Colin Kaepernick is the starting quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, and he is in the middle of a public hailstorm right now. He decided to sit down as the national anthem played before a game, and he has been caught up in the rapture of hate ever since. When asked why he did it, Colin said:
“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses Black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”
Colin’s biological parents were white (mother) and Black (father) but he was adopted and raised by upper class white parents. He can’t pass for white, though. He looks ethnically ambiguous based on how he’s rocking his hair. However, he recognizes that he is a brown/Black man, like Eric Garner, Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, and countless more.
This stance that he took has brought so much vitriol his way. Even his own biological mother is fixing her fingers to type over Twitter to her son that he shouldn’t have done what he did. I want her to sit her nickel ass down because ain’t nobody asked her shit. If you are sending this man tweets, then it tells me that you probably don’t have his phone number. Which, surely your 15-minutes of fame looking ass gotta shut the ENTIRE WHOLE COMPLETE hell up. The gahtdamb nerve of some people. She might have born him but her attempting to scold him is laughable. Keep it cute.
Anywho, Colin has gotten called all names but a child of God, by people who don’t realize that they’re proving his exact point. White people are really attached to the narrative that America is “Land of the free, home of the brave.” Except when people of color try to be free and stand up bravely. At the Olympics, 2 white men in swimming refused to put their hands over their hearts at their medal ceremonies as the anthem played. I heard zero backlash from them, but when Gabby Douglas did the same a week prior, butthurt white folks took to social media to lambast the gymnast! These are such obvious dichotomies that to bring them up feels like a waste of time. Why? Because racists don’t operate from places of logic and they wake up and piss hypocrisy.
Colin Kaepernick can choose not to stand when the anthem is played. That is the same song that was created when people who look like me were still considered property and not whole humans. The third verse of the Star-Spangled Banner is a musical high five celebrating the deaths of enslaved Black people. They lyrics are:
“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.”
WELL SHIT. Francis Scott Key was basically a dudebro who was feeling jolly about Black folks dying so he threw that to a terrible tune and went TA-DA! And the powers that be were like “Yes. This must be our country’s theme song.” DAFUQ.
This is the song that folks are all irate about someone not showing deference to? It’s easy to want to protect the soundtrack you created to set oppression to.
Can Diane Warren and Babyface get together and create a new song for us? I’m just asking. For a friend. And for the love of the earcrack they would come up with.
Besides the fact that the Star-Spangled Banner ain’t here for Black people, it is important to note that Colin Kaepernick is well within his right to protest as he did. The same people who are losing their shit are the ones who will swear up and down that their guns will be pried from their cold, dead, hands because the 2nd amendment protects them. Well, doesn’t the 1st amendment protect Colin’s right to protest peacefully? These fucknuts excel at not making any sense, so of course they WOULD piece-meal the Bill of Rights. That’s what happens when you’re daft.
Then they decided to be offended on behalf of veterans who fought for freedom in this country, saying Colin was disrespecting them. That got put to bed when the #VeteransforKaepernick hashtag trended on Twitter, as those who served in the Navy, Army, Marines and more spoke up in solidarity. It was an amazing show of what this country is supposed to be about, from the people who sacrificed a lot to serve it. Not from “ain’t did shit ass hole in the boxer ass sit behind a computer ass” cowards who consider sacrifice to be using slow wifi.
That hashtag was a flashlight in the darkness. It was so necessary. But again, remember that there is no logic in hate. It hasn’t shut folks up. People are burning Kaepernick jerseys because he dared to silently protest anti-Blackness. Meanwhile, they’re proudly rocking the shirts of rapists and murderers. Because it is more acceptable to be a criminal than it is for you to speak up about racism. Everything is stupid and nothing makes sense.
For these folks, who are mostly white and straight, America should not be criticized. It works perfectly for them, and it has always been something for them to be proud of. I was also proud of those pairs of shoes I stole from my sister. They looked damb good on me. WHY IS SHE MAD? THE SHOES HAVE BEEN MINE FOR A LONG TIME. Get over it. Thieves never wanna return what they stole. Otherwise, they’d feel like they wasted their time.
The responses of white folks aren’t surprising, as that is the function of racism. I expected them to lash out and call Colin out. What has been interesting has been the Black people who have chastised him. But then again, every system must be sustained by convincing some of the folks it has oppressed that they are somehow better off in the state they are in. It is how webs of injustice stay woven. You need buy-in from some of the pawns.
At least three NFL veterans have spoken out against Colin Kaepernick’s protest. Jerry Rice took to Twitter to say “all lives matter.” Tiki Barber got on TV talmbout he doesn’t commend Colin. Rodney Harrison was talmbout Colin ain’t Black cuz he’s mixed.
Meanwhile, I’m over here wondering why none of these knuckleheads realize that shutting the fuck up is free. You don’t even need a coupon code or nothing.
Why don’t they know that their pandering to white people and white dollars ain’t gon save their Black asses in these streets. Ol’ stand for nothing ass wobbly knee ass ninjas. Ol’ “yes massa” ass faces. STFU.
They’d be the mofos Harriet Tubman woulda had to shoot because they’d put everyone else’s freedom in jeopardy by going to snitch. Ol’ “slavery ain’t so bad. At least we have this tin roof over our head” ass fucknuggets. You don’t have to fight for freedom with me but you sure in the hell better not stand in my way. SHUTTING THE FUCK UP IS FREE.
This entire thing is just so absurd. People are more upset at the man who is saying that Black people shouldn’t be killed in these streets, than we are at the country that allows it to happen so freely. Folks are outraged at him sitting down during a song, because he is breaking tradition. America is really attached to tradition, even though most of its most prominent ones are enmeshed in the celebration of racism and ethnic genocide. See also: Thanksgiving.
And we use a document that was created by nothing but straight white men as the law of the land, even though when it was created, electricity wasn’t a thing yet. We swear by principles from a time when people would die from polio like it was ebola. We yell “TRADITION” as if it hasn’t been proven time and time again that it’s just another word to justify the continued oppression of people, no matter how ridiculous. As you know, slavery was a tradition too.
Maybe it’s time for us to take a real look at more of our social mores. Maybe less people need to pledge allegiance to the flag whose red stripes might as well be the blood of Black people and Native Americans. Maybe we shouldn’t be giving props to the stars that shine elsewhere, refusing to protect our lives and allow us to be gunned down in these streets without consequence.
Maybe more athletes need to look beyond their jerseys and stand for something beyond their sneaker contracts. Classless wonders. One thing I do know, though, is that the very reason why Colin refuses to stand during that song is the same one that compels people to call him a “nigger” in response and in disagreement with his act.
Keep sitting, Colin.
If you loved this post, you’ll love my new book (I’m Judging You: The Do-Better Manual). I have a section on “Culture” where I tackle racism, privilege and more.