Yahoo News White House correspondent Hunter Walker has accused House Republicans of darkening former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s skin in a photo sent out in a fundraising email.
In a report publish Thursday, Walker claimed that Kaepernick “did not look like himself” in the image and that it “appeared noticeably altered to make his skin darker.” According to Walker, darkening a black person’s skin is “an attack ad tactic that has been used before and is considered by many as racist.”
He also faulted the National Republican Congressional Committee, which is dedicated to electing House Republicans, for previously using “Trump-style mocking nicknames in political attacks on Democrats.”
Walker’s report was subsequently picked up by a number of left-wing news outlets, some of which outright declared that the NRCC had engaged in “race baiting.”
Yahoo News helpfully published the original photo of Kaepernick alongside the one used in the National Republican Congressional Committee’s mailer, which was sent out Wednesday. Walker also tweeted out the split-screen of the before and after images.
— Hunter Walker (@hunterw) July 11, 2019
The NRCC photo was clearly edited. For one thing, the insignia on Kaepernick’s jersey were removed, presumably for copyright reasons.
However, it was misleading to declare that Kaepernick’s skin was darkened. In fact, the color scale of the entire photo appeared to have been altered, toning down everything from Kaepernick’s skin to his jersey to the white men standing behind him.
NRCC communications director Chris Pack informed Walker simply: “The photo was not darkened.”
In response, Yahoo changed the headline of the article to say that Kapernick’s skin “appeared” to have been darkened, instead of that it “was.”
Who cares if Kaepernick’s skin was “darkened”?
Walker further reported that the NRCC emailed the “darkened” photo to supporters alongside one of Trump. The message asked: Who do you stand with? Donald Trump and the Besty Ross flag or an anti-American flag Colin Kaepernick?”
In exchange for a $25 donation to the committee, the NRCC offered a mug emblazoned with the 1770s-era flag.
The fundraising campaign presumably sought to tap into conservative anger over Kaepernick’s racial activism against the American flag.
In 2016, during his final season in the NFL as a backup quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, Kaepernick began kneeling during the national anthem at games. He said he was protesting unjustified police shootings of black men and other racial injustice.
Last week, Kaepernick helped convince Nike to nix the planned rollout of a Fourth of July-themed sneaker that featured the Betsy Ross flag, according to the Wall Street Journal. Kaepernick reportedly complained to the company, for which he is an endorser, that the flag is offensive because of its supposed connection to slavery.
As reflected in the culture war that broke out in the replies to Walker’s tweet, the controversies have made Kaepernick a hero on the social justice left, which sees him as a martyr at the hands of American’s systemic racism. Meanwhile, among conservatives, Kaepernick is widely reviled as representative of a racially obsessed liberal culture that excludes, and perhaps intentionally targets, them.
In related news, many on the right have watched with schadenfreude as New York’s Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has in recent days accused House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of being mean to her and other newly elected progressive Democrats because they are “women of color.”
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- A photo of Colin Kaepernick sent out by the National Republican Congressional Committee, right, and the original, left.: Twitter