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Colin Kaepernick and America’s Black Hype Men

On Friday, Colin Kaepernick took a stand by taking a seat. He said enough with black death and quietly sat as the Star Spangled Banner played. When asked after the game about his stance he eloquently explained: “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”

America has always had a weird relationship with black athletes. They love them as long as they run, jump and score. But it’s better for America if they just don’t talk about black issues.

The weird dualism of praising black athletes while mistreating African Americans is so American that when Kaepernick said, “Hey everyone, black lives matter to me,” America said you’re un-American. And burned his jersey. And hates him, now. And isn’t that just like America?

But there’s another tradition that’s rooted in American history and it’s as American as the flag, racism, and apple pie: the black hype man.

The role of the black hype man is two fold: First it’s to keep the crowd engaged and on message. The second and this is the most important, it’s to make sure the song doesn’t skip a beat.

 

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