By now everyone knows the drama surrounding Colin Kaepernick, struggling quarterback of the San Francisco 49ers. Starting with sitting out the National Anthem and extending to speaking out against police brutality and presidential candidates, Kaepernick has been divisive to say the least. While many have backed him, supporting his Constitutional right and NFL-allowed refusal to stand during the anthem, just as many have admonished him for his actions, calling him un-American, burning his jersey, or worse, directing racial slurs at him on social media (how ironic).
One such anti-Kaepernick individual is Allen West, a retired Army Lt. Colonel and former Congressman. On his website, West penned a letter titled “Message from a non-oppressed black man to Colin Kaepernick.” In it, West compares Kaepernick to a fool, accuses him of ignorance, and blames all oppression of blacks on the Democratic party.
There are a few statements of West I’d like to address.
First, Allen West starts off the letter by insinuating that black oppression in the United States no longer exists, or at least is no longer a big problem. How does he do this? With examples of course! We have a bi-racial President, have had two black Attorneys General, and we have a black Secretary of Homeland Security and National Security Advisor. Well, fuck. Racism is dead. Allen West’s anecdotal evidence of a lack of black oppression in America is as weak as any argument I’ve heard to date, rooted in logical fallacy.
And even though West makes this claim of nonexistence, he later rattles off examples of problems in black communities and blames them all on the policies of Democrats in office. So which is it? Does oppression exist or not?
Also in the letter, West calls Kaepernick a “multi-millionaire one-percenter” who shouldn’t be complaining about racism or oppression because he’s successful. What West doesn’t seem to get is that Kaepernick wasn’t complaining about his own experiences. He was making a statement about the racism and oppression that Americans of color experience as a whole. Apparently Allen West is unfamiliar with the idea of sticking up for other people and understanding the world around you, outside of your self-congratulating bubble.
And on a side note, Allen West’s website is littered with advertisements that would make right-wing conspiracy theory sites jealous (mostly aimed at Hillary Clinton when I was visiting). That should tell you enough about the kind of person he is.