Thursday, September 22, 2016

Colin Kaepernick backlash

“One of the things I’ve noticed throughout this is there’s a lot of racism in this country disguised as patriotism. People want to take everything back to the flag, but that’s not what we’re talking about. We’re talking racial discrimination, inequalities and injustices that are happening across the nation.” — Colin Kaepernick

RECENTLY I wrote a post called Colin Kaepernick's Protest which has proved to be the most debated, argued-about, criticized and defended posts I've ever written.

One commenter sent me an article entitled "Rob Lowe Just Took Down Every Anthem-Hater in the NFL With 1 Epic Tweet" which I freely admit I did not read. The title itself contained such an obvious logical fallacy, specifically a categorical syllogism . . . that I couldn't bring myself to take the time to discover how poorly-reasoned the content must surely be based on the aggressively illogical headline.

After delivering an unneeded explanation of the meaning of the various elements of the flag (I was awake during history class — but please, can we call it what it was actually was: white history class), another commenter owned that he thinks Colin Kaepernick is "privileged" "insincere" and "not authentic" whereas he, the commenter, is "very glad he was born here" — which of course implies that Colin Kaepernick isn't. 

He thinks that Colin has undertaken his "insincere" protest in a self-serving effort to garner attention for himself.

If Colin IS insincere, it's a really, really expensive insincere: he's pledged to donate a million dollars — $100,000 each month for the next ten months to charities that aid communities in need. He's also donating 100% of the profits from sales of his #7 San Francisco 49ers jersey, currently the NFL's 
best-selling shirt. (I don't even like football, but I just may buy one.)

The same commenter doesn't think Colin is underprivileged enough to be protesting in support of Black Lives Matter

So let me get this straight; Colin isn't downtrodden enough to care about those who are. Just how racist, not to mention categorically syllogistic is that?! I didn't know there was a ceiling on possessing a conscience and a heart or having justice and equality matter.

Notice if you will the contrast in facial expression between the the young woman holding the sign and the man at the far right holding a flag. Draw your own conclusions about which one is proud and which one is ugly-angry.

Here's what I think: this outsized outrage over one man's personal protest which, by the way comes at no small cost to him — in addition to the $1 million and jersey sale donations and the hit his reputation and popularity are taking, he's received death threats — I think it's cover for white blindness and racism.

So is the fury directed at the Black Lives Matter movement itself. I've heard any number of (white) people say that the movement should be All Lives Matter. 

Here's how stupid I can be: when I first heard someone say that, I thought, "That's true, all lives should matter." 

Yes they should, but Paul immediately pointed out to me that saying that is just another racist cover . . . because white lives have always mattered. And still do. No need for a movement to convince white people that their lives matter. 

Here's one way black lives don't: The Washington Post maintains a database of every American killed by police, tracked by race and other demographics. Below is one statistical conclusion:  

"According to the most recent census data, there are nearly 160 million more white people in America than there are black people. White people make up roughly 62 percent of the U.S. population but only about 49 percent of those who are killed by police officers. African Americans, however, account for 24 percent of those fatally shot and killed by the police despite being just 13 percent of the U.S. population. As The Post noted in a new analysis published last week, that means black Americans are 2.5 times as likely as white Americans to be shot and killed by police officers."

And what I'd like to know is this: why can't be call racism what is is? 

Recently an incident took place in my 'friendly' very white home town. You may have read about it in a Facebook post from Paul, or you may have seen it covered on Channel 13 News in Des Moines. I was so proud of him because in addition to championing it on FB, Paul alerted Erin Kiernan, who by the way has always been such a friend to victims of injustice and domestic violence, and her station covered it. (I've screen-capped the FB post below that explains the incident.)

Paul was more than a little disappointed in the Ankeny School District response; when interviewed, the ASD public relations person said that coaches would speak to athletes about what she called "unsportsmanlike conduct" . . . instead of calling it flat out what it is: racism.

On a more encouraging note, here's what happened that I think is way, way cool:

Entire Seattle high school football team kneels during national anthem before game

By Q13 Fox New Staff

September 16, 2016

SEATTLE — The entire Garfield High School football team, including the coaches, took a knee during the national anthem Friday night before their game against West Seattle High on Friday night to protest “social injustices.”

After the game, which Garfield won, Garfield High School head football coach Joey Thomas said that "the players decided to do this" to bring attention to "social injustices," emphasizing that it was "a player-driven" move and that his players plan to continue the practice during the anthem before every game "until they tell us to stop."

Here is an interview with head coach Joey Thomas:

About four or five players on the West Seattle High School team also knelt during the anthem at the Southwest Athletic Complex in the West Seattle area.

Seattle Public Schools issued the following statement:  “Students kneeling during the national anthem are expressing their rights protected by the First Amendment. Seattle Public Schools supports all students' right to free speech.”

The recent public protests during the national anthem at sports events began a couple of weeks ago when San Francisco 49ers backup quarterback Colin Kaepernick sat during the national anthem to protest racial injustice. After receiving some criticism that he was disrespecting the flag, Kaepernick started kneeling during the anthem. Several other NFL players have also begun kneeling during the anthem.

This is believed to be the first time that an entire high school football team knelt during the anthem.



  1. Another terrific column. That's well stated, fair and honest. We need news reporters to follow your example. I love that school's response to the player protest.

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  3. My sweetie here is a writing genius, especially when she's mad. I love this one.