When you are talking with your sons and daughters about Colin Kaepernick and Nike, here’s one more thing to talk about: Kaepernick refused to vote in the 2016 Presidential elections, claiming that it would be “hypocritical”, as he is “against a system of oppression” and is “not going to show support for that system”. You can read more about this here.
Hold up, waitaminit. This is a short-sighted, history-ignoring strategy for change making. People have fought and died and continue to struggle to give African-Americans the right to vote. Exercising that right in every election is how you make change in America, which is what Kaepernick says he is trying to do. The “system of oppression” he spoke of wins if he choses not to exercise his right to vote.
So add this to the conversation with your children about Kaepernick. His stance on voting doesn’t negate his outrage about police brutality or invalidate his quest to get America to pay more attention to it. But it is wrong, and we need to say that out loud. Even if you don’t like all of the choices on the ballot, it is important to vote and stay in the habit of voting. People in public office have the power to change things, and you need to participate in the selection of those people by voting them into office in order to help bring about change. That is not the only way to bring about change, but it is a critically important one.
C’mon, Kaepernick. You can do better. We need you to.