Colin Kaepernick’s first memoir is an important work for anyone who grew up in the shadow of privilege

Who? Don’t worry: No, he’s not behind bars, and he’s not fighting a war. Colin Kaepernick, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback who became a lightning rod when he knelt during the national anthem…

Colin Kaepernick’s first memoir is an important work for anyone who grew up in the shadow of privilege

Who? Don’t worry: No, he’s not behind bars, and he’s not fighting a war.

Colin Kaepernick, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback who became a lightning rod when he knelt during the national anthem last season in protest of racial injustice, is back in the news with a book that chronicles the first decade of his life.

Published Friday by The New Press, “Colin in Black & White” reads like a diary that takes us deep inside Kaepernick’s life from his first days attending Pop Warner football games to the third grade when he finds out he’s to be a quarterback.

It is also a book with several layers of meaning, especially in light of the current controversy over whether he should be allowed to sign with a team in the National Football League, his last year of contract.

The sentiments he would later express in his infamous #TakeAKnee protests of “mean something to me then, and to me still,” are quite familiar. His powerful and profound words on accountability and the burden of wealth feel more so now than ever. But on a personal level, Colin has a tale to tell, and you’ll never see his pain about growing up as the grandson of Chinese immigrants in the Bay Area, especially because he hid it so well.

“What you didn’t know was that it was as agonizing for me to endure my tortured secrets as it was for my father to endure his,” Colin writes in the first chapter.

It takes us across the globe to move from Los Angeles to Marin County to the emerging city of Oakland, where Colin’s great-uncle lives in a rented room.

Over the course of the pages, Kaepernick’s compelling story is told and re-told — particularly after the racial terror bombing of a nightclub in Oakland at which Colin and his brother Dana were celebrating their birthdays. It was their father, Leonard, then 40, who knew police would eventually come for them.

Did you know that his mother didn’t even know about her sons’ last name at the time? It was announced only to Leonard in his hotel room. And as his children were taken from him that night, no one from the third floor of his apartment even looked.

“Colin in Black & White” is a beautiful thing. It is relatable, well-written and the message resonates with anyone that knows what it feels like to be in a compelling situation where every move is scrutinized.

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