About eight months ago, back when Joe Biden was still considering entering the Presidential race, the rumor was that Obama told Biden that his endorsement was contingent upon Biden choosing Deval Patrick, the light-skinned black ex-Governor of Massachusetts, as his running mate. (I have no idea whether this is actually true, it’s just a rumor I heard.
I related this to a friend, who shook his head and replied, “I’ve known a lot of dark-skinned blacks in my life, and I’ve liked practically every single one of them. But why is it that when they get half-white, they just become intolerable?”
There’s some truth to what he said. 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 his, 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.
Bond divorced his black wife in 1989 to marry a white woman in 1990, but his resume immunized him from criticism.
Even light-skinned public figures who are not in politics put on a show. Harry Belafonte, who gained fame as a calypso singer, is a longtime civil rights activist; his involvement dates from the 1950’s and the 1960’s, when “civil rights” was a just cause that stood for almost the opposite of what it now does. But he has also been a longtime supporter of Cuba and the Soviet Union, and has remained far Left to this day.
Alicia Keys has always been outspoken politically. She is the co-founder of Keep a Child Alive, an organization which provides medicine to people with HIV and AIDS in Africa. And she has donated to Frum Tha Ground Up, which give scholarships to needy children.
She has also been quoted as saying:
‘Gangsta rap’ was a ploy to convince black people to kill each other.
The gold AK-47 pendant around her neck “symbolize[s] strength, power and killing ’em dead.”
The bicoastal feud between slain rappers Tupac Shakur and Notorious B.I.G. was fueled “by the government and the media, to stop another great black leader from existing.”
If black leaders such as the late Black Panther Huey Newton (a cop killer) “had the outlets our musicians have today, it’d be global. I have to figure out a way to do it myself.”
Louis Farrakhan is the head of the Nation of Islam, a black nationalist group advocating separatism:
Jeremiah Wright is the fire-breathing former pastor of the Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago:
Some of these light-skinned blacks may genuinely dislike whites. They have all undoubtedly felt the subtle, patronizing kind of racism that white liberals specialize in, and some may have experienced overt discrimination as well. Belafonte, Farrakhan, and Wright were all born during the Jim Crow era, thus witnessed real discrimination.
But, as rich as most of these people are, at some level they must be secretly grateful for the protection police provide.
Wright, for instance, now lives in a 10,400 square foot house in a gated community on a golf course in a white suburb. Think he wants a riot in his hometown? Or hordes of inner city blacks overrunning his property?
Do you think Colin Kaepernick wants to share his NFL riches with a mugger or home invader?
Nonetheless, at a certain level, these light-skinned blacks feel obliged to prove they’re every bit as black as anyone else. They may not even be fully conscious that this is what their motivation is; but the result is, they often end up more strident.
The fact is, dark-skinned blacks are usually accepting of lighter-skinned blacks; historically, the prejudice has usually run the other way. (Spike Lee devoted his second feature film, School Daze, to precisely that subject.) But when the darker-hued do sense snobbery, they’re resentful, and nobody wants to be the target of that resentment.
All of this is not to say that the darker-skinned themselves — like Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, or Danny Glover — don’t become militant. But if they do, it’s either to make money and gain personal power (like the first two), or because they are convinced of the movement’s righteousness (like Glover).
It’s not because they have to prove their blackness.
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.
Listen to Kaepernick for a minute or so in this interview, and note his vaguely black accent. When did he pick that up? He certainly didn’t grow up speaking that way. It’s an affectation, every bit as phony as Obama’s black accent.
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.)
There’s a whole other dynamic at work with Kaepernick which hasn’t been discussed elsewhere: as a quarterback, he’s a target for every vicious linebacker in professional football.
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.
This may not have occurred to you before. It’s occurred to Colin.