Over the past year-and-a-half, few people in the United States have been subjected to as much racism as Colin Kaepernick. But even before he decided to take a knee during the national anthem to protest racial injustice and police brutality, he had experienced racism. Even as a child.
Kaepernick was adopted by white parents when he was young. That, as he has detailed, led to some awkward or difficult situations. “When kids would ask me, ‘Who’s your real mother?’, I knew exactly what they meant,” he said at an event for a VH1 show titled “Dear Mama: A Love Letter to Moms.” “And I must admit, there were times when I’d be at a loss for words.”
He has, in the past, told stories about family vacations, when, in motel lobbies, with young Colin standing right next to his white family, managers would approach him and ask, “Excuse me. Is there something I can help you with?”
Kaepernick recently told a new story for that VH1 show. During his youth baseball games, parents wouldn’t realize when they were sitting near his mother, Teresa. So, seemingly, they wouldn’t be dissuaded from making racist comments. And Kaepernick says his mother would snap back:
“When adults were unaware of who my mother was at little league baseball games, it was her that gave a tongue-lashing to the parents in the stands speaking ill about the black child striking out all of their sons.”
Teresa also appears on the show, and praised Colin for his activism. “When you see injustice in this world, you are not the kind of man who sits back and hopes that someone else will deal with it,” she said. “Even though it may mean sacrificing your dreams.”