Race and Sports in America, 2014
by B. Mchie
Question authority is more than a bumper sticker from the 1960's. It is a statement that speaks to how anyone keeps themselves in check whether personal or business concerns are the subject. Regarding the racial landscape of team ownership in the NBA I find the current method of qualifying to own to be very sad and question the end game of the commissioner and the players.
From TMZ's 2014 Sterling tape to the Atlanta mayors wanting a change at the top of the Hawks before the 14/15 season begins my question is how do you scrutinize the racial values of anyone let alone a business owner. How do the clippers know their new owner, Nike, ore any of there sponsors are not racist? They don't! Freedom of speech can be a slippery slope and yes names hurt as much as sticks and stones when they are connected to systemic decisions that are covered by laws; access to capital, education, housing and plain old opportunity for all citizens.
From Earl Lloyd and Chuck Cooper to the present Blacks know that our entry into this business is just one of the ongoing barriers we've faced because deep down most of the dominant White American culture does not see us as equal. As Black descendants of American slavery we often forget that "in general" we are not welcomed into the house of White America. Those White Americans who live their lives welcoming African America wear labels like liberal, progressive left activist, etc. Historically they've even been punished for assisting us in regaining any semblance of humanity, especially regarding education during slavery. Remember it was once against the law for us to be educated. Yet lately the voices of the progressive White community has been noticeably silent in the face of Trayvon Martin, Jordan Davis and Michael Brown. What seems to be left out of more conversations is integration and desegregation are separated by controlling ones own destiny or NOT!
Perhaps Chris Paul, Doc Rivers, the Players Union Rep., and others have thought of (dare we say it) starting a Black Owned and operated league of our own. Maybe Blake Griffin knowing the kind of racial character of Donald Sterling has but still signing with the team a few years ago has some long termed plan to "stoop to conquer," maybe not. A pattern that I'm witnessing is that the murders of Dr. King and Malcolm X were in part because they were getting too close to a coalition that threatened the White power structure in real terms. I have feared for President Obama's life since he won his first term in that office and I pray that the ongoing security breaches to protect him are a coincidence. Yet with the invisible shackles the conservative legislative right have placed on him, he still seems to have become more moderate that liberal in doing his job. My hope is that after leaving office, he may become as effective in domestic diversity as Bill Clinton has become in international diversity.
Back to questioning authority. As another saying goes, "greed is the root of all evil" and this is a human failing as old as time itself. Not everyone is complicit with greed but too many have dirt on their wealth and adding race and class to the statement begs that question (to get answers) even more.