The past ten days haven’t surprised Steve Zakuani.
Not the killing of George Floyd. Not the fractured media response. Not the brands and major corporations rushing to issue statements.
Born in the Democratic Republic of Congo before moving to London with his family as a child, Zakuani spoke with The Athletic about his experiences with racism, and what it’s like to be black in America.
“If we had this conversation five years ago, I would have told you that I’ve experienced racism only twice in my life,” Zakuani told Matt Pentz of The Athletic. “Now that I know better, I would say that I experience it every day. Back then I was looking for the outward, overt instances of racial prejudice.”
A standout with the Sounders on the pitch and a brilliant tactical mind as a broadcaster, Zakuani detailed the research and immersion in different communities he’s done to become more educated on systemic inequality. Drawing upon the knowledge he has acquired, he offers up excellent advice for anyone seeking to become an impactful ally.
Additionally, Zakuani revealed several examples of racist microaggressions he faces on a regular basis, and how black people have to carefully navigate seemingly routine interactions.
“To be a black person is almost to make sure everyone else is OK by making sure they don’t see you as a threat,” said Zakuani. “Making yourself smaller than you actually are, sometimes metaphorically, and sometimes quite literally. These experiences are universal around the world for black people.”
You can read the full story in The AthleticHERE.