Colin Kaepernick Talks About The Challenges Of Trans-Racial Adoption And Difficulty Of Calling Out His White Parents For Problematic Behavior

Ex-San Francisco 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick co-wrote a graphic novel, “Change the Game,” with Eve L. Ewing detailing his life as a transracial adoptee to white parents and the difficulties he faced. In a video conversation with Ewing he talks about how hard it is to have conversations with his parents about problematic behavior.

“I will say, I’ve had lot of responses from other trans-racial adoptees on that front,” Kaepernick said.

“Just like having similar experiences and having similar family dynamics that they’re trying to navigate. And I think it’s because it is so unique.

“It is very difficult for people to have a nuanced conversation around it — [and] be, like, yeah, the people that love you and that you love can also perpetuate very problematic elements, and those things can exist at the same time.

“And part of it is, like, how do you grapple with that? How do you navigate that? And especially at a young age? And it’s, like, are you equipped to navigate that and are your parents equipped to navigate that?”

The Struggle With Transracial Adoption

This isn’t the first time Kaepernick has talked about the struggle of growing up with his white adoptive parents, Teresa and Rick Kaepernick.

Last month in an interview with CBS Kaepernick said his parents “perpetuated racism.”

“I know my parents loved me. But there were still very problematic things that I went through,” Kaepernick said during the interview in early March.

“I think it was important to show that, ‘No, this can happen in your own home, and how we move forward collectively while addressing the racism that is being perpetuated.”

Trans-racial adoption is not easy. When children of color are adopted by white parents there is often a sense of colorblindness from the white parents. Something they think is a good thing, but it denies the child of color an essential part of their identity.

Rebecca Carroll author of “Surviving the White Gaze” has spoken and written extensively about the subject.

“Because the message they’re [sending] is ‘the only way I will love you or find you valuable is if I strip you of something that is so integral to your identity.’ But then it’s also saying ‘we’re not thinking about the way in which the world is perceiving you and the way that this country has been killing people who look like you,'” Carroll said in a 2021 interview with WBUR.

Kaepernick Remains Busy

Kaepernick continues to be an activist through his foundation and an author through his publishing imprint.

He still maintains that he wants to play in the NFL. Last April he threw for NFL scouts and team personnel at the University of Michigan spring game. He was invited by Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh who coached him with the 49ers.

“Change the Game” is the second book the former QB has released.

In 2022, he wrote a book for younger children, “I Color Myself Different,” inspired by a transformative moment he had when he was 5 years old and asked to draw a family picture.

Back to top