Alissa Perry, a math teacher at Florida’s Port Charlotte High School, gets a little choked up as she thanks everyone for their work in creating a display of a kneeling Colin Kaepernick in honor of Black History Month. Kaepernick was effectively blackballed by the NFL after her began kneeling during the national anthem to protest police brutality and systemic racism.
once again, racism being justified . one of the teachers at our school put up a Colin Kaepernick door peice FOR black history month, and the school claimed it was “offensive” and she was forced to take it down. pic.twitter.com/nX7XhpV0wE
— Jaidyn Etheart (@jaidyn_e) February 27, 2019
“Thank you all for participating in this,” Perry says in the video, her voice wavering. “I’m going to go ahead and remove this.” She then pulls down Kaepernick’s cardboard face.
Michael Riley, a spokesman for the school district told People magazine that the display had become a “disruption” and that Kaepernick “has become a very controversial, decisive personality.”
Riley also mentioned President Trump in a statement defending the action. “If you recall, our President stated that he disrespected our nation and our flag, asking citizens to boycott the NFL and Nike,” he said.
Of course, black athletes who used their platforms to denounce racism during the Civil Rights movement were also treated as “controversial.” When Olympians Tommie Smith and John Carlos gave the black power salute during the national anthem at the 1968 Olympics, they were booed and expelled from the games.
When Muhammad Ali refused to be drafted in the Vietnam War, he was arrested, charged, and convicted (only to have that conviction overturned by the Supreme Court). Defending his decision, Ali said,
“Why should they ask me to put on a uniform and go ten thousand miles from home and drop bombs and bullets on brown people in Vietnam while so-called Negro people in Louisville are treated like dogs and denied simple human rights?”
A Black History Month display featuring any of these three athletes would probably be regarded as uncontroversial today. It’s sad to see an institution charged with teaching kids history so oblivious to lessons of the past.