Earlier this week, in response to death threats aimed at him for kneeling during the national anthem, Colin Kaepernick said that killing him would only be another example of why his protest is necessary.
“If something like that were to happen, you’ve proved my point. It’ll be loud and clear why it happened,” he said.
But Kaepernick needs no other example for validation and vindication than for people to look at the recent police killings of black men this past week.
On September 14th, Tyre King, a 13-year old black boy from Columbus, Ohio,,was killed by cops while running away from them and holding a BB gun. King’s death was hauntingly reminiscent of the murder of Tamir Rice in 2014.
On September 19th, a video was released from the Tulsa Police Department showing Terence Crutcher shot and killed by an officer while he had his hands raised, and was following orders. He was unarmed and surrounded by four officers.
On September 20th, just one day later, Keith Lamont Scott, an unarmed black man with a disability, was killed by police in Charlotte, who was reading a book in his car while waiting for his son to be dropped off by the school bus.
All three officers responsible for the deaths have been placed on paid administrative leave.
This past week is a tragic reminder that this is not an issue localized in one part of this country. From Columbus, to Tulsa, to Charlotte, to Ferguson, the racial biases that have led to the murder of unarmed black people by the police is an American problem.
How is it possible to continually criticize Kaepernick for his peaceful protest when, week after week in this country, we are repeatedly met with the disturbing narrative of a black person being murdered by white police officers?
It goes beyond showing respect to veterans — this is a direct illustration of white supremacy in modern day America: white officers kill black people; black people protest in the streets; white people say black people should protest more peacefully; black people protest peacefully; white people say black people are disrespecting the country; black people continue to be killed.
“There’s a lot of racism disguised as patriotism in this country,” Kaepernick has said, and in light of this week’s recent murders, Kaepernick’s words are salient and his activist presence is necessary.
And yet, those very same “patriots” who turn their heads away from the continued systematic killing of black people, and threaten to kill Kaepernick for his protest, are quick to overreact and call for the banning of all muslims and refugees from this country following the bombs detonated by Ahmed Khan Rahami in New York and New Jersey.
Imagine if the black community called for the banning of all white people from the police force as a result of this past week’s murders, would that idea gain as much support as the idea of banning muslims and refugees from the country has?