Culver City Observer -

One View Of Colin Kaepernick

 

September 15, 2016



On a deeper, personal level, I don’t like how Colin Kaepernick is using his stardom for social protest. That said, most of us don’t like to have someone else hold a mirror up to us to show our flaws.

And in doing so, Kaepernick is trying to prod us into doing something we would rather not acknowledge or even think about.

Most of us tend to protect ourselves by looking past the everyday societal reflections we encounter without ever stopping and really looking at them--mostly out of fear of how we will see ourselves. So, we go on with our daily lives, unchanged and none the wiser.

Some 49er fans complain that they are paying good money to come and watch a football game and to be entertained--not to have their societal values called into question.

Some of his critics say even though Kaepernick has a contract guaranteeing him millions of dollars to play quarterback, doesn’t make him anymore the wiser.

They point out that he is someone who, while growing up, chose to isolate himself in the weight room and on the practice field from the everyday life; having the ultimate goal of becoming one of the lucky ones who makes millions to play in the NFL.

By kneeling, Kaepernick stands out from his peers. Kneeling does take more effort than just sitting on a bench. 20th Century English writer Mary Renault once wrote

“The rightness of a stand isn't determined by the amount of courage it takes.”

So by kneeling in protest Colin Kaepernick also shows himself to football fans and to the world that he is more than just an X or an O in a playbook or someone’s player on a fantasy football team.

Colin Kaepernick’s rising from his kneeling protest seems to invoke the imagery of Maya Angelou’s prophetic poem, “I’ll Rise”

You may write me down in history

With your bitter, twisted lies,

You may tread me in the very dirt

But still, like dust, I'll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?

Why are you beset with gloom?

'Cause I walk like I've got oil wells

Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,

With the certainty of tides,

Just like hopes springing high,

Still I'll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?

Bowed head and lowered eyes?

Shoulders falling down like teardrops.

Weakened by my soulful cries.

Does my haughtiness offend you?

Don't you take it awful hard

'Cause I laugh like I've got gold mines

Diggin' in my own back yard.

You may shoot me with your words,

You may cut me with your eyes,

You may kill me with your hatefulness,

But still, like air, I'll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?

Does it come as a surprise

That I dance like I've got diamonds

At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history's shame

I rise

Up from a past that's rooted in pain

I rise

I'm a black ocean, leaping and wide,

Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.

Leaving behind nights of terror and fear

I rise

Into a daybreak that's wondrously clear

I rise

Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,

I am the dream and the hope of the slave.

I rise

I rise

I rise.

Maya Angelou

Had Kaepernick just been an average Joe in the seas of fans and had knelt down during the anthem his actions probably would have gone completely unnoticed by the news media. But he happens to be a star quarterback who plays on one of its biggest stages. So when he steps beyond society’s view of their traditional heroic role model he is demonized by social critics and that, of course, makes news.

But sometimes a society needs to be prodded into movement. Is this one of those times? Will Kaepernick’s example bring about great changes in our society? One needs only to remember that there were many similar public bus incidents long before the national news coverage brought Rosa Parks’ refusal to move to the back of the bus to the nation’s attention.

Kaepernick's protest has raised a national awareness for now. Will it fade from view when the national media turns its sights on the Presidential Election? Won’t most of us just return to the sanctuary of our daily lives of not looking too deeply at our own reflections? Or will the national news media just await for another future news cycle to cover the next Colin Kaepernick?

 

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