You probably recall a few months ago when San Francisco 49er’s football player Colin Kaepernick dominated the news. Not for his performance, but for his very visible stance against racism and police brutality by sitting/kneeling during the National Anthem. And, as recently as yesterday he has been back in the news with his decision not to vote in the presidential election.
Kaepernick is seemingly everywhere from social media to the cover of Time magazine and when I see him, I see my son.
When I say that, it’s not meant to be symbolic or profound. I mean that they literally look like each other. I was first introduced to this guy in 2013. I was watching what I thought was a Beyoncé concert but it turns out, it was actually the Super Bowl. I started getting an influx of text messages and split screens of my two-year-old and this guy in a red jersey. From then on, coworkers asked me how my “little Kaepernick” was doing and I had some serious questions concerning my son’s paternity (super offensive by the way).
Now outside of facial features and racial ambiguity, there’s something else they have in common: the desire for their voices to be heard. I think we can all relate to that. My son isn’t necessarily protesting social injustice, but to him, eating all of his dinner is a huge problem. When he’s not able to have screen time it feels like the end of the world. When he doesn’t get yet another ninja costume he’s actually angry. I don’t tell him that his feelings don’t matter or aren’t important. I genuinely try to understand where he’s coming from. I may not always agree with his methods now or in the future, but I’ll always hear him out.
Protesting and parenting aren’t so different. There is always someone who is not going to agree with what you are doing. If you read any social media comments, you’ll know that there is backlash for absolutely everything. Whether you choose to have a home birth or stand in front of the state capitol with a sign, groups of people will agree or disagree. Most likely because they just don’t understand. With parenting and protesting, as long as no one gets hurt, is there really a wrong way to do it?
I’m not sure about the future of the movement that Kaepernick has started, but you have to respect someone who is willing to risk it all in order to be heard. I can only hope that my son will have the courage to take a stand, even if it is an unpopular one.