Colin Kaepernick explains difficulties of adoptive parents’ racism (video)

The former NFL star recaps tumultuous childhood as White parents perpetuated racism
Photo: A.R. Shaw
Photo by A.R. Shaw for rolling out

Exiled NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick discussed the challenges when White parents adopt minority children.

Kaep, as he is often called, recalls the time, for example, when he wanted to get cornrows like his athletic hero, NBA legend Allen Iverson.

“He’s getting what rolls?” his mom told him, adding that it was “not professional” and that he “looked like a little thug.”

The former NFL star shared this anecdote in a Twitter video with author Eve L. Ewing, a professor and sociologist at the University of Chicago. Together, they penned the book, Changing the Game, that recounts Kaep’s high school years. 

“I will say, I’ve had lot of responses from other trans-racial adoptees on that front,” Kaepernick said. “Just like having similar experiences and having similar family dynamics that they’re trying to navigate. And I think it’s because it is so unique.

“It is very difficult for people to have a nuanced conversation around it — [and] be, like, yeah, the people that love you and that you love can also perpetuate very problematic elements, and those things can exist at the same time.

“And part of it is, like, how do you grapple with that? How do you navigate that? And especially at a young age? And it’s, like, are you equipped to navigate that and are your parents equipped to navigate that?”

This comes a month after Kaep told CBS that his parents, Teresa and Rick Kaepernick, “perpetuated racism” in their household growing up.

“I know my parents loved me. But there were still very problematic things that I went through,” Kaepernick said. 

“I think it was important to show that, ‘No, this can happen in your own home, and how we move forward collectively while addressing the racism that is being perpetuated.”

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