For anyone who doesn’t understand the reference this posts title is referring to, please google “Kayne West Taylor Swift VMAs”. For the rest of you, imma let you finish your point, Gawker.com, but I’ve really got to call you on it this time.
Errrrybody in a fuss about the hot mess Donald Sterling made with his racist remarks that were privately made to his girlfriend over the phone. Apparently he is also known as a bigot and this is not his first foray into offensive speech. Does he deserve to be fired? I do not know. Apparently the NBA constitution is secretive and it is not necessarily a fire-able offense to make racist remarks. Perhaps he should be strong armed into resigning or publicly disgraced to such a degree that he cannot reasonably continue a public life where his wealth is garnished from the labors of people who he does not want his girlfriend to be publicly associated with. I’m more comfortable with that route because then maybe he can see the surmountable damage he did to himself instead of throwing the pity party bigots like to throw when their self recognized “politically incorrect” remarks are consequentially reprimanded for their offensive nature. Oh cry for me, white America, I cannot be politically incorrect. I’d like to not see that happen.
Gawker published an interesting commentary from a black male perspective on this matter. The author, Homeboy Sandman, feels that the Clippers players did not go far enough in their protest, thus being “cowards”, while also criticizing Black culture for selling out the integrity of the Civil Rights Movement, a movement based on purposefully bearing the brunt of making ones own life uncomfortable as a result of protesting he status quo, by instead opting for the more comfortable route of “getting paid”. It is a struggle to get through he article because of the angry tone and the lack of insight as to what got us here (as previously noted I am White, but I am using “us” as a more general term for people interested in racial power dynamics). Homeboy Sandman felt that the Clippers should have wholesale refused to play on the basis that profits from their team would be going to their teams owner, and that their protest of refusing to wear their jerseys was instead a light weight cop out. If you are able to stay with the article long enough he eventually admonishes everybody for being a coward since most of us humans will forsake bravery for comfort.
Now, back to why I chose this articles title in making a reference to the Kayne West/Taylor Swift incident. West interrupted Swift to call MTV out for its mass suckage when doling out awards. Everyone with ears knows Beyoncé is the queen (sorry Bay but I can’t bow for anybody but the real Queen Bitch, the Supreme Bitch, Lil Kim). He was right but also drunk and it was a little embarrassing. In this instance, everyone with a political conscious knows that Sterling’s remarks were offensive. But to turn around and call the players for this team cowards is going too far. I’m a White lady with all my white lady privileges going for me in my white lady life. It could be embarrassing for some to watch a White lady call out a Black man on a race issue. But here I go (without Hennessy, fortunately/unfortunately).
I agree with Homeboy Sandman that shit doesn’t get done enough because people opt for comfort over challenging society. But this is where I wander on the stage during his speech. The actions taken by the people of the Civil Rights Movement were brave and remarkable and heroic because they refused to let the unnecessary hardships of institutional racism continue with a blind eye from comfortable White America. The actions were symbolic that Black people have rights equal to White people and all the other shades of people to have a level of comfort that is the quality of life we expect here in America. Homeboy Sandman is right that many burdens are still here, but his accusations that the players are cowards for not violating their contracts so they “can get paid” are offensive. In part, the Civil Rights Movement could be read as a movement so Black people could get paid, something which still hasn’t even been achieved due to educational barriers, unequal opportunity for middle class/upper class jobs as a result of these educational barriers, and discrepancies between White wealth and Black wealth. The players did what they could do to protest their bigot of an owner while not jeopardizing their careers or violating their contracts, something which could have long-term negative consequences for them and their families. In my opinion, do I think those in the Civil Rights Movement would have wanted the players to point blank walk off the court, giving Sterling a bit “Fuck you”? I cannot speak for those people, but I am going to take an educated guess that those brave people would have wanted the players to preserve their standard of living for themselves and their families, something which those brave people were working toward Black people having the ability to do (in that there was not a high enough standard of living to preserve, thus why they opted to make their sacrifice any consistency in their lives for a time in order to achieve a higher level of comfort for Black people down the line). I think that if the players had walked off the court point blank they may have left themselves open to attack from bigots for acting immature (an attitude I do not share, I am just speculating what the bigots would say) and violating their contracts.
Am I oversimplifying the issue? Yes! This is a blog, not an academic book. Is Homeboy Sandman oversimplifying the issue? Yes! But I don’t think he can hear me from his soap box.
From the article, “Let’s step it up. If every NBA player who wanted to stand up against racism vowed not to play until the Clippers’ owner resigned, it would be announced that he resigned before you were finished reading this. If he didn’t want to, someone would make him. If we boycotted every night spot that spins music about how much we love killing each other and taking and selling drugs, every single one of them would have new DJs by next week” as I have already noted, Chief Keef is a rapper Homeboy Sandman would clearly take issue with. My mother gave me some unique insight on Chief Keef and what he is doing after she read my article; he is reporting from the front lines. Rap and hip hop can be read as story telling, accounting what one knows about one’s surroundings and the stories of others in one’s life. Do the kids in Chiraq “love killing each other”? I can’t speak to what they love or do not love. They are killing each other, over the weekend four people died and thirty five people were injured. Is that an action people love to do? Imma let you finish Homeboy Sandman…but I think your statements are inaccurate and grandiose.