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

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…

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Ward Helps Biracial Youths on Journey Toward Acceptance

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Social Science on 2010-06-21 02:37Z by Steven

Ward Helps Biracial Youths on Journey Toward Acceptance

The New York Times

John Branch

PITTSBURGH — Steelers receiver Hines Ward surrounded himself with old friends at the dinner table on a recent Saturday night. The bond was as obvious as the look on everyone’s faces — half Korean, half something else. The shared experience was far more than skin deep.

There was a boy who was bullied into depression and tried to commit suicide. There was a girl ordered by a teacher to keep her hair pulled back tight, to straighten the natural curls she inherited from her black father. There was another too intimidated by her taunting classmates to board the bus, choosing instead the humiliating and lonely walk to school. There were the boys who were beaten regularly and teased mercilessly. There were college-age girls who broke into tears when telling their stories of growing up biracial in South Korea.

But when they looked around the table, they saw familiarity. And a future…

…“It was hard for me to find my identity,” Ward said. “The black kids didn’t want to hang out with me because I had a Korean mom. The white kids didn’t want to hang out with me because I was black. The Korean kids didn’t want to hang out with me because I was black. It was hard to find friends growing up. And then once I got involved in sports, color didn’t matter.”

But there is no such relief valve for most of the estimated 19,000 biracial children in South Korea. The fast-growing majority of them are Kosians, with a parent from a different Asian country.

The number of Amerasians — those generally with white or black American fathers, often from the military — is slowly shrinking. But their mere appearance leads to harsher discrimination, officials said.

“Korea is traditionally a single blood,” said Wondo Koh, a Korean who met up with the group in Pittsburgh while doing business. “We Koreans are not comfortable with this mixed-blood situation. We have become familiar now, but we did not know how to cope.”…

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