Are Black Celebrities Just Supposed To Shut Up And Entertain?

The backlash that Colin Kaepernick and others receive for speaking out about social issues shows the disparity between how celebrities are treated based on race.


The United States Declaration of Independence proclaims that “all men are created equal,” but historically speaking, that has proven to be far from the truth.

Slavery may be abolished and Jim Crow Laws may be overturned, but racism and prejudice still run very deep in the United States.

This information comes as no secret; however, it has become more prevalent in recent years as Americans have shown signs of regression when it comes to unity and tolerance.

Reactions to the nationwide national anthem protest serve as prime examples that blacks and other minorities still aren’t viewed as equals in the eyes of many of their white counterparts.

San Francisco 49ers’ quarterback Colin Kaepernick sparked a movement that has been deemed unpatriotic and anti-American, yet all he has done is exercise the First Amendment rights we are all supposed to be entitled to.

The controversy that has ensued indicates there is a consensus that black athletes and entertainers are meant to be seen and not heard.

For example, Donald Trump has insulted and criticized America, our elected officials, and the military throughout his entire campaign. Even his campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again,” is a slap in the face to all those who put their blood, sweat, and tears into making sure America is great every day.

Yet, he hasn’t been brutally slammed for being unpatriotic. Instead, he’s gained a loyal following that propelled his campaign so far that he won the GOP presidential nomination and could very well become our next commander in chief.

U.S. Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte completely disgraced himself as a representative of our country when he lied about being robbed at gunpoint in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. However, many people just laughed about the ordeal and attributed his actions to immaturity, despite the fact that he is over 30 years old.

No one seems to have been as outraged by Trump or Lochte's unpatriotic actions as they have been by Kaepernick’s protest.

His jerseys have been burned, he’s been attacked by racist trolls, he’s been criticized to no end, and people have even called for him to lose his job.

Similarly, Olympic spectators were quick to jump down the throat of U.S. gymnast Gabby Douglas when photos began circulating of her standing at attention during the national anthem without her hand placed over her heart.

Let’s not forget about the absurd #BoycottBeyonce campaign that gained momentum after she dared to release a song and video with a political message, and then performed said song during the Super Bowl.

She was criticized for disrespecting U.S. law enforcement and promoting violence against police.

But, where is all that passion and vigor when police brutalize and kill innocent people of color?

This double standard simply reinforces the need for black public figures to use their platforms to give a voice to the marginalized Americans whose struggles are ignored.

The fact of the matter is that, America doesn't love its minorities as much as it loves its flag and “The Star-Spangled Banner.” 

Through their mainstreamed political statements, these pubic figures are proving that status doesn't make them exempt from the same mistreatment plaguing people of color in this country, which is one of many reasons why they cannot just shut up and entertain. 

Banner/Thumbnail Credits: Reuters

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