Afros, Anthems, and Colin Kaepernick

Dear Colin Kaepernick,

I hear you. And so do millions across the country. As a professional athlete, you actually have more sway than pastors. Welcome to a culture driven by the worship of sports.

This is why your political statements carry such tremendous weight.

Let me take you back for a moment…

“If you don’t say the Pledge of Allegiance, you’re going to get a detention!” threatened my 12th grade Government Studies teacher. She was angry that I refused to say words I felt were untrue.

I was the only one in the class who staged this brief protest. How could I recite words that I knew were a lie—“one nation under God”—we weren’t, and I wasn’t going to pretend it was true. She kept threatening me, but I refused to say it for weeks, not fearing the consequences.

I get you, Colin Kaepernick. I understand that frustration with knowing something is wrong and trying to express it in some way.

We have similar backgrounds. You’re biracial. I’m biracial. Both of us had black biological “fathers” who weren’t in the picture at all. (Actually, that’s an understatement for me, as my biological mother was raped yet chose life despite her horrific circumstances). Your biological mother faced different but dire circumstances, too. Each of our courageous birthmoms chose adoption for us, allowing us to be loved like crazy.

Like you, I was able to grow up in a loving Christian home. I had white parents and a multiracial family (with 12 siblings). Adopted as babies, transracial adoption made our lives and our experiences possible. Adoption undeniably unleashed purpose in each of us. I love how you predicted, way back in junior high, that you would become a 49ers quarterback…and God made it happen!

Each of us, as biracial adoptees, were able to navigate through some of the natural confusion and questions because we had parents who loved us through it all. For me, growing up in a diverse home served as a reminder that color (as beautiful as it is) is not what binds us—love is.

You once said in an interview with CBS that adoption “was the biggest blessing in my life.” Me, too.

Sadly, millions don’t ever get the opportunity that we did—to be given life and a nurturing family. Many are killed because they were “unplanned” and supposedly “unwanted.” Adoption shatters the myth of the “unwanted” child. Our lives prove this. Abortion reinforces the lie. It is the ultimate injustice, killing unarmed human beings over 3,000 times a day. Their bodies aren’t “in the street”…just flushed down drains or shoved into bio-waste bags. And they far outnumber the 258 black individuals or 494 white individuals killed by police in one year (79 percent of whom, according to the Washington Post, were armed). More unarmed black lives are killed in one day by Planned Parenthood (an estimated 266) than police kill (with or without justification) in an entire year. But somehow, the injustice of the slaughter of those who will never get to be adopted, loved, and dream like you doesn’t move you to protest. There are people getting paid and getting away with murder. They’re called abortionists, many of whom become millionaires (like Kermit Gosnell) by killing the most defenseless among us.

You’ve been seduced into a false narrative that exploits racism for political Ryan Bomberger, a biracial adoptee and adoptive father, rocks an afro to make a point.means when your experience and your biracialism should call you to be what President Obama has never chosen to be—a unifier. Rockin’ an afro doesn’t make you blacker or righter, by the way. It doesn’t change who I am, either. Truth changes who we are…for the better. The external appearance of self is meaningless if valuing truth is a superficial exercise. What is the content that flows from your heart to your mouth, or to your Twitter account (which, sadly, is currently a hot mess of racist accusations, racial division, and expletives)? These aren’t worth standing up for but taking a knee and reconsidering the long-lasting effect of words.

Misinformation is poison. The fundamentally dishonest, Marxist #BlackLivesMatter movement is toxic. (Part of their platform is decrying “income inequality,” by the way, but you didn’t choose to sit down over that. You make 9,899 times the money, in one game, than someone working security in your home stadium.) Surely, there’s a better way to illuminate actual injustice and address needless, tragic losses of life without spewing the venom of a movement rooted in regurgitated black nationalism.

Martin Luther King powerfully declared: “Let us be dissatisfied until that day when nobody will shout, ‘White Power!’ when nobody will shout, ‘Black Power!’ but everybody will talk about God’s power and human power.”

Frederick Douglass, famed abolitionist and unapologetic supporter of an America gradually achieving the promises of Liberty, also served as a powerful force of racial reconciliation. “I go further, and declare that no man’s devotion to the cause of justice, liberty, and humanity, is to be weighed, measured and determined by his color or race,” he said in one of his last speeches. “We should never forget that the ablest and most eloquent voices ever raised in behalf of the black man’s cause, were the voices of white men. Not for the race; not for color, but for man and manhood alone, they labored, fought and died.”

No one can force you to stand during the National Anthem. That has to be your choice. But you can choose to stand for truth. Be a factivist. Be a reconciler.

We all have a choice. Out of emotion, we can embrace the lie or we can choose to be proactive and seek out the truth. Education is a painful but liberating process. Douglass eloquently said: “Education means emancipation. It means light and liberty. It means the uplifting of the soul of man into the glorious light of truth, the light only by which men can be free.”

Today, I will recite the Pledge of Allegiance with my children in hopes that this nation will not deny, but embrace, its Judeo-Christian roots. I will stand for a flawed National Anthem that extols a flawed but great nation where justice repeatedly triumphs. And I will continue to illuminate, as an American who happens to be “biracial”, that no matter the injustice, we tackle it as one human race.


Ryan Bomberger
Adoptee and Adoptive Father

RyanBombergerRyan Bomberger is the Chief Creative Officer and co-founder of The Radiance Foundation. He is happily married to his best friend, Bethany, who also happens to be the Executive Director of Radiance. They are adoptive parents with four awesome munchkins. Ryan is a creative agitator and international public speaker who just loves illuminating that every human life has purpose.

The views expressed in opinion articles are solely those of the author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by Black Community News.

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  1. Very well written article; sadly due to the media’s agenda it will not become a mainstream topic for conversation because it promotes harmony and understanding.

    Thank you for writing this article; I know I am no one famous but with social media maybe it will become as the trendy call it, “viral”.

    Good luck with everything you do and GOD BLESS

  2. Hal G. P. Colebatch

    In Taiwan , a prosperous and successful society despite many natural and political disadvantages, excessive interest in sports is taken as a sign of low intelligence. We could do with more of this attitude throughout the West!

  3. Absolutely beautiful Ryan. Once we can all remember we are humans first and until EVERY human life matters there will be no respect for ANY human. People believe that abortion is a separate issue but as St. Teresa of Calcutta said if a mother can kill her own child; but what is left except for us to kill each other.

  4. EXCELLENT article!!! To bad it will never be distributed in the main stream media. Main stream media tries to promote its own agenda and not the beliefs of main stream America. There is only one race… The human race. We are individuals, and when we face judgement, we will be judged as such. We all will be judged by what we have done in this life. Not by which race we belong to. It is the main stream media that wants to separate us by race.

  5. Thank you! Your words said what my brain has been struggling to articulate! It’s hard to think straight when you’re angry at all the nonsense going on all around us. Like the other commentor, I will share this on social media so others can read it and, hopefully, pass along.
    God bless.