By now, all except those dwelling beneath a rock are aware of San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s refusal to stand during the playing of the National Anthem prior to professional football games.
Kaepernick claims this tandem exercise of free speech and blatant disrespect for those who’ve sacrificed to provide him that right is to protest “a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.” He further explains that he will continue his protest until he sees “significant changes.”
What’s really necessary here is clarification of what is being discussed. What are these “significant changes” and who needs to make them?
When Kaepernick says that America oppresses black people, we need some specifics. What is it he’s actually talking about? According to Celebrity Networth, in June of 2014, the 49ers and Kaepernick, who is 28 years old, “reached a six year extension deal. The deal could allow Colin to earn as much as $126 million from the deal, of which $61 million is guaranteed.” Clearly he is not talking about himself. The man is not oppressed.
Every day when he shows up at work he’s in a locker room surrounded by other young black American men in a similar income and net worth strata.This (2016/17) season the average NFL salary is $2,150,000; the median salary is $860,000; the lowest NFL salary (rookie minimum) is $435,000…all in a league that is far-majority black. Of the league’s total 1,155 players, the black population of the NFL runs away with a 68% majority. White players are a distant second as there are just 470 of them, or just 28% of the league. The National Basketball Association is 75% black, with an average salary of 4.9 million dollars. Clearly, Kaepernick is also not talking about his contemporaries. America is the only nation on earth where you find Colin Kapernicks, Jay Zs, Robert F. Smiths, Tiger Woods, Oprah Winfreys, Ken Chenaults, etc.
In this “oppressive country,” more than half the white people who voted in the past eight years voted for a black man to be their president — twice. America has had two consecutive black attorneys general, two consecutive black secretaries of state, a black sitting Supreme Court justice, and 49 black members of Congress. Our federal government is peppered with accomplished blacks, having been appointed to their posts by President Obama. This, along with scores of representatives in state legislative houses, mayoral offices, city councils, and county commissions across our land from sea to shining sea. One would hesitate to call any of them oppressed.
So who are these oppressed blacks? This country has provided a standard of living for all citizens, including blacks, that’s the highest in human history. Only in America can a person be considered “oppressed and in poverty,” yet still have an apartment, a refrigerator, an automobile, heat and air conditioning, a cell phone …all paid for by someone else. Try checking poverty in Ethiopia, Haiti or Nepal sometime. Most cannot afford their own cell phone, let alone pay for theirs and somebody else’s.
Does all this mean there is no oppression of or oppressed blacks in America? Of course not. There is and there are. But if it is true that there are places in America where blacks are oppressed, and it is, then those are the places Colin Kaepernick needs to be protesting, not the nation as a whole.
So where are those places? The places in America where we find black citizens living in what can be considered “oppression” are our urban, inner city neighborhoods.
And who runs those?
Here in Denver, Colorado, we have a black Democrat chief of police, a black Democrat mayor and a mostly all-Democrat city council. The black parts of town have been represented by liberal Democrats in our state legislature since forever. They have been represented in Washington, D.C. by the same liberal Democrat representative for 20 years. We have a liberal Democrat governor.
Denver is far from unique. Are black neighborhoods in Chicago under oppression? One can’t go a day on social media without being smacked in the face with stories about the blight that many black neighborhoods in Chicago have devolved into. Who runs those streets? That city? That county? Look it up sometime, Colin.
Could we consider blacks in New York City to be oppressed? Who makes the decisions there? Who sets the policy tone and controls the ability to bring economic and other forms of relief to oppressed citizens? Ever take a look at the city council makeup of NYC? Click this and see what you notice: New York City Council – All Members.
This is true of every urban area in the nation. They all are and have been run by Democrats for decades.
Today’s urban housing projects that have become dangerous, drug-infested hotbeds of violent crimes were built by whom? It was Democrats who built those monstrosities and said, “All you black people can live over there”, and herded us into them.
It was Democrats who said to our women, “The government will pay your rent, provide food and diapers for your babies — so long as you don’t have a man in the house,” wrecking our family structure to the point where now 73% of black babies in America are born into a single-parent household.
It was and is Democrats who say, “You must keep sending your children to those dangerous under-performing schools in the hood,” because they’re so in bed with the teachers unions (and the campaign dollars they dutifully shovel) that they cannot endorse any form of choice or competition in the education field.
On and on it goes.
So, Mr. Kaepernick, if you’re going to take a stand on principle, stake out a territory and hold your ground, fine. I (Derrick Wilburn) disagree with the manner you’ve chosen to do it, but can appreciate and respect that you feel passionate enough to stick your head up out of the foxhole. I’ve done the same many times. But you can’t protest “America.”
Thus the question remains and needs definition — what and who are you really protesting?
[This article was written by Derrick Wilburn]