In defense of Jamele Hill, I’ll say this: people often say that when we go to work we have to leave who we are at the door. Our views, our race – all of that – isn’t supposed to matter. When people speak of privilege this is another form of it in that if you are a minority in this country you do not and will never have that luxury. To say we are the same is a very narrow-minded view of who we are and how we interact as a society. When I walk into a building or store or a job I’m a Black man. That is the reality of things. It comes with a whole host of judgment before I say a word, before I do a thing.
Privilege does not mean you don’t work hard for what you have, it also doesn’t mean you are a racist of a bad person. What it does mean is that society views you differently than me – there are certain underlying benefits that you will always inherently receive. Whether it’s being pulled over by the cops and not getting guns drawn on you, or not being followed around in a store, the assumption of guilt. These things may not be things that you notice because you have never been without them – again, it’s not an insult or a character assassination. It’s just a fact – history and present day bear this out. Privilege also allows you to view what happens in our government as “just politics”, when your life, your livelihood, you actual ability to live in this country, to raise your family is directly at risk. It’s not simply just politics, it’s not just about winning or losing. The shift from administration to administration may not matter much to your day-to-day but for some it truly means everything.
Unfortunately the subject of privilege is a difficult one because when it’s mentioned, the assumption is that there is some heavy lift associated with the discussion. In reality the only thing that minorities, whether they are Hispanic, Black, Indian or any group is looking for is understanding, acknowledgement and awareness that these inequities are who we are as a nation. Nothing progresses or changes without that understanding. So when Jamele Hill checks Trump on TV, I’m not mad at it – and the fact that some rather strike back at her rather than the circumstances that created the NEED for her to make her statement is pretty sad. They say stick to sports but sports is a huge part of culture and crosses lines into every aspect of society. Sticking to sports means analyzing the impact it has on other parts of society and how other parts of society impact sports.
I was born here and have the right to criticize any and ever aspect of this country if I so choose. What I find more and more is that we have no problem white-washing our history. We do not acknowledge our own mistakes. We are so infatuated with being “the best country in the world” that we ignore the issues that make that statement completely farcical. If you can’t examine yourself at your worst you can never really be at your best.