One lost his life, the other his Job, but George Floyd and Colin Kaepernick are forever linked to kneeling.
Neither Colin Kaepernick nor George Floyd is the first of their kind, yet as African Americans’ most recent martyrs, they are linked. We have seen both the activist pro-athlete and the black victim of police brutality. However, never have we be presented with such explicit contrasting imagery that illustrates the clear difference race makes when it comes to something as simple as kneeling.
When Kaepernick began his protest, the images of Eric Garner were clear but apart of a memory. Contrastly, the murder of George Floyd is a current direct reminder as to why Kaepernick began his protest in the first place.
The Backlash players received for “taking a knee” was downright disgusting. Even more, the fact that a peaceful protest received such hate and disrespect revealed America’s true colors. In an attempt to hide their true intentions, critics of Kap and friends tried making it about patriotism and the troops. The truth, though, was always clear that the problem wasn’t the kneeling; it was who was doing the kneeling.
From the beginning, Colin Kaepernick said his protest was to bring awareness and change to police brutality in the black community. With countless names to mention from before his rally and after. George Floyd is the latest victim of the same problem Colin is trying to fix actively.
I didn’t watch the video of George Floyd’s murder, because I know how it ends. An innocent black man(despite other news outlets mentioning reports of forgery) was killed by a trained and paid white public servant. I’ve already experienced the trauma of hearing a dying man plead, “I Can’t Breathe.”
We have lived through this experience multiple times; the question is, what can we do to makes things different going forward?
There is no clear answer to that, anyone who says otherwise is crazy. However, one thing we, as in black people, can start doing is more a stop. We can stop supporting the fake activist of social media and start encouraging the real. Celebrities today participate in social media, and we eat that up. While it’s people like George Floyd who are dying in the streets in real life and all he gets is a hashtag and a T-shirt. We get caught up in hearing what Celebrities think about events without requiring them to even have knowledge.
Activism in the past required sacrifice, you couldn’t just say you were with the cause, you had to show. Colin Kaepernick is the closest thing to that type of activism we have from celebrities of today. The difficulty of being a man in his prime, playing the sport of your dream, and giving that up for others is only imaginable. However, that is what Kap did and continues to do as he fights for social justice. Not only did he sacrifice his Job, but he also continues to support the mission through various efforts.
Colin Kaepernick and George Floyd are victims of White America’s desire to control it’s African American brothers and sisters. We kneel it’s a problem. We get mad when you kneel on us; it’s a problem.
Kap is still here, though, and deserves our support now more than ever. While I didn’t watch the video, I saw a still picture of the incident. Police Officer Derek Chauvin doesn’t look too old or out of touch with information of the last decade. One might even assume he also has heard of Eric Garner or Philando Castle. One could go even further and say he has at least listened to the slogan “I can’t breathe” or at least seen it on a shirt.
From the look of his face during the still, Officer Chauvin was more than aware of all those things. He was knowledgeable, and that’s why he pressed down just a little harder because he thought to be able to say anything was breathing too much. There was a sense of Pride in Derek Chauvin’s face as he looked in the camera phone of an onlooker. It said, “Yeah, so what? I am a cop, and he’s black.”