“Colin in Black & White” Reveals the Crazy Faith Needed to Live on Purpose
What if you, and only you, fully understood your God-given purpose in life? What if you understand your assignment and you’ve got the answers, but everyone around you, including those you love, wants to switch your test paper?
What does it take to stay the course? Yep, faith. Crazy faith. The kind of faith that makes you look stupid and keeps everyone scratching their heads as you stubbornly press toward the mark – as Colin Kaepernick did.
In Netflix’s COLIN IN BLACK & WHITE, we catch a glimpse of Colin Kaepernick’s coming of age story as a biracial boy adopted by white parents in pursuit of his dream to be a quarterback, all while tackling the harsh realities of racism and discrimination.
Don’t Allow a Bad Beginning and a Tough Middle to Dictate Your Ending
As the series begins, we observe Kaepernick’s beginning as an adopted baby. Many will see his life beginning with rejection by his biological parents. Why didn’t Colin make his biological family’s team? Even during the adoption process, Kaepernick was not a “first-round” pick, but an alternative choice at best.
As the series shifts to focus on the promising athlete’s high school years, a young Colin, starring Jaden Michael, begins his daunting journey to quarterback land filled with every obstacle imaginable.
Growing up in conservative Turlock, CA, raised by loving, well-meaning, yet culturally inept white parents (Mary-Louise Parker as Teresa and Nick Offerman as Rick Kaepernick), young Kaepernick finds himself in a constant battle to prove his worth and that he belongs where his passion leads him – to realize his dream to be a quarterback.
As Colin Kaepernick both narrates and observes his own journey on walls of screens around him, we watch with him as young Kaepernick is forced to “wait his turn” as less-talented athletes who fit the perceived prototype of quarterback (white) ascend to the position. We watch the constant barrage of rejection, snide comments, discrimination as young Kaepernick is treated differently from his white teammates. We witness Kaepernick’s greatness as a baseball player and his experienced, trusted advisors pushing him to give up his quarterback dream and pursue what he’s “really” good at.
As the 6-part series progresses, Kaepernick’s rejections build. Hundreds of decline letters hit his mailbox. “Not yet” becomes his go-to mantra in response to the naysayers. It begins to bog the mind how such a young man maintains his pursuit and stands firm on what he believes with so many contrary voices around him.
The Realities of Racism
In COLIN IN BLACK & WHITE, we also see the awkwardness of yearning to embrace your culture while guided by parents who have never been exposed to it, and facing a societal system that hates it.
Viewers of faith will come to understand the differences in black and white culture and, while earthly culture doesn’t supersede Kingdom culture, how the gift of our God-given race is important to how we move and demonstrate our humanity in this world.
Team Jesus Question: How does God expect you to “do life” and interact with others in the “skin” and culture you’re in?
Kaepernick’s longing to embrace his black culture – from hairstyles to food – was a natural part of him. Hopefully, the series will make it easier to empathize with black people, who are simply and naturally born in the skin, hair, culture chosen by God, as they navigate through centuries of systemic racism, discrimination, and micro-aggressions.
The parallels of slavery and the NFL in the series may jar many, but are the comparisons off by much?
Be the Prototype of Faith, Don’t Give Up at “Not Yet”
What does a faith-filled person look like to you? While we have examples in Hebrews Chapter 11 of Abraham, Moses, even Rahab the harlot, what can be learned from COLIN IN BLACK & WHITE? What plays would Colin Kaepernick call as the quarterback in this game called life, where faith and belief are must-haves to cross the goal line of purpose? Here are a few takeaways:
1. What you start out as is not necessarily what you become.
Your life may start filled with rejection – but you were chosen by God for the assignment on your life. You may start from a losing position, but you can still end up a winner.
2. Don’t shut up and listen, listen.
You are more than a receptacle for others to dump their negative words. Know who (and whose) you are and speak up for yourself. Hear what others say, but discern what they mean.
3. Life is too short to live someone else’s dream.
Will you spend your time doing what everyone thinks is best for you, or will you go after God’s purpose for your life with all you’ve got? Life is too short to live their version of life for you and God’s version.
Bring your frustrations and fatigue with every “Not yet” in your life, and find inspiration as you watch COLIN IN BLACK & WHITE available Friday, October 29 only on Netflix.