Late Show host Stephen Colbert on Thursday night pointed out that Black Lives Matter activists just can’t win over some people.
On one hand, you have the first two nights of protests in Charlotte, North Carolina, in reaction to the police shooting of Keith Lamont Scott. Some — but not all — of the protesters turned violent, leading critics on social media to characterize all the protesters as people senselessly destroying their own communities.
“I sure wish there was some sort of respectful, silent civil protest that people could engage in that wouldn’t enrage the other side,” Colbert said. Then an image of San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick flashed on the screen.
“Yeah, no, that’s not gonna work either,” Colbert quipped.
By taking a knee during the national anthem during football games, Kaepernick has drawn tremendous criticism and anger online — becoming the most hated football player in the league, according to a poll by E-Poll Marketing Research. Many people, such as conservative pundit Tomi Lahren, have characterized Kaepernick as unpatriotic, telling him to “leave” if America “disgusts you so much.”
This puts Black Lives Matter protesters in a bind: If some people in their protests get violent, they’re all criticized as violent. If they take up more peaceful protests, they’re still criticized for hating America or for, as Donald Trump’s running mate, Mike Pence, put it, “far too much talk about institutional bias and racism within law enforcement.”
But as Colbert said, chances are these protests will keep happening as long as America doesn’t take their cause seriously: “The shooting of African Americans by police officers and the resulting community outrage seems to keep happening over and over again no matter how many times we do nothing.”