The Guardian: Colin Kaepernick is the black Grinch for those who dream of a white America

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

The tactics used to discredit the former quarterback are how conservative America has always treated black athletes who speak out

Colin Kaepernick sent a tweet on Thanksgiving and the white-wing media wants to make sure you know about it. Breitbart, the Washington Times, Fox News and the rest of the usual suspects quickly reported the contents of this provocative tweet: “Spent the morning at the Indigenous People’s Sunrise Ceremony on the 50 year anniversary of the Occupation of Alcatraz. The US government has stolen over 1.5 billion acres of land from Indigenous people. Thank you to my Indigenous family, I’m with you today and always.”

Just in case that benign announcement didn’t raise the Defcon 1: Apocalypse Looming alarm in your head, Fox started the “news” story by editorializing the contents: “Former NFL player Colin Kaepernick had an odd way of celebrating Thanksgiving, attending an event that appeared to serve as a rebuke to the holiday and the United States.” News reports aren’t supposed to tell us it’s an “odd way” unless they already want to bias the reader. Say it ain’t so, Fox! The conservative political site the Blaze’s headline also wanted to make sure the readers don’t have to burden themselves with thinking: “Colin Kaepernick bashes America on Thanksgiving, participates in ‘Unthanksgiving Day’ celebration.”

Technically, pointing out a fact isn’t “bashing.” America’s forefathers did indeed steal the land from the indigenous people, often over their dead bodies. Just as indigenous people stole land from other tribes. That’s just historical fact. Like pointing out to grandpa that his zipper is open. I’m not bashing him, just stating a truth. So, why the panicky attacks on Kaepernick? Clearly, there’s something much more insidious going on here: the sustained attempt to steal Kaepernick’s political voice by characterizing him as un-American. The Black Grinch who wants to steal White Christmas American values.

It always starts with character assassination. In 1964, after an intense campaign to label him as a communist, an audio tape was sent to Dr Martin Luther King Jr purportedly of an extra-marital sexual encounter. With the tape was a letter calling him an “abnormal moral imbecile” and encouraging him to commit suicide before “your filthy, abnormal, fraudulent self is bared to the nation.” The tape and letter were sent by the FBI. Calling King a communist was how the FBI justified its relentless campaign of bugging King, his family, and friends and aggressive harassment against him. The campaign was effective because in 1966, 75% of Americans did not support King. The irony is that the moral values that determined King’s crusade were rooted in his devotion to Christianity, not communism. Yet, it was mostly Christians who rejected their own supposed beliefs because they were espoused by a black man who literally embodied Jesus’s teaching of turn-the-other-cheek. History has taught us over and over that religious values are quickly abandoned when they conflict with economics or traditional social norms.

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