There have been many, many takes over the past several years, not starting with, but certainly being kicked into high gear by, the Black Lives Matter movement, about white privilege and how so many white people don’t admit how real it is.
It applies to so many areas of society, from the way law enforcement treat people of color, to how minorities are treated by employers, by Starbucks baristas, by college admissions directors… I could go on and on.
One area where “white privilege” doesn’t get talked about often is in the NBA. Because, let’s face it, it is a pro sports league dominated by people of color. Caucasians in the NBA are often a running joke, like when a team is up big in the fourth quarter the home fans call for the scrubs at the end of the bench, often white, to get in (Jack Haley, I’m looking at you, sir.)
So it was refreshing, and a little stunning, to read this fantastic, heartfelt essay from Kyle Korver, a sharpshooting white forward from the Utah Jazz. In beautiful, concise language, Korver talks about how he as a white man took so much for granted, his reflexive blaming of a teammate when the teammate got beat up by the police, and so much more.
I can’t recommend this Korver essay, from The Player’s Tribune, highly enough. Here’s an excerpt, really gripping stuff, and stunning coming from a current NBA player:
There’s an elephant in the room that I’ve been thinking about a lot over these last few weeks. It’s the fact that, demographically, if we’re being honest: I have more in common with the fans in the crowd at your average NBA game than I have with the players on the court.
And after the events in Salt Lake City last month, and as we’ve been discussing them since, I’ve really started to recognize the role those demographics play in my privilege. It’s like — I may be Thabo’s friend, or Ekpe’s teammate, or Russ’s colleague; I may work with those guys. And I absolutely 100% stand with them.
But I look like the other guy.
And whether I like it or not? I’m beginning to understand how that means something.
What I’m realizing is, no matter how passionately I commit to being an ally, and no matter how unwavering my support is for NBA and WNBA players of color….. I’m still in this conversation from the privileged perspective of opting in to it. Which of course means that on the flip side, I could just as easily opt out of it. Every day, I’m given that choice — I’m granted that privilege — based on the color of my skin.
In other words, I can say every right thing in the world: I can voice my solidarity with Russ after what happened in Utah. I can evolve my position on what happened to Thabo in New York. I can be that weird dude in Get Out bragging about how he’d have voted for Obama a third term. I can condemn every racist heckler I’ve ever known.
But I can also fade into the crowd, and my face can blend in with the faces of those hecklers, any time I want.
I realize that now. And maybe in years past, just realizing something would’ve felt like progress. But it’s NOT years past — it’s today. And I know I have to do better. So I’m trying to push myself further.
I’m trying to ask myself what I should actually do.
Really great stuff. I commend Korver for having the honesty and courage to put all this out there.
**Next up, I can’t remember if I’ve blogged before about the incredible Funny or Die series “Zack Morris is Trash,” about “Saved by the Bell” character Zack Morris and how awful his actions were if you break them down.
But if I haven’t, I should have. And now I rectify it by giving you what I think might be their masterpiece video, this four-minute takedown of the episode in which Screech gets hit by lightning and can suddenly see the future, and Zack tries to take advantage.
I laughed and laughed at this one. Well done, FOD.
**And finally today, I always love when a coach has a truly nutty idea, tries it, and it blows up in his face.
Let me introduce you to Steve Ross, the head coach of Clearfield High School’s varsity baseball team.
It seems Clearfield’s field was very wet before a late-March game, and to dry it out, Mr. Ross decided to allegedly pour 15-20 gallons of unleaded gasoline onto the team’s home field.
Well, the good news, the field got dry! The bad news? Well, the field looked like my grill after a nice summer barbecue.
After a parent noted that the field smelled like gas, a formal complaint was filed, and Ross has now been put on administrative leave.
There are many, many jokes in here about “lighting a fire” under his team, but I’m just going to let you all make them.
Instead, let’s let Jim Morrison take us out…