Keepin’ It Real: Essays on Race in Contemporary America

Posted in Barack Obama, Books, Media Archive, Monographs, Politics/Public Policy, Social Justice, United States on 2020-02-14 16:06Z by Steven

Keepin’ It Real: Essays on Race in Contemporary America

University of Chicago Press
2019-10-25
140 pages
6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
Paperback ISBN: 9781789380507

Elwood David Watson, Professor of History, African American Studies, and Gender Studies
East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, Tennessee

The past decade has been one of the most racially turbulent periods in the modern era, as the complicated breakthrough of the Obama presidency gave way to the racially charged campaigning and eventual governing of Donald Trump. Keepin’ It Real presents a wide-ranging group of essays that take on key aspects of the current landscape surrounding racial issues in America, including the place of the Obamas, the rise of the alt-right and White nationalism, Donald Trump, Colin Kaepernick and the backlash against his protests, Black Lives Matter, sexual politics in the black community, and much more.

America’s racial problems aren’t going away any time soon. Keepin’ It Real will serve as a marker of the arguments we’re having right now, and an argument for the changes we need to make to become the better nation we’ve long imagined ourselves to be.

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Is the Black Quarterback Revolution Going to Last?

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, United States on 2020-02-02 23:08Z by Steven

Is the Black Quarterback Revolution Going to Last?

The New York Times
2020-02-02

Elena Bergeron

Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs is part of a vanguard redefining the position. But it is a watershed only if it is widespread and persistent.

MIAMI — The N.F.L.’s longtime leading men, the ones with the pizza commercials and the Super Bowl rings, whose names adorn the league’s most-sold jerseys, showed their mortality this season in ways that were uncomfortable to watch.

Tom Brady and Drew Brees didn’t make it through the first round of the playoffs. Aaron Rodgers missed the Super Bowl, too, by losing in a later round. Eli Manning retired, usurped as the Giants’ leader after 16 years. Ben Roethlisberger played like he should be considering it, too.

Together they helmed 12 of the last 18 Super Bowl-winning teams. And all are pushing 40 years old or past it.

Yet their aging out of the game leaves no void, as these playoffs have highlighted the rise of quarterbacks whose savvy and daring have stolen our attention. Russell Wilson’s third-down scramble to survive the Philadelphia Eagles, Patrick Mahomes’s bionic touchdown run for the Chiefs against the Tennessee Titans, Deshaun Watson of the Texans’ magical escape from a sack to beat the Buffalo Bills. Everything that Lamar Jackson did…

Read the entire article here.

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In the End, the NFL Proved Colin Kaepernick Right

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, Social Justice, United States on 2019-12-13 14:58Z by Steven

In the End, the NFL Proved Colin Kaepernick Right

The Atlantic
2019-12-12

Jemele Hill, Staff writer

Colin Kaepernick
Al Bello / Getty

In pronouncing the outspoken quarterback’s career dead, the league underscored its own unwillingness to let players exercise their own power.

When the NFL commissioner, Roger Goodell, declared yesterday that the league had “moved on” from the embattled quarterback Colin Kaepernick, the finality of Goodell’s tone answered the question about whether Kaepernick would ever play professional football again.

Kaepernick became persona non grata in the National Football League after the 2016 season, during which he protested police violence against African Americans by kneeling during the national anthem. The league then spent more than two years trying to make him go away, but seemed to relent by scheduling a workout for him last month in Atlanta. But that proposed session didn’t happen on the NFL’s terms, and Goodell, in his first public comments about the matter, implied yesterday that Kaepernick had blown his last chance.

“It was a unique opportunity—an incredible opportunity—and he chose not to take it. And we’ve moved on here,” Goodell said at an owners’ meeting in Irving, Texas.

But if Goodell believes that the Atlanta fiasco provided closure to this situation, he’s being horribly naive. The league’s clumsy treatment of Kaepernick only showed what the quarterback’s supporters have been saying all along: The NFL is unwilling to tolerate black athletes’ outrage, outspokenness, and desire to exercise their power—even though all three are entirely justified…

Read the entire article here.

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Episode 1

Posted in Arts, Audio, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, My Articles/Point of View/Activities, United Kingdom, United States on 2019-02-06 02:22Z by Steven

Episode 1

Shade Podcast: UK culture and news podcast focused on the mixed race experience
2019-01-19

Laura Hesketh, Co-Host
Liverpool, England

Lou Mensah, Co-Host
London, England

Debut episode from Laura Hesketh & Lou Mensah where we discuss identification, Meghan Markle (00:01:36), the Khloé Kardashian bi racial doll tweet (00:07:25), Colin Kaepernick (00:10:40), Steven Riley (00:12:22), and more.

Listen to the episode (00:14:19) here. Download the episode here.

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Colin Kaepernick Wins Amnesty International’s Highest Honor

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, Social Justice, United States on 2018-04-22 21:03Z by Steven

Colin Kaepernick Wins Amnesty International’s Highest Honor

TIME
2018-04-21

Sean Gregory

Colin Kaepernick may not have a job on the football field, but much of the world is still cheering for him.

Amnesty International, the global human rights organization, gave Kaepernick its highest honor — the 2018 Ambassador of Conscience Award — in Amsterdam on Saturday. Past winners of the award, which “celebrates individuals and groups who speak out for justice,” include former South Africa president Nelson Mandela, Malala Yousafzai, the education activist from Pakistan who survived an assassination attempt by the Taliban, and rock group U2.

The organization recognized Kaepernick for his protest against police violence: his action, kneeling during the national anthem before NFL games, sparked a movement replicated across America and the world, starting a debate about free speech and patriotism that was inflamed by the President of the United States, one of Kaepernick’s most relentless critics…

Read the entire article here.

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Citizen of The Year: Colin Kaepernick Will Not Be Silenced

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, Social Justice, United States on 2017-11-13 20:47Z by Steven

Citizen of The Year: Colin Kaepernick Will Not Be Silenced

Gentlemen’s Quarterly (GQ)
2017-11-13

The Editors

He’s been vilified by millions and locked out of the NFL—all because he took a knee to protest police brutality. But Colin Kaepernick’s determined stand puts him in rare company in sports history: Muhammad Ali, Jackie Robinson—athletes who risked everything to make a difference.

In 2013, Colin Kaepernick was on the cover of this magazine because he was one of the best football players in the world. In 2017, Colin Kaepernick is on GQ’s cover once again—but this time it is because he isn’t playing football. And it’s not because he’s hurt, or because he’s broken any rules, or because he’s not good enough. Approximately 90 men are currently employed as quarterbacks in the NFL, as either starters or reserves, and Colin Kaepernick is better—indisputably, undeniably, flat-out better—than at least 70 of them. He is still, to this day, one of the most gifted quarterbacks on earth. And yet he has been locked out of the game he loves—blackballed—because of one simple gesture: He knelt during the playing of our national anthem. And he did it for a clear reason, one that has been lost in the yearlong storm that followed. He did it to protest systemic oppression and, more specifically, as he said repeatedly at the time, police brutality toward black people.

When we began discussing this GQ cover with Colin earlier this fall, he told us the reason he wanted to participate is that he wants to reclaim the narrative of his protest, which has been hijacked by a president eager to make this moment about himself. But Colin also made it clear to us that he intended to remain silent. As his public identity has begun to shift from football star to embattled activist, he has grown wise to the power of his silence. It has helped his story go around the world. It has even provoked the ire and ill temper of Donald Trump. Why talk now, when your detractors will only twist your words and use them against you? Why speak now, when silence has done so much?

At the same time, Colin is all too aware that silence creates a vacuum, and that if it doesn’t get filled somehow, someone else will fill it for him. In our many conversations with Colin about this project, we discussed the history of athletes and civil rights, and the indelible moments it called to mind, and we decided that we’d use photography—the power of imagery and iconography—to do the talking…

Read the entire article here.

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Why Colin Kaepernick Matters So Much

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Justice, United States on 2017-11-04 19:34Z by Steven

Why Colin Kaepernick Matters So Much

The Nation
2017-11-03

Dave Zirin


Colin Kaepernick on December 24, 2016. (Robert Hanashiro / USA Today via Reuters)

Why has he become a symbol of hope and resistance? It’s complicated.

Some legends are told
Some turn to dust or to gold
But you will remember me
Remember me, for centuries

Last night, my eighth-grader daughter went to see the band Fall Out Boy in concert—no comments on a 13-year-old’s musical tastes, or I will smite you. Behind the band, as they played their hit song “Centuries,” was a massive flat-screen image of Colin Kaepernick.

It’s remarkable to think that just two years ago, when Kaepernick turned 28, he was in the middle of his worst season as a pro, injured and only playing nine games, with his team exploring trade options even though he was just two and a half years removed from being a play away from leading his team to a Super Bowl. (It’s worth noting that even his worst season involved his having a quarterback rating higher than 13 players who have started for teams this season.)

On the day of his 30th birthday, it’s time to retire questions like, “Why does he deserve a spot on a roster?” If you’re still asking that, then I doubt you’ve read this far, but I’ll just say that Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, and Cam Newton—winners of four of the last seven NFL MVP awards—think he should be on a team, and if you want to disagree with them, have at it…

Read the entire article here.

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The Problem With Football Is Not Colin Kaepernick

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Media Archive, United States on 2017-09-29 02:35Z by Steven

The Problem With Football Is Not Colin Kaepernick

Shondaland
2017-09-28

Fanshen Cox DiGiovanni


Getty

I was the only girl on my high school’s football team — but I can no longer support the sport.

I was the only girl on my high school’s tackle football team.

I grew up watching my father clap his hands loudly, and yell at the TV during NFL games. I remember sometimes falling asleep to that sweet sound. He knew very little about football when he immigrated to the U.S. from Jamaica in the 1950s for college. He and his roomates were some of the only black people on campus, and they were also on the university’s football team. This is how my dad both learned the joys of black American culture, and developed his deep love of American football.

Eventually he ended up in Washington, D.C., where I was born. My white mom got full custody of my brother and me after our parents’ divorce when we were still young, so I grew up desperate to find ways to connect with my dad. I would try to speak Patois — though he had lost his accent since college to avoid being constantly “otherized.” I would try and learn factoids about the countries he visited in eastern Africa while searching for his roots and for a place with no racial or class oppression. But the single biggest gesture I made to try and gain my father’s love — was to learn to love football…

Read the entire article here.

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The Awakening of Colin Kaepernick

Posted in Articles, Biography, Media Archive, Social Justice, United States on 2017-09-08 13:53Z by Steven

The Awakening of Colin Kaepernick

The New York Times
2017-09-07

John Branch


Colin Kaepernick may forever be known as the quarterback who knelt for the national anthem before N.F.L. games in 2016 as a protest against social injustice.
Credit Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

The standout college quarterback went to the meeting alone that winter night, looking to join. The fraternity brothers at Kappa Alpha Psi, a predominantly black fraternity with a small chapter at the University of Nevada, knew who he was. He was a tall, lean, biracial junior, less than a year from graduating with a business degree.

“When he came and said he had interest in joining the fraternity, I kind of looked at him like, ‘Yeah, O.K.,’” said Olumide Ogundimu, one of the members. “I didn’t take it seriously. I thought: ‘You’re the star quarterback. What are you still missing that you’re looking for membership into our fraternity?’”

His name was Colin Kaepernick, and what he was looking for, Ogundimu and others discovered, was a deeper connection to his own roots and a broader understanding of the lives of others.

Seven years later, now 29, Kaepernick is the most polarizing figure in American sports. Outside of politics, there may be nobody in popular culture at this complex moment so divisive and so galvanizing, so scorned and so appreciated…

‘How Dare You Ask Me Something Like That?’

Turlock is a pleasant and unremarkable place in California’s flat, interior heartland. It is stifling hot in the summer and can be cool and rainy in the winter. Like many sprawling cities of central California, it features suburban-style neighborhoods and strip malls slowly eating the huge expanses of agriculture that surround it. And, like neighboring cities, the population of about 73,000 is overwhelmingly white and increasingly Latino. In Turlock, fewer than 2 percent of residents identify as African-American, according to the census.

Kaepernick moved there when he was 4. He was born in Milwaukee to a single white mother and a black father and quickly placed for adoption. He was soon adopted by Rick and Teresa Kaepernick of Fond du Lac, Wis., who were raising two biological children, Kyle and Devon. They had also lost two infant sons to congenital heart defects.

The family moved to California because Rick Kaepernick took a job as operations manager at the Hilmar Cheese Company, where he later became a vice president.

The boy became used to strangers assuming he was not with the other Kaepernicks. When anyone asked if he was adopted, he would scrunch up his face in mock sadness. “How dare you ask me something like that?” he would reply, and then laugh…

Read the entire article here.

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The NFL’s War Against Colin Kaepernick

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, Social Justice, United States on 2017-06-09 01:19Z by Steven

The NFL’s War Against Colin Kaepernick

The Nation
2017-06-08

Dave Zirin


San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick after a victory against the Rams in Los Angeles, California, on December 24, 2016. (Robert Hanashiro, USA Today via Reuters)

Leading media members are carrying on a disinformation campaign against the greatest political lightning rod in sports.

We have heard a farcical parade of excuses by NFL owners and executives for why free-agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick remains unemployed. “He’s not 100 percent committed.” “He’s more concerned with activism.” “He’s a distraction.” “He will only sign with a team if he starts.” “He wants too much money.” Even, “I am concerned about his conditioning now that he is now a vegetarian” (Real NFL players, if you haven’t heard, floss their teeth with steak gristle and drink testosterone shakes drained fresh from a bull’s balls.)

Their foot-massagers in the media—especially much of the team at Peter King’s Monday Morning Quarterback page at Sports Illustrated—have dutifully repeated these assertions with metronomic regularity.

Yet as each of these claims has been debunked by journalists actually communicating with Kaepernick and his people, they all continue to be reiterated. In other words, what is happening is a cycle of disinformation, carried out by media members who might as well wear the NFL brand tattooed on the small of their backs…

…The truth is ugly as sin. The NFL is denying Colin Kaepernick employment not because he isn’t “good enough” but because he is being shut out for the crime of using his platform to protest the killing of black kids by police. This makes the league’s right-wing billionaire owners’ silk boxers bunch up…

…Kaepernick’s pariah status is about sending a shot across the bow at every political athlete—particularly black athletes—that they better toe the line. The owners are again sending the message—just like when they tried to “influence” research on the effects of brain injuries in the sport—that the lives of players simply do not matter to the National Football League

Read the entire article here.

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