Without fail, there will always be a Black-voice-for-hire willing to say the things White America wants to say but know they cannot get away with saying.
Fox News is littered with these types: Sheriff David Clarke, Jesse Lee Peterson, Larry Elder, and more.
Yesterday when LeBron spoke out about the issue of racism in America after having his home vandalized with the N-Word, I knew that Jason Whitlock would not be far behind. And like clockwork, Jason did not disappoint.
In his ten-minute segment on the Herd, Whitlock attempted to use LeBron’s wealth as a means of disqualifying him from speaking on the issue of race — an issue that found LeBron at his million-dollar Brentwood home.
— Herd w/Colin Cowherd (@TheHerd) June 1, 2017
Race or Class?
Wealth has the ability to mitigate many of the problems Black people face in America. But by no means is it reasonable to suggest that wealth and fame have the ability to inoculate you from racism.
Suggesting that wealth insulates you from racism is the same argument that Whitlock used in his failed attempt to silence Colin Kaepernick’s literal “silent” protest. Somehow, Whitlock believes that if you are rich, you are not allowed to speak out or stand up against racism. But, here, wealth is merely a red-herring. Whitlock is the breed of Black conservative who believes that Black people, in general, have a victim mentality and are simply complaining.
While attempting to use wealth as a means of separating the experiences of LeBron James from that of poor Black Americans, Whitlock couldn’t even say that being Black and poor is a uniquely precarious condition in America. Whitlock flirts with the idea of poverty being a type of oppression but wouldn’t fully commit to the reality of the intersection of poverty and race because his fundamental message is the same: Black folks just be complaining.
Even White People Know the N-Word is Racist
In fact, in the entire ten-minute segment, Whitlock wouldn’t even call the people who vandalized LeBron’s home with the n-word a racist. Instead, he calls them “stupid” and “ignorant,” but not racist. What’s worse is that he reduced both LeBron’s experience and racism itself to merely being a “disrespectful inconvenience.”
While many White Americans reduce racism to direct words or action and will only admit that someone is a racist in instances where they literally use the “n-word,” Whitlock couldn’t even bring himself to admit that the people who did this to LeBron’s home were racist. And in this way, Whitlock is the student that has become the plantation’s master.
The Wealthy Can Be our Voice
More importantly, what Whitlock fails to understand– or doesn’t care to acknowledge–is that there are thousands of Black people who experience racism every single day whose voices will never be heard because they don’t have the platform that LeBron James has.
There’s not a day that goes by that I’m not called a n*gger online. And the only people who will ever know about that are the few people who watch my show on a regular basis. And even that is a privilege that most People of Color do not have.
But there are literally millions of people who are marginalized every single day whose voices will never be heard because they are not wealthy enough or famous enough to have a platform like LeBron James.
And that is exactly why LeBron speaking out about what he experienced matters so much. He is a proxy for all of the millions of Black voices that will never be heard. He is a spokesperson for us and to people who think exactly like Whitlock, people who minimize racism to a “disrespectful inconvenience.” Racism is always an inconvenience until it becomes deadly.
And to have a person as wealthy as LeBron James be –yes — the victim of a racist crime should awaken the rest of that class of Americans who see racism as a mere inconvenience to the reality that racism is so ubiquitous that, while concentrated in impoverished communities, it has the ability to reach the wealthiest and the most powerful Black people in the nation.
And if racism is so prevalent that it can reach the rich and famous Black American, imagine what the ordinary negro goes through every day.