Colin Kaepernick, out-brothering the brothers

JustNotSaid: Many light-skinned blacks seem to combine the natural posturing and status-seeking of whites with the lack of inhibitions of blacks. So you end up with uninhibited poseurs.

Then, mix into that equation the fact that light-skinned blacks often seem to feel compelled to “prove” their blackness by out-brothering the brothers.

Colin Kaepernick is a case in point.

Often, an American with a white mother and black father (the usual combination) is genetically more than 50% white, since the father usually has some white blood. This appears to be the case with Kaepernick.

And Kaepernick’s psychological demons are compounded by the fact that his adoptive family is, apart from himself, entirely white.

Kaepernick’s personal background aside, there is a long tradition of light-skinned blacks who have avoided being called Toms by militantly outflanking their darker-skinned brethren.

Remember what Bobby Rush said while running against Barack Obama for Congress in 2000? He said that while he had lived the civil rights movement, Obama had only read about it. Rush saw Obama’s vulnerability, exploited it, and then crushed Obama in the election. Do you think the half-white Obama, raised in Hawaii and Indonesia, felt obliged to prove his blackness after that?

Obama’s entire career since might be viewed as one big attempt to do that. But he’s not the only one.

Julian Bond was a longtime civil rights activist. He served six terms as a Democrat in the Georgia State Senate, was chairman of the NAACP for twelve years, and was the first president of the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Whites have a tendency to look at blacks and see just one color. But there’s a whole range of skin tones there, and with them come a range of psychological dynamics.

Blacks generally don’t worry about what whites think about them (unless they stand to lose money as a result). If you’re black, you can say the most racist things, and whites will for the most part just pretend they didn’t hear it. Blacks worry much more that others in their community will see them as traitors.

Witness the treatment accorded Clarence Thomas, and Walter Williams, and Thomas Sowell. (It takes an awfully strong person to withstand that.)

So, don’t be too hard on Colin Kaepernick. Bear in mind, Kaepernick was brought up in a white family in Turlock, California, which is 1.7% black. Most of his exposure to blacks growing up undoubtedly came from reading about them committing crimes and rioting and so on. So at a certain level, he’s probably almost as scared of blacks as most whites are…

Kaepernick is, for all practical purposes, a wigger, the only difference being that he actually is roughly a quarter or maybe three-eighths black.

His sitting down during the national anthem is not a well-considered if misguided moral stance arrived after a painstaking study of all the police shootings of the past few years. It’s more just a desperate attempt to try to fit into a community in which he never really belonged, and with whom he’s not entirely comfortable. Unfortunately for Kaepernick, his psychological issues are playing out on a national stage, on a touchy issue, at a particularly fraught time in the national psyche.

The next time you see a Kaepernick-type in action, understand that what you’re seeing is not necessarily hatred of whites; a lot of it may just be posturing. Light-skinned blacks don’t want other blacks to think that they think they’re better just because they’re lighter. And they really don’t want other blacks to realize that they’re actually afraid of them. (Even if, deep down, that’s how they feel.)


Football isn’t as black-dominated as basketball, but look at this list of the top current linebackers in the NFL: 8 of the top 10, and all 5 honorable mentions, are black.

Now, put yourself in Kaepernick’s shoes (his cleats, to be exact). What would you rather have these 275 pound linebackers think as they try to sack you:

(A) This light-skinned mofo thinks he’s better than me — I’m gonna break his fuckin’ neck.


(B), Colin’s a righteous warrior who’s down with the cause. I’m gonna do my job, then help the brother up.

Those linebackers are a lot scarier than the white scribes who criticize Kaepernick’s lack of patriotism.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been noted in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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