaepernick, the NFL player who controversially refused to stand for the national anthem, remaining seated and later “taking a knee.”
“In Trump’s America especially, taking a stand by telling my children not to say the pledge is my form of resistance,” Grace wrote.