The Race Card – A King Tribute

Happy Birthday MLK

”The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands in moments of challenge and controversy.” – Dr. Martin Luther King

Why are you always talking about race? .. .Why does it always have to be a black thing?  … Why are you always pulling the race card?

Today we celebrate the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, (even though his actual birthday is on the 15th). We also celebrate two other icons in American history today,  Michelle Obama and Muhammad Ali. Black history month is among us and black awareness is always at its apex this time of  the year. ESPN held a town hall meeting last week discussing the “black athlete” and today there will be many celebrations that will honor Dr. King, and rightly so. You will see his old speeches and hear from notable African-Americans about what Kings legacy means to them. Today is a celebration of a man who wasn’t afraid to shake up the status quo so I find it appropriate that we also celebrate Muhammad Ali’s birthday as well because like he said “I shook up the world .. I shook up the world … I’m a baaaad man”. Dr. King shook up the world in his life and today we honor him.

Then comes February …

The King holiday catapults us into Black history month, a time where we cram the entire history of the African-American into one month. Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves, King had a dream and Malcolm was pretty cool too. If you want to do black history justice you have to include the present as well as the future. Unfortunately in today’s society MLK day has become the affirmative action of holidays. That’s not a shot on the holiday, that just speaks to society’s indifference about the day and what it means that’s all. Dr. King was all about moving forward and progress mainly on issues of race and economics. Forums on race are of no benefit if we aren’t including all races in that discussion. Dr. King wasn’t afraid about addressing race and neither am I.

In Sports …

Ali shook up the world

I don’t have to tell you about how for years they thought we were never good enough to play the quarterback position. I’m not gonna say anything about how once we be came quarterbacks they thought we could never be smart enough to coach. I could go on and on but I won’t.

Players like Jackie Robinson who was by far the best player on his team couldn’t even use the same bathroom as his teammates. A funny story was told about  Bill Russell who was once refused service in the dinning room of his hotel. He got in his car early in the morning, drove to the mayor’s house and gave him back the key to the city and told him what he could do with it. I’m not gonna fill this post with racial inequalities cause we all know it is what it is. But people always ask why do you always have to play the race card? … Am I pulling it or revealing it?

However you look at it, I do it because I’m not just black during black history month. I do it because I know that when my son is 16 and he drives a Lexus he will be targeted like I was. I play the card because when people say they don’t see race, they are saying they don’t see me. I’m black but I’m ok with my blackness, I’m even ok with you being white, korean or hispanic, heck lets celebrate our differences. Walk through the mall as me, try to apply for a job as me or drive a nice car as me. Don’t ask why I play the race card, understand that race is something I live with  everyday of my life and I’m just pointing out inconsistencies as I see it. When I complain about not there not being enough coaches, general managers and owners in sports, I’m not doing it just to make noise, I’m trying to point out a bigger underline issue that people are afraid to address. All is not lost and progress is being made not just in sports but overall but we still have a ways to go. So while you’re here, lets have a chat.

King shook up the world .. Ali continued the shaking  so consider this my contribution to the shake up.




One Response

  1. Good post. It has a spiritual effect. Race in sports is an issue often evaded but it does need to be paid attention to.

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