The Quicker Picker Upper

I could’ve lived my whole life without seeing an American President pelt starving hurricane victims with rolls of paper towels.  What was that about, anyway?  It was like one of those weird Japanese game shows.  Did he think they could use them to soak up the floodwaters?  Forget FEMA, you now have the quicker picker-upper!  Guess he forgot his tee shirt gun.

We are truly through the looking glass, Truthseekers.   

Its bad enough he showed up with his silent stiletto’ d wife for a presser reminiscent of that creepy cabinet meeting where his secretaries were forced to express their undying adulation for Dear Leader.  This time it was hearty congrats for the awesome job he and the generals and FEMA were doing, but not before getting in a dig at Puerto Rico for “throwing the budget out of whack.”

huh?

Then it was on to Nevada for a passing tour of the latest – and deadliest- mass killing in US history.  Warm condolences were expressed.  Never heard that expression before, but then again, I don’t know very many psychopaths.  Then he described the killer as “It’s a very sick man. He was a very demented person.”

Takes one to know one.

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We have Classic Malloy Shows for you Thursday and Friday, then Mike returns live Monday.  And, as promised, here is the essay Mike read on the program tonight:

 

Watching Sports While White

By Essie Harris

In the vastly underrated film biography, Get On Up, there is a scene where a very young James Brown (alternately played by twins Jamarion and Jordan Scott) Is forced to fight in a boxing ring with other little black boys. All of the boys are blindfolded and have one hand tied behind their backs in what was known as a “Battle Royale”. The boxing ring is located on the grounds of a white country club in Georgia.

Dressed in their evening finery, the white men enjoy plenty of food and liquor while they place bets on which child will emerge the winner. In the background, a lively black Dixieland jazz band plays. Little James is knocked down by one of his opponents. As he lay on the ground, he lifts his blindfold to fully take in the wondrous sounds the band is playing. He marvels at how well they play and what it must be like to make those amazing sounds. This, along with an earlier scene where he taps out a rhythm in time to his father singing gospel, clues us in to the fact that James has an ear for music. In the meantime, the white men continue to eat, drink and watch the fight, oblivious to the fact that they are encouraging little children to beat each other up for their own amusement.

That scene is exactly what I thought of after I read an opinion piece in the Washington Post this weekend titled, “The Whole Point of Sports is Their Meaninglessness”. In his article, the author Gary Abernathy opines about how he really wishes he didn’t have to deal with people making protests during the anthem or talk about how they will skip the NBA championship visit to the White House while he’s trying to enjoy his basketball or football game. “The real world hits us in the face every day,” he writes. “Sports are our escape, and if fans lose that benefit from the leagues they love, the leagues will lose their fans.”

The white privilege in that quote alone is astounding. In other words, if you don’t shut up and do and feel how we tell you to do and feel, you will lose our respect and our money. I could imagine it has never truly registered with the author that 70 percent of the NFL and the NBA is made up of black males. Yes it should be an issue for the fans to have to acknowledge! How dense must a person be to not understand that every day a disproportionate number of black men and women are harassed, jailed or even killed for offenses that many white guys don’t even get a slap in the wrist for? And coincidentally, many of the players, who come from the inner cities, have first- hand experience when it comes to police brutality.

Being someone obviously educated enough to get his opinion published in the WaPo, I will try to give Abernathy the benefit of the doubt. Of course minorities should be allowed to protest injustice and I don’t think he would argue that. But just when and where exactly does he think that should take place if not on the most watched, largest stage in the world?

As an African American woman, I want you to think about the myriad of protest rules minorities are presented with every day as dictated by many white Americans. Protest if you must but don’t do it during the week because people have to get to and from work and you might block traffic. Don’t do it in the suburbs or near businesses. And if you absolutely have to protest, like say, after another white cop gets off for shooting an unarmed black man, obey curfew laws and shut it down before 10pm.

People have had a long day at work, Abernathy seems to say. Let them sit back, sip their beer and watch you grind your kneecaps to powder or knock your heads together until you’re silly. Entertain them. Do whatever you want, just stop reminding them that you’re one routine traffic stop away from being shot by a psychopathic cop every single fucking day of your life.

Of course some love to bring up the “but they’re millionaires!” argument. Everybody knows the NFL is a billion dollar industry. But what many people don’t know is that while there are some millionaires on the field, the majority of the guys don’t make nearly that much, and don’t play very long. In fact:

“While superstar players like Tom Brady and Cam Newton are raking in the contract money and endorsements, most NFL players aren’t nearly as comfortable. Last season, the NFL minimum salary was $435,000 and practice squad players earned a minimum of $6,600 a week. This is significant money, of course, but it’s important to note that the average NFL career is only 3.3 years.”

In fact, NFL players actually make less than their NBA counterparts. But they have much shorter careers, and suffer far more grievous bodily harm.

Poverty to riches isn’t a gray area for many poor people. It is a black and white issue (perceived and literal), and for many of these guys, sports is their only way out. Many of them come from cities and towns that put a lot of emphasis on sports such as football and how playing it could possibly make you rich beyond your wildest dreams. For many, playing ball is the only ticket to wealth. So if you can’t rap, got a crappy education from a poorly funded school, or are not street savvy enough to sell drugs, what the hell else can you do?

For many black folks, if their grandma or sibling didn’t have a life insurance policy to pay for their funeral, that meant that in addition to unbelievable heartache, the fucking lights were gonna be cut off by the end of the month. There is no fucking will, and taking over the family Subway franchise is not an option. The one thing you know how to do is play ball and you play well. You look at a Cam Newton or a LeBron James and realize you can make serious paper doing it. Most importantly, you can do what you love and be idolized by millions. You could give two shits about entertaining an audience largely filled with white people, or that your checks are signed by a white guy. Wealth and a big dick make you a God in the eyes of many guys,and for these testosterone filled brothers their image is the only thing they have to demonstrate their self-worth.

If you’re white,you may not know or openly acknowledge this, but how you feel about a minorities’ true place in this world can make or break us. It literally is a matter of life and death . White team owners and fans that shower a brother with money and adulation can take that all away by merely tweeting their displeasure. And some are nowhere near interested in letting us forget that.

And so it goes. No matter how hard you’ve worked, no matter how intelligent you are and how much you have positively contributed to society, no matter that you’re an NFL superstar, you can and will experience the same shit your father, grandfather and great great grandfather went through. Police brutality towards blacks didn’t start yesterday. Obama is not the reason why cops sometimes lose their shit on a disproportionately high number of brothers. Many were conditioned that way. Yale University social psychologist John Davido says that “A large proportion of white Americans have these [implicit] biases, and it’s hard to expect police officers to be any different.” Ask your black uncle or grandpa who grew up in the 60’s and 70’s and they can relate stories of how police targeting minorities back then was about as commonplace as the sun rising in the east. If it seems worse now it’s because we have eyewitnesses who aren’t afraid to post the crimes on social media. Which is why it matters now, more than ever, that these rich and famous brothers should be allowed to protest in such an incredibly large forum.

Some would argue that blacks are disproportionately targeted by police because of bad attitudes and behavior. But there have always been young men who misbehave and disrespect authority and it’s been that way since Eve gave birth to Cain and Abel. The difference is literally black and white. When I was a teen growing up in the 80s in Colorado, it wasn’t uncommon for a white kid who drove drunk or stole a pack of cigarettes to literally have the sheriff to likely tussle his hair and chuckle about how “boys will be boys” and send them home to their parents. With minorities it’s more likely the opposite, even if it is later proven that these boys suffered from serious mental disturbances. And I’m not talking about sociopath or psychopathic behavior either. In fact, white schoolchildren with ADD are more likely to be given therapy and meds while black and Hispanic children are flat out expelled from school.

Not to say that being an athlete didn’t have its advantages. It’s a paradox for black athletes that if they acted up in high school or college, they were sometimes given a pass due to their amazing abilities on the field. Some would say this is proof positive that they were not discriminated against, but that is simply not the case. True, amazing athletes put butts in stadium seats and generate crazy revenue for their schools. The paradox is that you’re taking a kid who came from nothing and channeling sometimes misguided behavior into something that benefits you. You give him money and excuse certain behaviors because he makes you a profit. He begins to think he can do anything. He gets caught and you yank the leash. Confused, he may retaliate. And for many racist, fearful whites, sometimes the worst crime he committed that day wasn’t the crime itself but the fact that he committed it and was also the wrong color.

Being a minority is strange because it is also a mentality. It’s the one that tells you that no matter how successful you are, someone will always remind you of where you came from. We were always advised to never forget your “fam” and that admonition also served as a warning from our black elders. Never become fully “bougie” or uppity. Professional tennis player James Blake was tackled and assaulted by police after exiting a hotel simply because he “matched the description” of a suspect. A tennis player! And poor Sandra Bland who was arrested for “showing attitude” after she was pulled over for failure to use her turn signal. Bland, who had just been offered a promising job working for a college in Prairie View Texas ended up hanging herself in her jail cell. The cop was fired but never indicted or charged, even though he committed perjury on the stand.

It is absolutely proper to kneel in protest of police brutality in front of the very same group of people who have been watching your ancestors bloody themselves for sport for hundreds of years. James Brown was only following the path of his ancestors by engaging in a physically punishing sport as a child so the white gamblers would give him money. Seventy percent of the NFL consists of young, African American males, who are harming their brains for the amusement of millions of people, mostly white males. And of course food and liquor are always served at games. As they say, it is what it is.

But those that can’t at least acknowledge this fact should perhaps tune in to something less offensive to their delicate sensibilities. I’m not trying to give Abernathy a guilt trip about watching a majority of black men play football. Enjoy it. Help them work their way into the upper middle class/rich. But keep in mind that once they’re off the field, they are always potential victims. Maybe in the meantime, this makes no difference. But maybe someday these brothers may decide it’s not worth it to entertain a group of people so ridiculously oblivious to the fact that a brotha or sistah could die today simply because they did not use their turn signal while doing a lane change.

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