I made a mistake today.
It’s rare for me and perhaps even more difficult for you to believe, but… I did.
To be absolutely clear, I’ve never been wrong before.
Mistaken a couple times here and there? Yes.
I happened upon a certain rotund sports talking head’s minimizing diatribe about the racist vandalism that occurred at LeBron James’ tony Brentwood estate on the same block where Orenthal James Simpson once held sway over many if not all of his neighbors in Los Angeles.
This is what generally ends up happening in these cases where guys like this spew verbal diarrhea, eschewing nuance and critical thought for arguments on binary extremes that often tangentialize in order to engage in the #EmbraceDebate sports culture so prevalent today.
HINT: #itsATrap #ChooseWisely
I thought about bringing the hostile gospel to someone who looks like he still writes with his entire fist, but I channeled my inner Andre #3Stax and chilled.
“NAH, NAH… DON’T DO IT, ICE COLD…”
It is incumbent upon the more highly evolved carbon-based life forces on this planet to work diligently toward not succumbing to that wave.
Whether we like it or not, in some shape, form or fashion, Race affects everything we do in this Life, particularly in the world’s propaganda headquarters, the good ol’ U.S. of A!
We didn’t make this world; we were merely born into it.
For many, having to navigate social, federal and cultural institutions designed specifically for suppression, destruction and elimination is a daily operation.
Gotta deal with it the best way we can.
Some try to ignore it; others are wantonly oblivious.
Some fight for equality, often to deleterious ends; others fight to avoid conflict and “stay in their place”.
But for what exactly are we running?
Sometimes, staring in the mirror at all of your wounds and scars, yet somehow learning how to appreciate something in them is a task unto itself.
To try and fight conditioning, all the while seeking to find Beauty in the supposed Hideousness of You…
It’s a state of being I can’t begin to fathom as many others who look like me actually live in it on a regular basis.
When I was a kid, I recall reading Ralph Ellison’s brilliant work, The Invisible Man.
Looking at the cover of the book, I really believed it was about some being no one could see… then I realized it was truth in an entirely different fashion.
The book in essence is about Black identity and that identity not being recognized or respected by society-at-large in America, primarily and probably most importantly, not recognized or respected by other Blacks.
The 2017 NBA Finals Game One saw the explosive Golden State Warriors, led by the two men who gathered the last three NBA MVP Awards in Wardell Stephen Curry and Kevin Wayne Durant best the reigning, defending world champeen Cleveland Cavaliers, fronted by the man generally considered to be the best player on the planet and owner of four of the last five MVPs before Curry and Durant scooped the hardware in LeBron Raymone James.
Plots and subplots aplenty are at play, raising questions that were answered by some in Game One.
Others not addressed, but looking to spell themselves out over at least the next three games only heightens the electric atmosphere around this series for the fans and players alike.
No matter how luminous the star power is between the two best teams in the Association meeting for the third consecutive time in another ‘never been done in the history of…’ scenario, on the eve of this NBA Finals, real life hit home for the transcendent superstar James.
“What LeBron James just did today for this generation and generations to come… he’s the greatest player to ever play the game.” – Zeke pic.twitter.com/vy1jNCO8Ky
— NBA TV (@NBATV) May 31, 2017
Rich or poor, The GOAT or not, there are some things and some words that strike at the core of Black souls no amount of money and apology can heal.
That the effect of this heinous slur being spray painted on LeBron James’ LA home’s exterior gate was assumed and summarily discharged as a “disrespectful inconvenience” to the extremely wealthy Black athlete is… well… disrespectful.
The insolence is not limited to James and his family.
It also goes but to all those before him who endured similar fates and found ways to fight the ignorance and pave a way not to be outliers, but active participants recognized as such in the pursuit of Life, Liberty and Justice within the so-called American Dream.
Almost fifty years ago to the day, a couple other prominent Black athletes met in Cleveland.
The gathering was not to announce summer vacation plans, take talents anywhere or celebrate, but to support the rights of another GOAT and fight the powers that be through unity and candor about their rightful position in American society.
To insinuate that somehow this flagrant, more–than-microaggression was a harmless act and should be brushed off as just a word is disingenuous and dangerous.
FULL DISCLOSURE: I actually made two mistakes today.
I dived Twitter fingers-first into the cesspool of social media comments in support of our sports television provocateur’s posturing on the racial epithet “discomfort” caused to LeBron and his family.
I did so, unsure I would be able to swim up Shit’s Creek and come out clean with a new lease on Life and human perspective like Andy Dufresne.
Sadly, I didn’t.
When acting Warriors head coach Mike Brown, who is Black, tried to laugh off Oakland Police’s treatment of him during the Western Conference Finals in the player’s parking lot at Oracle Arena, where he coaches, I didn’t laugh with him.
And when a TV sports pundit looked to dismiss the incident at LeBron’s James’ home, complete with assumption about the crime rate in the area, I cringed.
I’m not sure I’ll ever see the day where people treat people like people should be treated in America, Canada or anywhere else.
I’ve never really been the “Kumbaya / We Are The World / Let’s Hold Hands” cat.
The world can be hard, cruel and ugly… and this was but one event of many that occur more often than not.
And if I could be so bold and assumptive to relay my desire for all lives, in this particular case, Black lives, be they in possession of Malcolm and Martin Amex cards or EBT cards, to be at peace with the world and one another, I would hearken to the words of an immortal KneeGrow poet whose canon is legendary in Post-Modern Contemporary Literature:
“TRUTH AND UNDERSTANDING IS WHAT I CRAVE…
IN THE LAND OF THE THIEF, HOME OF THE SLAVE”
–Lawrence Krisna Parker