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Seahawks' Michael Bennett: 'I'll be black forever'

Courtesy of Haymarket Books
Former Seahawk and author Michael Bennett

Michael Bennett is a man who needs little introduction. He is famous as a professional football player, a philanthropist and an activist. Now, add author to the list. Bennett’s first book, written with journalist Dave Zirin, is ‘Things That Make White People Uncomfortable.’

Bennett writes that chief among those uncomfortable things is a necessary conversation about systemic racism. He urges white people to take action: “Do something to make it better. Help us heal by standing—or sitting—alongside us.” 

He adds:

“I’ll be a football player for just a few more years but I’ll be black forever. When I’m driving with my family down the street in a nice car in a nice neighborhood and the police see us, they don’t see Michael Bennett the college graduate, the husband or the loving father. … They immediately see a black man who could possibly be dangerous.”

Though he was traded away from the Seahawks, Bennett still considers Seattle a home and the location of many significant moments in his life. He came back to talk with his friend Jesse Hagopian, a Garfield High School teacher and the author of “Teaching For Black Lives.”

Bennett and Hagopian spoke at Seattle’s First Baptist Church on June 19 — Juneteenth, the American holiday that commemorates the announcement of the abolition of slavery and celebrates African American freedom, education and achievement. The event was presented by Town Hall Seattle.

Please note: This recording contains unedited language of an adult nature.

Listen to the full version below: 

Year started with KUOW: 2006