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Colin Kaepernick debate sparks racial tension between Wisconsin's GOP and black caucus


The issue was related to Black History Month

Paul Marotta/Getty Images

The Wisconsin black caucus wanted to honor a group of black leaders for Black History Month, but the resolution got hung up on a debate about whether former NFL quarterback and current social justice activist Colin Kaepernick should be included, according to Time. Kaepernick was born in Wisconsin.

The black caucus proposed the resolution, but the Republican members of the Legislature opposed his inclusion, calling him too controversial to be on the list. Kaepernick is most famous for initiating the kneeling protests during the national anthem before NFL games to draw attention to police brutality against minorities.

So, Republicans drafted their own resolution honoring black leaders, with this list excluding Kaepernick. It is worth noting, due to the context of the debate, that there are no black members of the Wisconsin GOP.

Wisconsin Democrats stonewalled the Republicans' effort to get their non-Kaepernick resolution to the floor, at which point the Republicans moved on to other business.

Outraged, the chairman of the Wisconsin black caucus, state Rep. David Crowley, walked out and accused Republicans of white privilege for not allowing black people to choose who they wanted to honor for Black History Month.

Later, the Republicans tried to approach it differently. This time, they brought the black caucus resolution to the floor, but amended it to remove Kaepernick, forcing Democrats to decide whether to vote against their own (amended) resolution, or accept defeat a different way by voting for it without Kaepernick.

In the end, that amended resolution passed unanimously, leaving Kaepernick off the list of honorees. The state Senate (in which there are no black members) will now have to decide on the resolution, which shouldn't be controversial without Kaepernick.

Crowley admitted he was still bitter about the dispute, but supported the resolution.

"It's sad," Crowley said. "What you may despise, we may lift up."

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