Former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick will be working with two renowned Black academics who are self-proclaimed Marxists to edit a new book on this history of Black Studies.
In an interview with The New Republic, Kaepernick spoke about working with Robin D.G. Kelley and Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor on the new anthology titled Our History Has Always Been Contraband: In Defense of Black Studies.
“I’ve long admired Keeanga and Robin’s work as well as their uncompromising political analysis and understanding that Black liberation simply isn’t possible under capitalism,” Kaepernick said
“I think the anthology makes this argument quite well, and I hope it challenges readers to see that racism is not white supremacy’s only ingredient,” he added. “White supremacy persists in part because of its relationship with capitalism, heteropatriarchy, ableism, and so on.”
The book features essays from Kaepernick, Taylor, and Kelley, W.E.B. Du Bois, James Baldwin, Angela Davis, Octavia Butler, bell hooks, Huey Newton, and many others.
According to Kaepernick, the book is a response to the political agendas of Republican legislators who have banned books and AP courses on African American history and the use of Critical Race Theory (CRT) as a dog whistle.
“Black Studies and, more generally, a critical engagement with U.S. history, threatens the white supremacist status quo,” Kaepernick argued.” Any attempt to whitewash the past should actually be understood as a concrete step toward fascism and a desire to build a nation-state where power is concentrated in the hands of a self-anointed (read: white) few. That said, I wouldn’t characterize GOP attacks on Black Studies as an “obsession” but rather as core to their white supremacist political project.”
Kaepernick, who received national attention for kneeling during the national anthem during the 2016 NFLseason, has been a prominent activist for social justice and Black equality since leaving the NFL. He said that he believes that his new book is an outgrowth of his activism.
“Not only has Black Studies long held a mirror up to this country to expose its founding mythologies and contradictions, but it has also helped to imagine an alternative future that’s grounded in the liberation of all people,” Kaepernick said. “I hope that my own actions back in 2016 and ever since have had a similar effect.”
Our History Has Always Been Contraband: In Defense of Black Studies is set for release on July 4, 2023