Former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick has joined forces with prominent scholars to work on a groundbreaking book project that defends race-centered curriculum in American schools while criticizing capitalism. In an interview with The New Republic, Kaepernick expressed his support for collaborating with Marxist academics Robin D.G. Kelley and Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor to edit the anthology titled “Our History Has Always Been Contraband: In Defense of Black Studies.” The book emerged from a controversy surrounding AP African American Studies courses, which incorporated elements of Critical Race Theory (CRT) and radical gender theories until the curriculum was revised due to objections from Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.
Kaepernick highlighted his admiration for Kelley and Taylor’s work, emphasizing their unwavering political analysis and recognition that true Black liberation cannot be achieved within a capitalist system. As a millionaire quarterback-turned-racial activist, Kaepernick believes that the anthology effectively argues this point and hopes it challenges readers to acknowledge that racism alone is not the sole driver of white supremacy. He contends that white supremacy is sustained, in part, by its association with capitalism, heteropatriarchy, ableism, and other systems of oppression.
According to Kaepernick, Republican politicians like Ron DeSantis view attacks on “black studies” as essential to their “white supremacist political project,” aimed at obstructing the teaching of CRT-based curricula in schools. Kaepernick asserts that Black Studies and critical engagement with U.S. history pose a threat to the white supremacist status quo.
In addition to their editing roles, Kaepernick, Kelley, and Taylor have contributed their own essays to the anthology. The book also features writings by influential figures such as W.E.B. Du Bois and Angela Davis, both of whom criticize capitalism. Available on Amazon, the thought-provoking book can be purchased in hardcover for $52 or in paperback for $19.95.
Kaepernick’s NFL career came to an end in 2016, coinciding with his decision to protest against police brutality by kneeling during the National Anthem. During that season, the 49ers, with Kaepernick as their quarterback, struggled with 10 losses and only one win before he was eventually benched and released from the team. Currently, Kaepernick runs a non-profit organization focusing on empowering black and brown youth and resides in a $5.4 million mansion in Las Vegas. He attributes his evolving political perspective to studying the works of Black radical thinkers and engaging in conversations with Black radical organizers.