It’s Famous Friday!

Colin Kaepernick

This week’s article is about former NFL quarterback and political activist Colin Kaepernick. We highlighted Kaepernick on a Famous Friday previously in September of 2016. Kaepernick’s biological mother, Heidi Russo, is Caucasian while his father is African-American. Kaepernick was taken in by Rick and Teresa Kaepernick shortly after Russo placed him up for adoption. At eight years old, Kaepernick began playing football as a defensive end, transitioning to the Quarterback position one year later. During his high school career, Kaepernick played basketball, baseball, as well as continuing as a Quarterback in football. Excelling at the position as well as in the classroom, Colin was named All-State in California while also achieving a 4.0 GPA in his senior year of high school. Pursuing his love for football, Kaepernick attended The University of Nevada even after getting drafted into the MLB by the Chicago Cubs. At Nevada, Kaepernick threw for over 10,000 yards and ran for over 4,000, becoming the only FBS quarterback to ever achieve such statistics. Before the 2011 NFL season, Kaepernick was drafted by the San Francisco 49ers. In his tenure, Kaepernick experienced much success in the 2012 season where he led the 49ers to the Super Bowl.

We last picked up on Kaepernick’s journey just before the start of the 2016 NFL season, when Kaepernick began kneeling during the national anthem. During an interview, Kaepernick stated that it was not to show any disrespect toward the military or our veterans, but rather that he would not stand for a country that oppressed African-Americans through police brutality. This act of civil resistance toward police brutality led to controversy, halting Kaepernick’s NFL career. Kaepernick opted out of his six-year contract with the 49ers, becoming a free agent, but would not be resigned. While he has not played professional football since, more and more professional athletes began to protest the national anthem and supporting Kaepernick’s cause. Additionally, in 2018, Nike began to endorse Colin Kaepernick with the slogan, “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.” Moreover, with the recent injury to reigning NFL MVP, Patrick Mahomes, multiple news sources believe Kaepernick may have an opportunity to re-enter the league.

During Kaepernick’s effort, his philanthropy has included establishing the Colin Kaepernick Foundation as well as various donations to non-profits. The Colin Kaepernick Foundation was developed in order to fight oppression by educating younger generations. Continuing, Kaepernick also took a Million Dollar Pledge as he promised to donate 1 million dollars to charity. Living up to his promise, Kaepernick allegedly donated 900,000 dollars to various charities between October 2016 and June 2017.

Kaepernick’s platform has led to an inspiration for change in our country, showing that our society is far from perfect. One quote from Kaepernick has stuck with me as his effort develops. During an interview, when asked if anyone from the 49ers had asked him to, “tone it down”, Kaepernick stated, “no one’s tried to quiet me and, to be honest, it’s not something I’m going to be quiet about. I’m going to speak the truth when I’m asked about it. This isn’t for look. This isn’t for publicity or anything like that. This is for people that don’t have the voice. And this is for people that are being oppressed and need to have equal opportunities to be successful.”

Matheson Bossick

Project Race Teens Vice President

Sources:

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colin_Kaepernick
  2. https://ninerswire.usatoday.com/2016/08/28/transcript-colin-kaepernick-addresses-sitting-during-national-anthem/
  3. https://www.mercurynews.com/2019/10/18/colin-kaepernick-could-interest-chiefs-head-coach-andy-reid-analyst-says/
  4. https://ftw.usatoday.com/2019/10/patrick-mahomes-injury-colin-kaepernick-chiefs
  5. https://www.ninersnation.com/2018/1/31/16956016/colin-kaepernick-donations-full-list-of-organizations-one-million-dollars
  6. https://www.usresistnews.org/profiles/colin-kaepernick-foundation/

Image from:

  1. https://www.mercurynews.com/2019/02/15/opinion-will-kaepernick-settlement-with-nfl-officially-end-his-career/

 

 

 

 

Project RACE and Nike

Project RACE and Nike

I was in Turlock, California today. It’s where Colin Kaepernick grew up—a multiracial boy adopted by white parents in a city where African American comprise less than 2% of the population. I saw one black person there today in a sea of white faces. I can only imagine that life there was challenging for him. Yet he played football on teams with predominately white players. He made friends and had family; he survived. And he always stood up for what he believed in.

Colin Kaepernick did not set out to make a difference at that young age, but he found himself in the center of a battle as he grew older. Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback, Kaepernick was signed into an ad deal with Nike, which was announced this week.

The gist of the ad is when he says, “Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything.”

My multiracial son and I started Project RACE in 1990 because we believed that multiracial children needed representation in Washington, in states, at schools, in the medical world, and in many other areas. We were told that we were crazy; that we would never change the way Americans viewed multiracial and biracial people. We did.

We sacrificed. We fought to be heard. My stories of personal sacrifices that I made were many and some were heartbreaking. I heard from parents of children who were dying because they couldn’t get bone marrow from another multiracial person who could be their match. Many of them died. I talked to people who were shamed because their parents were of different races. I stood up as teachers told our children that they could only pick one race. I stood up for them because that’s what Project RACE has stood for and has done for the past 28 years.

You know Colin Kaepernick’s story and how he started a wave of protests among NFL players in 2016 having to do with racial inequality and police brutality. Colin did it because he felt it was the right thing to do, just as we did. His endorsement deal has brought an ugly debate within America. Some people disagree with the original premise and others talk about Nike and Kaepernick being in it just for the money. Yes, Nike is taking a risk, Colin is taking a risk, and Project RACE members take risks.

At the start of the ad, Kaepernick says: “If people say your dreams are crazy, if they laugh at what you think you can do, good. Stay that way, because what nonbelievers fail to understand is that calling a dream crazy is not an insult, it’s a compliment.” He said what I was thinking during the 1990s and beyond.

Project RACE stands with Colin Kaepernick and Nike because this is America and because we can.

Susan Graham for Project RACE

FAMOUS FRIDAY: Colin Kaepernick

ckThis week’s Famous Friday features someone who has been in the headlines quite often lately, Colin Kaepernick. He was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and he is of African American and European descent. From a young age he continually excelled in all sorts of sports. He is currently a quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers.

If you haven’t heard, Kaepernick began a silent protest during the NFL preseason. Instead of standing for the national anthem, he takes a knee. He doesn’t do this to disrespect veterans or our military, but to protest police brutality. When asked about the reasoning behind his protest 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.”

Several other NFL stars have joined in on his protest. Not only that, but athletes from college all the way down to pee-wee leagues are also taking a knee in protest. One of those protestors is Broncos linebacker Brandon Marshall he said the following: “I’m not against the military. I’m not against the police or America, I’m against social injustice.”

This quote from Kaepernick really hit me, “You have people that practice law and our lawyers and go to school for eight years, but you can become a cop in six months and don’t have to have the same amount of training as a cosmetologist. That’s insane. Someone that’s holding a curling iron has more education and more training than people that have a gun and are going out on the street to protect us.” I understand that some people may have an issue with Colin’s method of protest, but I encourage you to look beyond the method and see the message Kaepernick is trying to get across.

  • Lexi Brock, Project RACE Teens President

Image courtesy of slate.com

Getting to the Essence

Getting to the Essence

Colin Kaepernick

I don’t read Essence, Ebony, or any of the other popular lifestyle magazines for black females. I am not in their demographics in any fathomable way. But, every so often they publish something so offensive that it gets my attention. Once in a while they have a commentary that casts multiracial people or parents of multiracial children in uncomplimentary light. The dis pisses me off.

Quite often, they take the self-identity of a multiracial person and make them black. It’s bad journalism, not to mention that it’s just a false thing to do—a lie. What’s the point of stretching racial truth into a lie?

A perfect example is a story titled “Standing With Kaepernick: America Has An Ugly History Of Rejecting Black Athletes” in Essence by writer Feminista Jones, who is a social worker. I won’t even go into the long, ugly history of black social workers sanctioning calling multiracial children black, so they will be adopted by black families, since I don’t know if Feminista holds that belief and I’d hate to make anything up about her. The article starts like this: “San Francisco 49ers quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, is protesting police brutality and the mistreatment of people of color in America by refusing to stand during the National Anthem before his team’s football games.” You already know this.

Feminista goes on to say this, “As the news of his bold move spread, Kaepernick has been repeatedly called the “N-word” and has been told to leave the country.” Then she states that Kaepernick’s (white) mother says he brought shame to his family. Sigh.

Colin Kaepernick is multiracial. He identifies as multiracial. He’s not a black athlete. Feminista contends that he is facing such horrible treatment from the public because he is a Black Athlete. He’s not. He has, meanwhile taken flack from black athletes for not being black enough to have taken a stand on this issue.

Stop already! Kaepernick could be purple and should only be judged—if people like Feminista Jones wish to judge—on his actions, not on his color. His team is the human race and he is not a member of any black athlete’s special club.

Ironically, the word “essence” means the basic, real, and invariable nature of a thing. In philosophy it means the inward nature, true substance, or constitution of anything, as opposed to what is accidental, phenomenal, illusory, etc. It’s time for Essence to get real and honest about the existence of the multiracial population.

In the article, Feminista Jones goes back to events that happened in 1936 to black athletes, but this is 2016 and we’ve come a long way in recognizing the existence and contributions of multiracial people. Now it’s time for the black media’s recognition or honesty, at the very least. You can do this. Time is of the essence.