Coalition buildingEditorial, Online Only, Top Highlights, Around the Nation, Commentary Monday, September 5th, 2016
Unless you don’t watch the news, you have heard the San Francisco 49’er quarterback Colin Kaepernick has refused to stand for the national anthem. Kaepernick has done so in protest of the treatment of African Americans by police across the nation. The quarterback has been vilified by many in the press and alternatively celebrated for bringing additional focus to the conversation.
Last Sunday night, a white, female athlete showed solidarity with Kaepernick. Soccer player Megan Rapinoe took a knee during the Star Spangled Banner in a salute to and support of Kaepernick. Rapinoe is a lesbian and clearly understands what drives the quandary of putting your hand on your heart to acknowledge a country that has so many who purport discrimination against you.
“I am disgusted with the way he has been treated and the fans and hatred he has received in all of this,” Rapinoe told ESPN’s Julie Foudy. “It is overtly racist. ‘Stay in your place, black man.’ Just didn’t feel right to me. We need a more substantive conversation around race relations and the way people of color are treated.” Bravo Rapinoe. She added, “We are not saying we are not one the greatest countries in world and quite honestly, being gay, I have stood with my hand over my heart during the national anthem and felt like I haven’t had my liberties protected, so I can absolutely sympathize with that feeling.”
What makes Rapinoe’s support more interesting is the fact that she is the first white professional athlete to support Kaepernick. Add to this that Rapinoe is considered a national sports hero – she is a World Cup and gold-medal winner with the national women’s soccer team and as one media outlet put it, “You don’t get too much more red, white, and blue than Rapinoe …” She is also an advocate for pay equity for female athletes. Hey Kaepernick, maybe you can support that effort in the same way she has supported you.
LGBT organizations have historically had trouble representing the diversity of the community. LGBT people are white, African American, Jewish, gentile, Asian, Native American and atheist, you get the idea. Many LGBT organizations pander to the diversity within the community, like Trump’s recent visit to a black church. Members of the diverse LGBT community know authenticity when they see it.
LGBT organizations need to take a page out of Rapinoe’s book. With a simple act, she has built a true bridge between the African American, white and LGBT communities. That’s true coalition building.
San Diego LGBT Weekly
Short URL: http://lgbtweekly.com/?p=73653