Open Letter To Colin Kaepernick

Colin,

You need to know there are people out here in your corner. I’m one of them. I’m not a 49er fan, but I am a fan of social justice, and for speaking truth to power. The stance you’re taking by being seated is spurring a conversation that needs to happen, and would not have happened but for this catalyst.

I’m sure you recognized there would be people that would be angry at your decision, that people would be angry with the way you chose to stand up for your beliefs. But here’s the thing, protest will always make someone unhappy, and it’s usually the members of the oppressor class. It’s not your job to make sure people are happy by the method you chose. The entire idea of the “wrong method” pre-supposes that someone who is not in your position can tell you how to protest. Why is that OK? What way would be the best to protest? What way could you have protested that would have been as effective as a conversational catalyst and would have not made people mad? There’s literally mounds of proof that most people don’t have the vocabulary and nuance to be involved in conversations about race without getting defensive or angry.

I love that people think that your making money has anything to do with anything. It’s as if they think that being rich solves the racism of being black. It doesn’t. It just changes the expectations, and the demand for respectability politics is mind numbing. It’s like they say “you got your money nigger, now shut the hell up.” Also, the double standard of this claim displays some degree of tone-deafness that’s hard to understand. Poor people have been shouting from the rooftops about disparate treatment from police officers for as long as there have been poor people, police officers and rooftops and nobody ever seems to hear them- it’s as if despite there being a critical mass of people saying this- that the cognitive dissonance of the listener is such that nobody hears the need for change. But the minute someone with access to a megaphone does it, people complain of the method. This is also blurred in with the “well what’s he doing next to solve the problem? It’s as if they don’t realize you’re making a collective call to action- that it would be impossible for you to solve the problem alone, and that all of us need to make an effort, which means people have to do more than ask you what you’re doing next.

If all you did was start the conversation, we’re good.

Thank you for your words. Thank you for your action. Thank you for your strength.

DD