‘Colin in Black & White’ shows that racism in sport runs deep

NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick has not had a job in the league for five years, a situation his detractors have attributed to bad play and many others to a bad decision: Chance or not, Kaepernick’s last season in the league. NFL (to date) came after he began to kneel during the performance of the national anthem before the game, in order to protest against police brutality and racial injustice.

However, that does not mean that the controversial athlete has not worked. This time, it’s in the story behind the story.

With Kaepernick as co-creator, executive producer and on-screen narrator, the Netflix limited series “Colin in Black & White,” which opens this Friday, looks back at the young life of the former 49, today hailed as a civil rights hero by the left. and lashed out as anti-American by Fox News.

The six-episode series chronicles young Colin’s school years in Turlock, California, during which his destiny was marked by both his identity – a black boy adopted by two white parents – and the creeping reality that, no matter how talented However he tried or tried, he would always be judged by a different set of standards than his white peers. His story is told through a combination of scripted dramatization, documentary-style explanatory sequences, a dash of animation, and plenty of first-person confessions from the real 33-year-old Kaepernick.

Two 49ers players in red jerseys kneel before the beginning of a football game.

Colin Kaepernick (7) and Eric Reid (35) kneel during the national anthem before a 2016 game.

(Mike McCarn / Associated Press)

Although the subject is thorny, “Colin in Black & White,” partially directed by co-creator Ava DuVernay (“Selma,” “When they see us”) and written by Michael Starrbury, addresses the depressing truth of discrimination in and out of the world. of sport. And he does so with a clever balance of humor and strategically deployed data – in a league that’s 70% black, only just under a third of quarterbacks are black – and an emotional authenticity that brings out who Kaepernick is today. , and why he was willing to risk his career in the name of justice.

Dialogue and banter between family members can be predictable at times, but that homely dynamic settles “Colin in Black & White” in a familiar setting – the family situation comedy – while interspersing the plot with quick documentary lessons. on Allen Iverson’s crucifixion in the late 90’s for being “too naughty,” the influence of hip-hop fashion on sports, and the economics of racism. (For example, we learned that, in 2015, 27.4% of black applicants were denied a mortgage, more than double the number of whites.) The intrusion of the real world is a powerful way to show Kaepernick’s own growing awareness of what awaited him in adulthood, outside his family home in the suburbs.

As portrayed here, Kaepernick’s parents, played by Nick Offerman and Mary-Louise Parker, are two caring and caring people who were totally unprepared for the prejudices their son would face once he entered the room. college, or to cope with the difficulties of raising a black child, which is most cunningly represented through the lens of Colin.

Young Kaepernick (Jaden Michael) is clearly a gifted athlete. Everybody sees him, even the football coach, and yet he is not given the quarterback job in favor of a less competent white player. Why? He is not prepared. Perhaps you are not qualified to lead. Or you need to be more of a team player. There is never a good explanation.

When the adolescent complains to his parents at the table, they do their best to offer advice, but everything points to a rough road ahead.

“You’re going to have to prove him wrong,” says his father.

“Why am I always the one who has to prove them wrong?” Asks the annoyed teenager.

His mother responds with these poignant – and foreboding – words: “Because you are the one who has the strength to do it.”

‘Colin in Black & White’

Where: Netflix

When: Anytime, from Friday

To read this story in Spanish, click here

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‘Colin in Black & White’ shows that racism in sport runs deep