We want to be treated as equals as Black People, but can’t treat each others equally. We want racism to stop but critique every non black person. We want to end police brutality, but don’t respect our brothers and sisters when they do have a badge. How are we supposed to be taken seriously, when our plan is laughable to the Masses? We want to tear every black male down who is deemed to not be “A Real Nigga.”
We promote ignorance and street violence instead of promotions and diplomas. We promote Beyonce over Ledisi. Or Rihanna over Algebra Bassett or Chief Keef over Talib Kweli. *SIGH* What is one to do. It is hard being a Black American, right. With that being said, this article is a call for help. We need it badly. So here goes.
It is hard to really dissect today’s modern black athletes, to black athletes of years past.(Unlike Serena Williams) It really is. This generation does not realize how powerful they are. How can one so strong be utterly weak? These are not the men that we’ve grown accustomed to admiring, but the men who we question. Question their integrity. Question their ethics. Question their morals. Is it generational? No! Black is black. Never gonna change.(although I want our younger blacks to acknowledge that cultural appropriation is never going to go anywhere) Modern black athletes today has made billions of dollars just off of endorsements alone. That’s not mentioning their contracts, bonuses, per diems, and other perks that come with their job. Using black athletes as faces of many companies, has taken some companies out of the verge of bankruptcy, to wealthy fortune 500 powerhouse. The “I’m jumping off the sinking ship” slogan is now, “let’s jump on the bandwagon.” All due to a prominent black athlete being the face or his/her’s endorsement. In the Jim Brown days action was first and talking was second. Not to be confused with the “shoot first and ask questions later” type of mentality. In my mind, today’s modern black athlete is calculated and methodic when speaking at certain issues. It (to me) feels either contrived or rehearsed. Like if they ask their advisors or publicists on what to say or do, instead of just saying how they really feel. It feels more like an accolade for star black athletes (and celebrities) to NOW say certain things. What they must realize is that they are in the 1% and we as normal, hard-working black folks, will never see or imagine the type of wealth and opportunities that they are privy to. It’s a social disconnect. I feel that growing up I would be able to have Kareem Abdul Jabbar over for dinner or take a Jackie Brown out on a date. I don’t nor ever will feel that way as a grown black man with these new age celebrities. I don’t feel like I could kick it with LeBron James. Beyonce would never want to date a blue-collar dude. Because at the end of the day, we are just service workers and “the help” to these celebrities. The way they treat us common folks, is the same way their counterparts of the fairer skin would treat them if they weren’t skilled. Basically “The way we get called NIGGER as regular black folks, is the same way these athletes would get called if it wasn’t for their opulence.” Go “Cau-Bla-Sin” on that . Their children will never understand the true value of hard work within the community due to their parents celebrity. Why do you think that most black athletes are great today? It’s because they didn’t come from shit, just like us. They knew had the constantly work harder than their lighter counterparts. So where did we lose focus? 80’s? The crack era? The NEW BLACK ERA? Today, this article will examine what olive branches must be extended to restore black honor, black power, and black respect within not only ourselves but to the athletes as well.
When you come from a wealthy black, famous family, how do you stay relevant with a community that is constantly oppressed? That is constantly killed by each other? That is constantly held to lowered standards? If the goal is to make black wealth prominent, how do we ensure that the opportunities and resources are available to the less fortunate? In today’s market of information, transparency is at an all time high. Facts and data are over analyzed to a “T.” Obviously, if you see an opportunity you capitalize on it. You strike while the iron is hot. One must understand that if you are a wealthy black person there is always that pressure to “keep it real.” The street cred! The down for my brother tone. Honestly if you really want to keep it real I have few solutions:
How about you not just send a check but incorporate infrastructure within a broken community. Teach us what you know from that glorious life that you are so accustom too.
Reinvest into the community. Support great Black owned businesses and give not only financial support but moral support as well. If the business is not great, then educate them on how to better businessmen and businesswomen. Check in on them from time to time.
Push Old Skool work ethics with New school ideas. Black people will overcome anything. Help the youth know that hardships will make us stronger. They see Steph Curry and think the shit is easy. But also listen to them. Great leaders has to be great followers at times. Remember these kids are smarter than we are as far as awareness but the lack the focus. Preach African History and other facets of the Black culture. Teach them the African Diaspora. Athletics and Entertainment should not be the forefront of a race. Imagine if Lebron James, Odell Beckham, Steph Curry, and Cam Newton got together and said to the kids that “We will give you free PS4’s and Jordans if you can write a 3 page essay and tell us who Crispus Attucks or who Dred Scott was!”
Lastly (and this is going to hurt said athlete if they ever read it) You have to acknowledge that majority of black athletes are (or will) be the downfall to many urban communities around the country. The over sensalitionalizing wealth, women, groupies, fast money, cars etc. It’s a big detriment to us as a race. I get it work hard play hard. But the kids don’t see your work. They just see the finish product. It’s your duty to help them see the light. You need to teach them and help them understand that they can be better than you. These kids equate wealth and only wealth as life. And partly it is because it is glorified in their face 24/7
Black owned businesses in The United States make up just about 7% of all small businesses. We as a people need to do better. Even myself find it hard to find certain stores. Convienence and accessability would be nice, right? Don’t know if that is due to lack of advertising but It’s sad that most black businesses only have 1-3 employees. Or the self employed black business. What about making an Empire? You go to a Chinese food restaurant in Chinatown and all of the Chinese Americans working there, are in fact Chinese right. At least 5-10 employees, right? Why don’t we see that with Black clothing stores, or African Artifacts stores? It’s usually 1 or 2 people in there. I feel its our athletes and entertainers job to promote 1 small business a month. This may sound extreme and because of contractual obligations it might be tough and sketchy, but fuck it. How many times has a black athlete got in trouble with the law and the Media turned on him? Pay it forward. You want street cred so badly Mr. athlete? Do the right thing. You have the most powerful weapon on this planet (No not you Ray J!!) Your mind. The ability to create. The ability to unite. The ability to instill fear. The ability to overcome. These qualities have been trickled down to a bare minimum due to the globalization of a brand. If Jeremy Lin can be proud of his Taiwanese heritage, than you can be proud of your Black Heritage. You just have to understand the roots of your culture. Why things are a certain way. They say change begins with us. True, but you Mr. Athelete can take us over. You say you are not a role model? Ha! That is just the false pretense of the dollar taking over your brain. Tareau Barron can say the exact say thing that LeBron James says, but no one will listen to Tareau.
I hope people who are open minded like myself, who make up a small percentage of our race reads this. I really do. I’m not your stereotypically Black man. I believe in equality but can see the inequality amongst us. I can not sit idly by and not say anything anymore. Agree to Disagree we have to stop glorifying this hood life. Shit is setting us back forever. For me its an insecurity we have as black people when someone gives us constructive criticism. We are taught to demand respect. But not taught that respect is earned. We are taught to hold back our tears and never to cry, but where does that get us. In Jail, In the Psyche Wards, In the Coffins. All because majority of us didnt have a real man in our life to teach us right from wrong . Lastly I would encourage our Latino and Polynesian brothers to read and give their feed back as well. Black and brown are part of the same struggle.
Born and raised in San Francisco, Ca, I've been a local sports fan for about 26 years now. Have a passion for the 49ers, Giants, Warriors. Have a respect and a disliking (hahaha) for the Raiders and A's. Following Cal and Stanford College hoops, College football, NFL, WNBA, and NBA. Will be giving you perspective from a young black male growing up here in the bay area. Holding no punches. Hope ya'll enjoy