Many people know of former NFL quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, as a pioneer for the modern day civil rights movement, or they despise him for not standing for our nation’s anthem. However you feel about him, you definitely know his name. Kaepernick recently teamed up with award-winning filmmaker, Ava DuVernay, and Netflix, to create the show, “Colin in Black and White”. This limited series was absolutely amazing and eye-opening. Even though I am a person of color who has dealt with some of the stuff Kaepernick has, I was still learning things about racism that I had never thought about before.
The series starts off with making a connection that I myself had never thought of before. Kaepernick connects NFL combines, where predominantly white coaches poke and prod predominantly black athletes, checking for any imperfections that may be present and making sure they are the perfect athlete for their team to slave auctions, where white men would poke and prod slaves to see if they had any imperfections. When I watched this scene I literally said, “Oh my gosh.”
An aspect of the show that I loved was the constant cuts between Colin in the past, and Colin in the present. The way that the show was directed was absolutely amazing, and it felt as if the audience was watching Colin in the past, alongside present-day Colin Kaepernick.
Kaepernick and DuVernay also touch on an important issue that many Black people face, and that is being constantly surveilled and watched anywhere we step foot. In episode 3, Colin is attending a baseball tournament with his white adoptive parents. A white woman who works in the hotel watches Colin as he takes something complimentary from the hotel. Then, she invades his personal space and asks his parents, “Is this man bothering you?” Later on in this episode, Colin’s white friends are roughhousing, while Colin is just minding his business. Then, a white woman who works at the hotel questions Colin and asks if he’s even a guest at the hotel. I myself have been followed around stores by employees as if they think I’ll steal something, and I’m sure that many other Black people can relate to me. It’s important that this issue was showcased, because it unfortunately happens too often.
Colin Kaepernick and Ava DuVernay do an outstanding job of telling his story, and highlighting the injustices and pure ignorance that Black people have to encounter on a daily basis. From the lessons on microaggressions, to the ones on history most people would not know about, to the awesome cinematography, “Colin in Black and White” is a must-watch for anyone and everyone to become more educated on not only Kaepernick’s story, but Black history and culture, as well.