“Surprised? But why?
By Pastor Rasheed Z. Baaith
Part of the misguided thinking of Black celebrities is their belief that somehow because of what they have done or because of how well they are known, they transcend race. That somehow they have become race neutral in the eyes of the world. This is particularly true of Black athletes. When they are hit with the reality that they are thought of in the same way as the average brother, they are hurt and disappointed.
What they do not realize is they are million dollar slaves. But the second part of that tragedy is most of them are willing slaves. When LA Clippers owner said the racist, vitriolic things he did, every black person on his team, on his corporate staff or connected to him as an employee in any way should have resigned. Wearing your jersey inside out and throwing on the floor just doesn’t seem to do it. “Playing above it” is just another way to avoid a fight that needs to be fought with the weapon of confrontation.
And while there is this loud clamor from Magic Johnson and others, the fact of the matter is that the deep and pervasive racism of Donald Sterling has long been known. Even defended by black players. NBA player Baron Davis says of Sterling, “He’s honest, the way it is.” It sure is the way he is and no doubt that same attitude of true of other owner who are too smart to say out loud what was said.
The NBA is a multimillion dollar industry whose primary athletes are African American males who for the most part come from the economically deprived neighborhoods in America. They bring with them the socialization imprints from where they grew up. Tattooed, assured to the point of arrogance in their athletic abilities, exaggerated in their life style and refusing to be the servile employees the owners want them to be, are you really surprised at the contempt Sterling showed toward Black players, including Magic Johnson?
I think Magic was really surprised to find out that he was considered just another nigger by Sterling. Like a number of us, I think Magic has bought into this false reality that America is post racial. Recent news tells us different.
The Supreme Court’s recent decision on affirmative action and higher education (Schuette vs Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action) allows citizens in individual states to prohibit racial preference for college admissions cannot help but negatively impact the future of our children. We are now living in a world where to be successful means having the tool the best education one can acquire in your quiver is a must. This decision is an at-tempt to keep that essential from our children.
Racists are so comfortable in the America of today that an obvious small mind like Cliven Bundy believes it’s alright to advocate for the return of slavery and the forced picking of cotton. Why is he so comfortable with spewing verbal racist diarrhea?
Because of Trayvon Martin and Jordan Davis, because a Black President was called a liar publically by an elected official, because what was thought to be the exception has become the norm.
And because this present generation of Africa Americans are more concerned about the “me” that the “we.” Black professional athletes in particular. They need as many wake up moments like this one as they can get.
NBA Television Analyst and former Coach Jeff Van Gundy said every Black player and coach on the LA Clippers should be given free agency by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. Van Gundy is right but we might be very disappointed by just how many Black players and coaches would take the option to leave. They keep talking about this being a “distraction.”
The words of Sterling, Bundy and those like them and there are many, are not distractions, they are a sickness.