Harry Belafonte

Muting the Slaves: Belafonte on Kaepernick


THE WORLD (Naked Departure) — STANDING FOR SOMETHING!  “When a Black voice is raised in protest to oppression, those who are comfortable with our oppression are the first to criticize us for daring to speak out against it.”

Roland Martin sat down with legendary actor and civil rights activist Harry Belafonte on Wednesday for an exclusive interview. During their discussion, Martin and Belafonte covered a variety of topics, including Colin Kaepernick’s decision to sit during the National Anthem at football games.

arrives at the ESPN's BODY at ESPY's Pre-Party at Lure on July 15, 2014 in Hollywood, California.
ESPN’s BODY at ESPY’s Pre-Party at Lure on July 15, 2014 in Hollywood, California.

Belafonte, who is no stranger to taking a stand on an unpopular issue, shared with Martin his profound thoughts on Kaepernick’s symbolic gesture to stand with the oppressed and address the backlash the NFL quarterback is experiencing.

Martin asked Belafonte about his thoughts on the reports detailing anger coming from NFL front office officials about Kaepernick’s protests, in which an undisclosed number of individuals said they would not sign the embattled quarterback if he was released from the San Francisco 49ers.

Mr. Belafonte told Martin, “To mute the slave is always been to the best interests of the slave owner.

“When a Black voice is raised in protest to oppression, those who are comfortable with our oppression are the first to criticize us for daring to speak out against it.”

Belafonte, who played a prominent role in the Civil Rights Movement, called Kaepernick’s decision to stand against the oppression of African-Americans a “noble thing.”

He continued, “I think that speaking out and making people aware of the fact that you are paying homage to an anthem that also has a constituency that by the millions suffer is a righteous thing to do.”

The civil rights icon added, “The fact that these people are having these ‘How dare you speak out against lynching?’ and all of the things that racism stands for or the conclusions to racist acts permit – I think is a statement about America.”

For having brought this attention to the plight of African-Americans who suffer at the hands of heavy-handed policing, which in many instances end in the deaths of Black men and women, Mr. Belafonte called Kaepernick “a noble and courageous man.”  (Source: NewsOne)

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3 thoughts on “Muting the Slaves: Belafonte on Kaepernick”

  1. “When a Black voice is raised in protest to oppression, those who are comfortable with our oppression are the first to criticize us for daring to speak out against it.”

    Over 200 years of history in a single sentence

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  2. Colin Kaepernick has done what he believes is relevant in his form of protest, when he has everything to lose. He is a hell of an athlete and he not only took a stand, but he backed it up with his money. All of this is happening at a time when people suggest that young people are some how jaded and cynical. How can anyone that is black, or brown or with any trace of melanin content in their bodies, stand for something, anything, that does not stand for them, their people or their cause? Maybe we have been taught wrong all of our lives, to look at “Black” as an adjective, instead of “Black” being a noun. Perhaps if Europeans saw “Blacks” as nouns and not merely as adjectives, our treatment would have been better over the years.

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