Colin Kaepernick Is Yesterday’s News

If you are one of the 2.5 billion people logging on to social media every day, you have heard about the current debate over Colin Kaepernick and Nike. As you scroll your newsfeed, Colin’s face appears again and again. Everyone has an opinion. Good. Bad. Hero. Villain. Maybe you are burning your Nikes or maybe you are rushing out to buy new ones.

The truth is, this is an old debate. Racial tension is as much a part of the fabric of our country as the American Flag.

The face changes, but the issue remains. Today it is Colin Kaepernick, yesterday it was Jesse Owens.

I am not here to convince you I am right. I am not here to prove you are wrong. Everyone else is already busy doing that.

I am here to ask you to listen.

Let me tell you a story.

When I sent the manuscript for OKAYEST MOM to my publisher, I thought I had turned in a complete book. Then my editor, Adrienne Ingrum, asked for 10,000 more words. She wanted me to write an entirely new chapter dedicated to the topic of race. She said, “You touch on racial issues, but you kind of dance around the edges. I want you to dig a little deeper.”

ADRIENNE INGRUM, Senior Editor at Hachette Book Group

I was nervous. I am a white woman raising black children. I am still in the process of learning and unlearning many things about race. Adrienne is African-American. What was she going to think about my opinions? Would I be able to do justice to this complex issue? Would I offend her with my ignorance or my feigned enlightenment? I wrote Chapter 17, titled the chapter COLORED, and sent it to Adrienne with trembling fingers.

After reading my entire manuscript, the actual entire manuscript, Adrienne wrote a letter. Here is an excerpt:

International, cross-racial adoption is controversial. As early as 1972, the National Association of Black Social Workers issued a position statement on transracial adoption declaring the organization “has taken a vehement stand against the placement of black children in white homes for any reason.” During my two visits to Ethiopia, I saw many white families at hotels and the Addis Ababa airport cuddling beautiful, big-eyed brown babies. I noticed they received both approving stares and disapproving glares. In conversations with Ethiopians about the topic, I heard ambiguity. All of this controversy swirled in my mind as I began to read Natalie Gwyn’s story.

[Gwyn’s] account offered a perspective that had never dawned on me, even though I’m a rabid Jesus follower. She was not a privileged-perfect white woman who had plenty of household help and a savior complex for starving children. Reading Natalie’s story lifted the adoption controversy above the politics and black culture rhetoric (which usually tends to be my view). OKAYEST MOM placed international, cross-racial adoption in the realm of God, of callings. After reading OKAYEST MOM, I viewed motherhood by adoption as a spiritual thing.

I cried when I read Adrienne’s letter. I had shared my thoughts/opinions/heart with her, she responded by sharing her thoughts/opinions/heart with me, and we both listened as the other talked. We have since discussed Trump, the closing of Ethiopia’s borders to adoption, and the use of the word “Colored.”

Discussed. We both talked. We both listened. Back and forth. A conversation.

Sharing our stories, listening to each other, building relationship; these are the things that will move our country towards unity.

Racial unrest. Rioting. Gay marriage. Gun control. Abortion. Trump. Starbucks. Nike. The NFL. Vaccinations. There is no end to the number of issues trying to divide us. These are all important topics and we need to have conversations about them, but yelling at each other isn’t going to get us anywhere.

I urge you to approach each other with compassion. Lace your words with kindness. Maybe you are right. And then again, maybe you are wrong. Of course I would like to think my opinion is the truth, but what if it isn’t?

As a Jesus-follower, my words can either point people towards my Savior or turn them away. I would hate to lose the opportunity to talk to someone about something as important as ETERNITY because I was too busy being angry about (insert current hot-button issue).

So…let us talk. And let us listen. But most importantly, let us love.

The world doesn’t need another social media post full of hate for the other side.

The world needs more respect for differing viewpoints.

The world needs more listeners.

The world needs more relationships that look like this.

If I want the world to be less hateful, I need to be more loving.

Blessings!

 

 

 

Order Natalie Gwyn’s new book OKAYEST MOM here.

 

7 thoughts on “Colin Kaepernick Is Yesterday’s News

    1. Natalie Gwyn Post author

      Thank you, Liesje! Kids are back in school, sports have started, we are all loving being back in our routine.

      Reply
  1. Karen

    This is the most condescending post I have read in a long time. Of course you are correct that we need to listen, respect viewpoints, etc. Most people would not argue with this. You veer off topic as if Christians in particular are the ones not listening. But making it look like this is just a race conversation by bringing in a real hero like Jesse Owens and acting like this just about race instead of a man who has fueled the embers of hatred and divisiveness unlike any man in recent times (never mind his personal actions and beliefs, depicting cops as pigs, supporting Castro, basing his protest on a case proven not to be racially driven, etc.). If this were so simple as to only make this about race, I think this conversation would have ended a long time ago. Realize there just might be a reason this is not just a simple “lets just listen and love Jesus” moment. There is a lot more – perceived and real.

    Reply
  2. Janet Hering

    Well said, Natalie and Adrienne! BTW, I saw the book among the new books in the library. I haven’t seen it since; somebody must be reading it.Colin Kaepernick may be yesterday’s news, but, unfortunately, Black Lives Matter is not. I know, for example, that Truman integrated the armed forces. What I found out only recently is that African Americans could not take advantage of VA housing loans or college loans offered to veterans. (I know I read it in a reliable source, but I would be more than happy to be proved wrong.) One thing that does encourage me comes from an article I read in the Record Searchlight. It seems IAASCO, which trains Chinese students for Chinese airlines wasn’t happy with one student’s progress, so their president took the student from his apartment, bundled him into a car, and headed for the SF airport. The student called his family at home, and his brother promptly called the Redding police. (Let’s see, a well-known, tax-paying, Redding businessman vs a Chinese kid?) So the cops promptly rescued the kid and arrested the kidnapper.

    Reply
  3. Tonya Moore

    I don’t respect that Kaepernick chose to kneel at work, during our national anthem. Nor do I appreciate a high profile athlete wearing pig police officer socks. Whether he had another agenda or not, he showed disrespect to a lot of honorable people the way he chose to protest.

    That being said, his actions have stirred up discussions that I’m listening to regarding racism and the dialogue is revealing that we have a ways to go.

    Nike chose to be part of it ALL by honoring Kaepernick at the risk of offending and losing customers that felt hurt by his actions. They’ve fanned the flames. It’s Nike’s right to define their brand and anyone that feels the need for a company’s ideals to align with theirs can exercise their right to withdraw their business from Nike.

    Thank you for your post.

    Reply

Friends, tell me what's on your mind.