If Colin Kaepernick truly wants to help people of color, he has a warped way of showing it.
Kaepernick earned his success. He grew up in a functioning home, worked hard and until quite recently lived a life that is only a dream to most Americans: getting paid to play what is essentially a kid's game.
The fact that he’s blessed to live in a country that rewards his talent generously could be an inspiration to millions of impoverished kids across the country. Instead, his refusal to show respect for the nation is an insult to the thousands of working Americans who go to work daily — many of them risking their lives as cops, soldiers, firemen, nurses and teachers — for a much smaller paycheck.
Teaching kids to dishonor the flag and the men and women who have sacrificed everything for it is misguided and won’t help ease relations between police and poor communities. Neither will Kaepernick’s funding radical groups.
Kaepernick’s foundation has been hailed for donating nearly $1 million to various nonprofits. But these groups advance an extreme and socially destructive left-wing agenda.
For instance, his foundation reportedly contributed $25,000 to Assata’s Daughters, a resistance group named after Assata Shakur, a cop killer and Black Panther who fled to Cuba after escaping prison for first-degree murder. How does honoring an FBI-designated terrorist help black kids stay out of trouble with the police? In a community that lacks engaged dads, having more mainstream positive role models and mentors takes on added importance.
He reportedly gave another $25,000 to the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights, a group that advocates for illegal immigrants. How does that help black teenagers find jobs?
He also reportedly contributed to 350.org, a group seeking to impose limits on oil and natural gas, and to the pro-abortion Center for Reproductive Rights. How do those groups help black teenagers with finding jobs, or help black families to find affordable energy?
I understand Kaepernick’s desire to want to help kids in poor neighborhoods. I grew up in such a neighborhood in Milwaukee. Funding “social activism,” however, won’t help struggling students succeed in the classroom, where the achievement gap between them and their white counterparts continues to widen, nor will it help them to find and keep good-paying jobs.
Too many black kids are functionally illiterate because their parents were functionally illiterate. Inner-city K-12 public schools aren’t teaching kids how to be good students, so they aren’t learning to love books. They’re not learning to read, so they’re not embracing education. Then government keeps them shackled to these failing schools by mandating that these kids go to the same failing schools, generation after generation.
These kids aren’t getting prepared by parents or teachers for life in the real world. They can’t keep up in the classroom, so they drop out — 1.2 million high schoolers each year. They grow up in places with no hope or job opportunities, so they end up chronically unemployed. Then they don’t have the education to compete for the jobs of the 21st century, jobs that would help them move up the ladder. No wonder they can’t break out of this cycle of generational poverty.
Taxpayers have spent billions on these school districts with little to show for it. The Milwaukee Public School District, my hometown reports that only 18 percent of black students are proficient at reading. Their graduation rate bumped along at not much above 50 percent. These figures are staggering. If they were a letter-grade in school, it would be an “F.”
The problem isn’t a lack of social activist indoctrination. It’s a lack of education. Illegal immigration groups aren’t going to solve America’s poverty problem any more than Black Panther terrorists will improve race relations. Instead, poor communities need help from innovative education ideas like voucher programs and charter schools. The safest space we hear so much about that we can provide these kids is inside a classroom and off the streets.
Kaepernick isn’t helping his community. He is financing the continuation of cultural dysfunction that leads to the cultural rot permeating urban centers, such as men who father multiple children outside of marriage. His misguided effort at change ultimately does more to promote questionable lifestyle choices by young black and Hispanic males.
If Kaepernick wants to help black and Hispanic kids in poor neighborhoods, he should help groups that find ways to keep kids in school, close the education gap, strengthen black families and prepare our children for well-paid jobs in fast-growing industries like health care, micro-electronics, and bio-tech.
After that, they can learn to become rabble-rousers.
David Clarke is a spokesman for America First Action, a PAC dedicated to supporting President Trump. He served as the sheriff of Milwaukee County from 2002-17