Colin Kaepernick’s Sit-in: Refuses to Stand for “Oppression”

This weekend the National Football League’s Colin Kaepernick decided for the third straight preseason game to sit during the playing of the national anthem. According to Kaepernick, America “oppresses black people and people of color” and there are dead “bodies in the street” of black and brown people “murdered” by white cops. The San Francisco 49’ers quarterback also believes that “white supremacy” is the “standard” American practice. 

Kaepernick 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.”

To be clear, this controversy isn’t about Colin Kaepernick’s First Amendment right to freely express his opinion- however uninformed it may be. He’s literally at liberty to say almost anything he chooses. However, though the First Amendment protects his right of self-expression, it doesn’t protect him from being criticized for exercising his opinions.

Kaepernick refuses to stand to honor the flag or the country that, “oppresses black people and people of color.” What about the many blacks and other “people of color” who’re currently serving or who’ve died in service to the country and its flag that he refuses to honor? His selfish, racialized protest ignores and delegitimizes their sacrifice(s). For this reason alone he deserves every bit of moral condemnation that comes his way. He earned it.

That said, when he talks about America’s racial oppression of blacks and people of color, does he include himself in that false racial narrative and lamentation, or does this “oppression” refer to other blacks in the country? Why or why not? I’m very curious to know the specifics of how America has oppressed Colin Kaepernick.

Here’s one problem (among many) with his sorry explanation. If one is going to make a political statement by rejecting the public display of respect for the national anthem, the flag, and those who’ve died defending and are currently defending the values both symbols represent, one better have a well thought out explanation justifying the rationale for such a controversial decision. Not half-baked racial platitudes regurgitated by racial and social justice warriors, but actual specifics that demonstrate intellectual coherency and a sense of sobriety.

As we’ve seen, his explanations don’t qualify.

Since Kaepernick didn’t parse his statement, people are left to assume that America oppresses all blacks, he included. Thus, he has an obligation to explain exactly how a black kid- adopted, loved and raised by white parents (not black ones), in a nice California suburb, whose multimillion dollar salary is incommensurate with his talent, has- or is- experiencing the kind of “oppression” that motivates him to sit in defiant protest when the national anthem is played. He should clearly explain his recent enlightenment to America’s treatment and “oppression” of blacks. In other words, why now? Has this “oppression” worsened recently? If so, when and how? He also should explain in detail what government actions constitute “oppression” and how contemporary America is guilty of it. Further, he should explicitly define “white supremacy” and how it’s “standard.”

Simply saying these racially provocative things with smug emotional certitude doesn’t make them so.

If by oppression he means the dead “bodies in the street” of black and brown people who were “murdered” by white cops,” then like most people who adopt the dishonest propaganda of predatory cops intentionally killing “unarmed blacks,” simply and only because they’re black, he’s a fool who’s flat out wrong. Such parroted slander of murderous cops undercuts the integrity of the many good cops who do a thankless job protecting citizens in areas Kaepernick would never live, let alone drive. It also undermines his moral credibility in the process.

By thoughtlessly repeating disingenuous racial narratives like his fellow blacktivists and other racial agitators, Colin Kaepernick has intentionally disregarded evidence-based reality. He’s guilty of continuing an all too familiar falsehood to advance a racialized, ideological narrative of black victimization by racist white cops.

Unfortunately for the millionaire, rookie racial grievance merchant, facts simply don’t support that position. Though police officers aren’t perfect (who claims they are?), for the most part, they don’t murder people. Police officers have killed criminal suspects and others who’ve either resisted arrest, have assaulted them, or have attempted to disarm them in a bid to inflict harm, including death, during police stops and other escalated confrontations. In other words, because of their imprudence, criminal suspects- regardless of color- have underwritten their early deaths and bear some responsibility. Thus, their deaths don’t qualify as “oppression.” Of course all officer-involved shootings aren’t justified but a great many are and they shouldn’t be invalidated simply because morally misguided and foolish people want to attach social virtue to varying levels of brown complexion.

Interestingly enough- and this may be news to the new racial militant- but there are a number of dead black and brown bodies in the streets that have absolutely nothing to do with racist police officers and everything to do with out-of-control black criminality. Why isn’t Colin Kaepernick standing, or more specifically, sitting in solidarity with them? As is obvious by now, even to half-interested observers, blacks kill more blacks in one week than white cops kill blacks in an entire year. Why is Kaepernick willing to ignore these victims of color, and their families? NBA star Dwyane Wade- himself a supporter of Black Lives Matter- had a cousin that was shot dead while walking her child in a stroller several days ago by two black felons. Racist white cops, white supremacy, and white “oppression” had nothing to do with her death. Does Kaepernick have anything to say about this?

According to local news outlet WGN in Chicago, Chicago police reported two people were killed and seven more were injured at four different locations, all within 20 minutes of each other early Sunday morning. No racist cops were responsible for the dead and wounded bodies in the street. What about these black bodies and other victims of color?

Even more, Chicago had witnessed seven murders and at least 38 wounded in shootings through Saturday night. Chicago’s final weekend tally includes 11 dead and 61 wounded. Black criminals and gangsters who’re largely responsible for the carnage- non-agents of white supremacy- sure as hell aren’t “getting paid leave” but most are definitely “getting away with murder.” Does Kaepernick have anything to say about this? reports that as of this writing, Chicago has 487 homicides to date; with 2858 people who’ve been shot- the overwhelming majority (79%) of who are or were black. Haven’t’ these criminals earned some variety of moral condemnation for destabilizing black ghettos and diminishing public safety? Don’t the innocent victims- dead or alive- deserve recognition, especially by someone like Colin Kaepernick? Or has he already adopted the racial activist scheme of ignoring black deaths when white cops can’t be impugned?

The answer can partially be found on his Twitter feed, where Colin Kaepernick has taken to re-tweeting out the likes of Shaun King, Black Lives Matter, and other racial activists who’re overly concerned with ‘white supremacy,’ ‘white privilege,’ and police confrontations with ‘unarmed’ black suspects, but who’re insufficiently concerned with black crime and its increasing numbers of collateral damage.

Again, Colin Kaepernick can say what he wants and make as many political statements he chooses. But his right to self-expression doesn’t provide insulation against social condemnation for his lack of nuance or moral clarity, and his selective indignation, self-awareness and naïveté.

The blowback Kaepernick has received is a direct result of the nation’s fatigue and annoyance with fraudulent cultivators of racial acrimony and race-obsessed identity politics. These purveyors of racial conflict have successfully and calculatedly exacerbated racial tensions and inspired protests and other forms of racialized backlash in the country during the past eight years. Mainstream America is sick of it. People are fed up with the kind of racial melodrama that’s only successful in promoting more racial resentment, which is exactly what Colin Kaepernick’s “protest” is accomplishing.

Colin Kaepernick’s decision to sit in protest during the national anthem is his to make. As of now, this decision isn’t buttressed by anything approaching intellectual, political or moral coherency. Whether his misguided “protest” against racial “oppression” is a form of racial compensation to gain racial street credibility is anyone’s guess. For now, he hasn’t achieved much more than showing a demonstrable lack of appreciation for a country that’s been very good to him while making people who’re already fed up with racial division a lot more fed up.


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