A conversation with Colin Kaepernick on Black studies, white supremacy, and capitalism.

by Indigo Olivier, The New Republic

While the teaching of Black history has long been a topic of controversy in the United States, over the past few years conservative forces have coalesced to remove books in public schools and libraries from Black and LGBTQ authors at an alarming rate. This assault has come into sharp focus in Florida, where Governor Ron DeSantis’s 2022 Stop WOKE Act has banned the teaching of “critical race theory” in public schools and the state’s recent rejection of the new A.P. African American Studies course prompted the College Board to strip the curriculum of controversial material.

Conservatives present critical race theory as an oppressive ideology intended to make white students feel guilty about slavery and racism while liberal coverage has often framed these attacks as a “culture war” being led by high-profile figures and reactionary parents. Often lost in the coverage of GOP attacks are the ideas and voices behind the educational materials being banned.

Raleigh,NC/USA 05/2020 Black Lives Matter March protester in a Colin Kaepernick football jersey

A new anthology, Our History Has Always Been Contraband: In Defense of Black Studies, co-edited by Colin Kaepernick, Robin D.G. Kelley, and Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, makes the case that Black Studies is a crucial tool in fighting back against a white supremacist political agenda. The anthology presents an interdisciplinary body of work that touches on feminist theory, queer studies, abolition, reparations, education, history, and more. The book includes essays from Kaepernick, Taylor, and Kelley, as well as W.E.B. Du Bois, James Baldwin, Angela Davis, Octavia Butler, bell hooks, Barbara Smith, Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw, Huey Newton, and Bobby Seale.

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