If you haven’t been living under a rock for these last few days you would have heard of the new scandal in the NBA involving Donald Sterling and his racist remarks regarding African-Americans in the league. I’m not here to talk about his remarks, that subject has already been beat to a pulp, and I applaud the NBA for their swift and just actions taken against Donald Sterling. No, this article is not about him, this article is in response to another article that I read and it was repeatedly brought to my attention and here’s why. Before the league announced a decision and while every other person cried for a stand for players to stop playing, I had stated, via my Facebook account, that the NBA Players and coaches should wait to see what the NBA head offices were going to do. And before the due process could be handed out, a blog came out stating how much of a coward black people are. It went on to reference the displeasure of the silent stance taken by the Los Angeles Clippers (the team that Donald Sterling owns) and even went as far as to say “It’s almost as if people have forgotten that struggle includes struggling. You might have to lose your job. You might have to lose your life. That’s what it takes for change to happen. There’s no easy way to do this”. What baffled me further is some of the support it gained from this, so here’s why I wholeheartedly disagree.
1. We cannot begin to ask anyone anything, that we have not yet asked of ourselves, that is hypocrisy in every sense of the word. There are generally two people when it comes to action: “those who say YOU go do this and I’ll watch and see what happens” and “those who say IM going to do this and YOU watch what happens”. This person called out and ridiculed Blacks because the NBA players decided to play the game they grew up and played their entire lives but yet did nothing but write a blog stating his displeasure with blacks, as if the blacks were the very people who said the discriminatory things, making blacks the vigilantes and not the victims. Furthermore, racism does not just extend in the NBA, racism has happened in many facets of life in America and not just sports. My question is when you heard and saw much of the racism that made airways and other forms of media, what did you do besides a blog? What did you do when Trayvon Martin was killed, or Jordan Davis? What about the violence in black neighborhoods everyday due to the result of intraracial tension? I know I am sitting here doing the same thing but my stance was pretty much clear, lets see what the NBA will do first, not be radical first, and not to proceed to call our people “cowards”. We have forgotten the idea and phrase “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me” and “he who angers you controls you”. It seems that many people who felt this way reacted out of anger and not sensibility. Which leads me to my next point:
2. Our ancestors and great leaders of the past reacted radically only after their pleas for justice went unheard. They followed the due process and when the due process proved not to be justice, only then were extreme measure taken. Boycotts weren’t the lay of the land until after failures of attempted desegregation went unnoticed. Even Malcolm X (who was dubbed the name “the angriest black man”) stated “I am for violence if non-violence means we continue postponing a solution to the american black man’s problem just to avoid violence”. Many people took the idea that the NBA and the players had ignored the comments of Mr. Sterling, and that drastic measures needed to be taken. But here’s the truth, the NBA players and coached were disturbed and angered by the comments, but better than let someone take their focus off their game and ruin the amount of work they put in for the last 8 months wouldn’t have been a victory for anyone involved, nonetheless the players. The primary difference yesterday was we were ignored, today we are heard. We are considered, and it’s because of past fights, America refuses to repeat history.
3. Sitting out before the due process could take its course wouldn’t have done nothing but hurt the black image ultimately. We live in America, on Earth, where people are free to think as they are please and in so there are some who share Donald Sterling’s thoughts and some who thoughts are worse. We also have individuals on the fence about blacks. Point being what we showed was that we will not be discouraged, we will not tolerate it, but we are bigger than words. We live in a day and time where discrimination is not ignored and When people see us standing up to the discrimination, voicing our displeasure, but not being defeated by it, it speaks a stronger message than if we the players have sat out. The reason that stance would have hurt the black image is because people would have seen the NBA players as mentally weak, incapable of playing through adversity, and easily triggered by discrimination. If I know an elephant is scared of a mouse and anytime I want to defeat the elephant I’m always going to have a mouse and that ultimately would’ve happened if they were to allow this to defeat them and take them out of their jobs and games. Lets understand that our ancestors fought because they were ignored not because they just wanted to fight.
4. To say that we are cowards because we are not ready to lose our jobs or ready to die is one of most troubling things about the article. It says we should be ready to lose our life for every discrimination of any form. If we take that stance there will be no blacks left in this country. Have we not died enough in the 400 years of slavery, or the 150 years or so after, have we not died enough then? It is 2014, while there is still racism, whether hidden or professed publicly, we have come a long way than being ignored. We are not some 3/5ths citizens anymore, or blacks fighting for our rights to vote or go into the same buildings as whites, no in this day and age we all stand on common ground. We have shown that we utterly belong and needed in the community, in businesses, in sports, in classrooms, in families etc. So who are you asking to die? Are we not already dying enough in Chicago, in Oakland, in Florida, in our own neighborhoods. Dying is not the answer, living is.
I saw these points to say this, we must not be so quick to act so radically when it is not always needed. The punishments are what many were calling for, with an attempt to force a sell looming. I ask you, if you’re not satisfied what more could have been done? It is my belief however, that some just wanted to fight for the sake of fighting, further hampering the black image. In fact, the only time we should be incline to react negatively is when positivity is no longer viable. “We are free to choose but you are not free from the consequences of your choice”