Contemplating Kaepernick and Lukewarm Activism

I would like to begin by saying that I do believe people should stand and place their hands over their heart during the pledge of allegiance and national anthem. That is, if those people are white.

If you are white, America presents opportunity. If you’re black, America proves opportunistic. To stand for the pledge of allegiance or national anthem as a person of African ancestry, is to fall for cultural poisoning implemented by whites to dominate not include the black body.

Teaching black children to sing, stand, or place their hands over their hearts for the Pledge of Allegiance or the Star Spangled Banner, is an accepted means of racial terrorism that teaches students to be patriots to a country who enslaves and murders them in past and present settings.

This topic resurfaces in the current contemporary setting due to NFL player Colin Kaepernick’s decision to kneel during the National Anthem.  ck

I purposely eschewed discussing Kaepernick for two reasons: to await the outcome, and to see see if his activism would fold under pressure. The outcome of both were highly predictable.

Despite initial silence from his overseers, Kaepenick eventually faced backlash. His overseers. who were not insulted by the actions themselves, rejected Kaepernick at the slave auction due to the traction garnered by his actions. White overseers, also known as team owners and coaches, seek good slaves that prove models to those who watch this sport as a form of escapism and look to NFL players as lives they live vicariously.

The overseers desire players that induce blacks to indulge in self-destructive behavior. For example,  if fans live vicariously though most players, they are marrying out of their race, spending their money frivolously, and branding their bodies with tattoos.

colin_kaepernick_jan_rtr_imgIf the masses were to live vicariously through Kaepernick however, perhaps more people would contemplate singing this country’s praises only to walk or drive home in fear of being killed by the police. Perhaps more kids would refuse to sing the anthem at school, and more white collar employees would sit out on the anthem at work functions. To the overseers, it would only be a matter of time before the masses began to contemplate the plantation veiled as a football field. The overseers also understand that Kaepernick’s actions lack depth of a Medgar Evans, Dr. King, Malcolm X, or a Fred Hampton, so Kaepernick lives. The white slave masters however, will attempt to kill Kaepernick’s career–which is what we are seeing now.

Kaepernick’s eventual folding to secure a job was also predictable, as few are willing to  reject the system in its entirety. Those who maybe have a high-paying job, conventionally nice house, or who even function as beautiful/handsome, nice, smart, etc under this system will often perceive this system as only partially terrible. This too is a facet of oppression, as failing to see the system for what it truly is, will only impair the fight for justice.

635562644991488792-2015-01-07-Marshawn-LynchImpaired vision also displaces Kaepernick as the first young man to perform such an action. Marshawn Lynch of the Oakland Raiders has seemingly never acknowledged the national anthem, only recently has he received any traction for said behavior. Unlike Kaepernick, Lynch has refused to speak publicly on his actions–leaving his actions open to interpretation.

Interpretation of course is crucial to decoding conscious behavior. In analyzing this interpretation, Lynch’s actions are pro-black whereas Kaepernick’s actions are sheerly anti-white. Anti-white behavior unlike pro-blackness feeds the white ego bruised as a casualty of pro black behavior and thought.

It is this analysis or interpretation of Kaepernick’s actions that beg the question as to whether Kaepernick’s praise is misplaced. For shouldn’t a true revolutionary not only welcome adversity from his or her oppressors, but regard said adversity as a testament to his excellence? So while I will not discount Kaepernick’s bravery, I do not think it is very fair to say that he is truly brave. Bravery would not have agreed to stand for a contract, as this reveals that while Kaepernick seemed to kneel with the black collective, he was standing alongside his oppressors all along.

Kaepernick’s actions, due to the traction imbued, endured a predictable consequence-his expulsion from the plantation. Yet, instead of seeing this expulsion as a sense of freedom, the masses have united to return a freed slave to the plantation.

Thus, while it warmed my heart to see blacks supporting one another, these demonstration also feel counterproductive. The truth is, if Kaepernick were truly kneeling for American injustice, he would also seek release from his contractual placement on the NFL plantation. Kaepernick’s desire to maintain his placement on this plantation, illustrates his actions as lacking the necessary depth to be anything more than reactionary.

Perhaps more importantly, Kapernick’s desire to keep his job reveals his values. Thus, stand-with-kaepernickwhile brave in action, Kaepernick is a slave to western material—unwilling to be morally rich if it compromises actual riches. It is a primary attribute of the oppressed to cling to seemingly having something, without realizing that we have nothing if what we have can be taken away. Material consummates the journey of those seeking to be successful, whereas the intangible consummates the journey of those wishing to be great. Dr. Cornell West, renowned scholar and outspoken cultural critic, makes a prevalent distinction between success and greatness— a distinction overlooked by far to many on an expedition to whiteness. It is this distinction that betrays Kaepernick as wanting to be paid, not prolific. With this being said, Kaepernick is not a hero, but a human who did some good.

Moreover, I like Kaepernick, and I appreciate the conversation ignited by his actions. Regardless of how anyone may feel about Kaepernick, his gesture prompted many to contemplate, even if just for a moment, the patriotic acts performed by blacks to an undeserving country. There are many within the black collective who sing the National Anthem and recite the Pledge of Allegiance, then proclaim to be pro-black. These actions are of course cognitively dissonant, but so is appearing agitated by social injustice yet wishing to remain stock on a plantation. ImSgNWjliqRIlsg-800x450-noPad

Moreover, while I “like” Kaepernick, I love black people and his good is not good enough to reflect the greatness of his African origins.

Conclusively, contemplating Kaepernick betrays four prevalent points,

  • That actions need not possess intellectual or moral depth to upset the white collective.
  • That despite our past and present extremities, blacks remain obsessed with finding a means to celebrate without proper vetting.
  • That the black collective is still desperately seeking a hero for something few are willing to live or die in pursuit of—hope.
  • Finally, that to stand with Kaepernick is to stand in conjunction with a pseudo revolutionary,  and lukewarm is far more harmful than any extremity, because it encapsulates a little bit of both worlds.

In hindsight, even the act of kneeling is “lukewarm” as it is a hybrid of both standing and sitting. Thus, in contemplating Kaepernick it is imperative to note his symbolism. Kaepernick represents the lukewarm activist, who sees that something is wrong so takes a partial stance that he or she eventually abandons in wake of personal conflict. Many dismissed rapper Snoop Dog when he said that he felt Kaepernick could not play football and be an activist at the same time–but the black man was on to something.

Furthermore, to stand with Kaepernick, or any lukewarm activist, is actually a decision to stand alone…

Black people beware.

Black Power.

12 Comments Add yours

  1. Lena says:

    Lol smh. Those checks were drying up… and activism doesn’t pay as well as the plantation! Sad, really.

    I won’t discredit his original actions, b/c I’m tired of criticizing my people–It’s misplaced shade. So I’ll say, He took a risk when he knew nothing would change! Lukewarm or nah, he made a lot of ppl uncomfortable. But Man, materialism is a hell of a drug. Great post!

    1. Lena says:

      Also, I don’t agree with Snoop. You can be both– Athlete and activist. Why not?! Sometimes you have to shake the foundation, in order for things to change.

      1. Thanks for your comment.

        It is imperative to note that one can’t stand for something if you’re lying down. I can lust for White wealth, then say I’m against injustice–this is cognitively dissonant. White wealth is a facet of oppression cultivated by black blood (past and present).

        Similarly, the NFL in itself is an oppressive placement of black bodies objectified for white gain, to. Ignore this illustrates an oversimplification of a global epidemic. One can’t (intellectually) denounce one form of injustice but actively participate in another. To do so is to take two steps forward and three steps back.

        Oppressors anticipate retaliation, they do not fear it–its time we adopt a similar mentality if we truly seek greatness as a collective.

      2. Lena says:

        My comment wasn’t meant to ignore certain aspects or pat Kap on the back for trying. I am very aware of how owners treat blk bodies in the NFL for profit.

        It was hard to vibe with this post bc the reality (as of today) is our checks and livelyhood come from white owners. From their grocery stores, to schools we work for, to their WordPress blog platform sites we write on, To there ads we put on our blogs… it’s not blk owned.

        And I AGREE we need to change that. Blk ownership is key. But until majority blk ppl crave power and control as much as they do then things will change.

        No disrespect either. I love this site. Thanks CC!

      3. No offense taken! There should be open dialogue.

        This entire conversation we are having is in English, a paramount portrait of oppression. But, in analysis if the black collective can use this coerced assimilatory tool as a key to unlock the mental chains of oppression then this token oc colonialism becomes a tool of pro-blackness. The Autobiography of Malcolm X, Black Power, Soledad Brother and Assata: An Autobiography are all weapons. Yes, they’re in English but they are created in the image of pro blackness. I’d like to say that same for the conscious blogger.

        Realistically, even if the site was black owned, blacks do not own the internet. Furthermore, every black conscious site is literally seconds away from oblivion– a fact noted by the conscious blogger that causes him or her to proceed with consciousness not caution.

        I would say a huge difference is the conscious person, the true activist isn’t fighting to eat at these stores or to even post on a site like WordPress. I’ve personally been eliminated from countless white spaces, but did not fight to be included. The criticism isn’t personal towards this handsome man, but critiquing the idea of regression. If non blacks stopped hiring blacks, and if they seized their grocery stores from our communities it is reflective of an enslaved mindset to demand their oppressive presence.

        “If you make a man think that he is justly outcast, you do not have to order him to the black door. He will go without being told; and if there is no back door, his very nature will demand one.”

        All I’m saying is that blacks are too good for “back door politics.”

        WordPress could shut me down today, but I’ll be damned if I come running back begging.

        All the conscious community demands Is that this country stands by what they said. If we are supposedly free and there is “freedom of speech” than regardless if it’s pretty we should be allowed to exist, and if not we’ll endure the consequences.

        White ownership is a reality to even the unconscious gaze, all I am trying to get the collective to contemplate is how running back to massa’ illustrates that whites not only itemize physical property–but designate the black mind and body as controlled commodities as well.

        Thanks for the exchange!

      4. Lena says:

        Respect CC! I took some time to reflect on why this article got to me or why I took it personal. I always agree with your beautiful complex mind!

        But some of the things you mentioned were reflective of what I could do if put in this situation and I was annoyed by that –not realizing that I was making it about me. Plus I’m a fan of Kap before his protests. And I’m guilty of watching football. So I took offense to being exposed by that. dammit Gina!

        Thanks for the book recommendations. I need these types of books in my life.

  2. I tried to leave a comment. But it didn’t go through. I thought it went through earlier.

  3. janowrite says:

    Thank you for your thoughtful, intelligent essay – it helped to illustrate this situation from another perspective – one that rings true.

  4. Excellent Analysis!! I do not watch the savage NFL at all, it’s nothing more than modern plantation bucks running around like crash dummies harming their bodies and brains for an oppressor that never fail to show them how little they appreciate them. Unfortunately many of the black collective engage in this escapism when they could be doing something more constructive with their time, like reading a book or reading this blog!
    Black Power!

  5. The Melanin Man says:

    Simply put, Kaepernick is an undercover agent for white supremacy!

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