It’s 2019 and racism isn’t showing any signs of slowing down. Even for the most privileged and financially healthy people of color, society has its way of showing that at the end of the day it doesn’t matter.
Recently, fans at a Utah Jazz game berated Russell Westbrook with racial slurs. Russell is not only one of the NBA’s highest paid players as he enjoys a $205 million contract, he’s also one of the best PG’s in the game. All of that, however, comes second to the fact that he is still a Black man living and operating in a predominately white world where racism rears its ugly head.
Utah Jazz SF Kyle Korver recently took to The Players Tribune to pen a wonderful essay on race relations in America that included him checking his own white privilege at the door. Below is a clip from the story:
What I’m realizing is, no matter how passionately I commit to being an ally, and no matter how unwavering my support is for NBA and WNBA players of color….. I’m still in this conversation from the privileged perspective of opting in to it. Which of course means that on the flip side, I could just as easily opt out of it. Every day, I’m given that choice — I’m granted that privilege — based on the color of my skin…
I’m trying to ask myself what I should actually do. How can I — as a white man, part of this systemic problem — become part of the solution when it comes to racism in my workplace? In my community? In this country? These are the questions that I’ve been asking myself lately. And I don’t think I have all the answers yet — but here are the ones that are starting to ring the most true: I have to continue to educate myself on the history of racism in America. I have to listen. I’ll say it again, because it’s that important. I have to listen. I have to support leaders who see racial justice as fundamental — as something that’s at the heart of nearly every major issue in our country today. And I have to support policies that do the same. I have to do my best to recognize when to get out of the way — in order to amplify the voices of marginalized groups that so often get lost.
But maybe more than anything? I know that, as a white man, I have to hold my fellow white men accountable. We all have to hold each other accountable. And we all have to be accountable — period. Not just for our own actions, but also for the ways that our inaction can create a “safe” space for toxic behavior.
Well said, Kyle. For the rest of the story, head over to The Players Tribune.