Colin Kaepernick has been criticized recently in the media for refusing to stand during the national anthem and one former football player is questioning his black identity.
Rodney Harrison, a football analyst for NBC, unintentionally disregarded mixed-race individuals as people of color after he stated on a radio show that the San Francisco 49ers player isn’t black, Deadspin reports.
“I tell you this, I’m a black man. And Colin Kaepernick, he’s not black. He cannot understand what I face and what other young black men and black people face, or people of color face, on a every single (day) basis. When you walk in a grocery store, and you might have $2,000 or $3,000 in your pocket and you go up in to a Foot Locker and they’re looking at you like you about to steal something.” Harrison told SportsTalk 790, a Houston radio show.
Harrison made the racially insensitive remark after he was asked about the controversy surrounding Kaepernick’s decision to sit during the national anthem.
Kaepernick is multiracial and had an unconventional upbringing. He was adopted from birth, but has a biological white mother and black father, according to Sporting News.
"I'm not saying that he has to be black. I said his heart is in the right place, but even with what he's doing, he still doesn't understand what we face as a black man or people of color, that's what I'm saying," Harrison said.
Although Harrison claims on Twitter that he didn’t know Kaepernick is mixed-race and has since apologized for his remarks, saying that Kaepernick isn’t black enough to protest racial oppression is appalling.
Given the color of Kaepernick's skin, he still experiences discrimination before people are even aware of his background.
People criticized Kaepernick for kissing his tattoos a few years ago and when he was a child, people judged the color of his skin. His past experiences with race are why he decided to protest racial oppression and sit out during the national anthem, yet Harrison still felt that he didn't understand the struggle of the black race.
NBC News reports that Kaepernick once said, “My racial heritage is something I want people to be well aware of. I do want to be a representative of the African community, and I want to hold myself and dress myself in a way that reflects that. I want black kids to see me and think: 'Okay, he's carrying himself as a black man, and that's how a black man should carry himself.’”
It is unfair for this NBC analyst to claim that Kaepernick is not black and it invalidates experiences of mixed-race individuals and insinuates that people of a mixed heritage are not included as people of color.
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