Much has been made recently of Colin Kaepernick refusing to stand for our national anthem to protest what he sees as the oppression of black people. It now appears Kaepernick’s actions have influenced other players, with additional NFL athletes refusing to stand at attention for the anthem, and some even raising the black power fist in protest.
As a black person who is a football fan, I state plainly: this is stupid. The simple reason is the flag, our anthem, and the best parts of America that it represents are not the cause of black people’s problems.
Thus instead of insulting our nation and Americans who actually like what our flag stands for, these NFL athletes should use their money and fame to work towards actual solutions to the black issues they purport to care about. Here are four ways they can do so.
1. Rebuild the Family
The black family is in complete disarray. More than 70 percent of black children are born to single mothers. The studies show that children born to single mothers have worse outcomes in many significant areas compared to those born into stable, two-parent homes. That means our protesting athletes really need to address this problem.
How? They should start advocacy groups and research centers that press state and federal governments to eliminate welfare, housing subsidies, and other government handout programs that destroy incentives to work and eliminate the role of the black father as provider, thus decimating the black family and communities. While some conservative groups already do this, it would be much more powerful and meaningful coming from black NFL players.
Additionally, they should create awards, financial and job incentives, training programs, and counseling and mentorship centers for black men and women who choose to marry and raise their children the right way as married couples. Why not even start an ad or social media campaign around something like “Marriage is cool” or “Marriage pays,” featuring black celebrities who are happily married and showing the various health, economic, and sexual benefits of marriage?
2. Rebuild American Education
It is obvious that public schools in poor, black communities are an abysmal failure, with studies showing the blacker the school, the worse the performance. Protesting athletes should thus use their wealth to start excellent private schools in the poorest black neighborhoods, and then invest in research and collaboration to turn the schools into a national movement.
Studies also show that black kids become less popular as their GPA increases. This unfortunate phenomenon is known as “acting white.” Why can’t protesting athletes be or highlight role models who did well in school, and promote academic achievement? How about national awards and prizes for kids who do excellently in school?
Further, because many children in poor, black areas weren’t raised in loving, intact homes, many have serious problems with work ethic, discipline, attitude, and people skills. That means the educational projects athletes implement will have to include training in the type of soft skills that many poor black kids never got at home and that are not typically taught in schools—such as how to be on time, dress professionally, and speak proper English. All this may seem like a tall order, but given that Kaepernick has a $114 million contract, he certainly has the resources to get started.
3. Rebuild American Jobs
With their combined hundreds of millions of dollars, the protesting NFL players could start a venture capital investment fund that finances innovative entrepreneurs who’ll create jobs in poor, black communities. They could even partner with established venture capital firms for guidance, mentorship, and additional funding.
They could work with Walmart, which has announced a plan to spend $250 billion bringing jobs back to the United States, to develop programs to steer some of the incoming manufacturing to poor black areas, and then train the people in those areas to succeed in these new work opportunities. There are lots of possibilities here with as much money as the protesting NFL men have. It’s time for them to use their fame and fortunes to start serious initiatives to bring jobs to poor black areas.
4. Stop the Killing in Black Communities
Kaepernick says he has a problem with police brutality. But the facts clearly show that black brutality is a much bigger problem than police brutality: approximately 6,000 black people are murdered by other black people ever year, compared to just 300 killed by the police, and even fewer than that killed by white police officers.
Black crime is astronomical. The rate at which black people commit murders is a whopping eight times that of whites—34.4 per 100,000 versus 4.5 per 100,000. Despite being just over one-tenth of the population, black people also commit more than half of all carjackings. Just wrap your head around this reality. We absolutely must end black crime. It kills more Americans than terrorism, by a large margin.
Our protesting athletes should thus leverage their money and fame to end violence in black communities. Some ways they can accomplish this are: buying up drug houses and shutting them down; building up neighborhood security patrols in the most dangerous black neighborhoods, which has been proven to be a low-cost way of reducing crime in several studies; and by raising nationwide awareness of black crime in order to call for help and solutions.
I hope Kaepernick and friends will get to work ASAP on what I’ve outlined here, for the sake of their needy fellow Americans. And stand up for the anthem, for Pete’s sake!