Welcome to another edition of This Week in Racism. I’ll be ranking news stories on a scale of one to RACIST, with “one” being the least racist and “RACIST” being the most racist.
–NBA legend Michael Jordan makes a shocking admission in an upcoming book about this life. The New York Post reported that in Michael Jordan: The Life by Ronald Lazenby, the Hall of Famer admits that as a teenager, he had contempt for all white people. Jordan grew up in North Carolina during the 1970s, in a hotbed of KKK activity. In the book, Jordan recounts a story where he threw a soda at a girl who called him a “nigger."
“I was really rebelling. I considered myself a racist at the time. Basically, I was against all white people,” Jordan is quoted as saying. Of course, saying you used to be a racist isn’t a crime. There are a lot of awesome ex-racists out there. The guy from American History X, Paula Deen, the late Strom Thurmond, Michael Richards, and Mel Gibson all used to beracist. They saw the error of their ways and evolved. Same with Air Jordan. Eventually, Michael Jordan saw the many, many great things about white people. Golf, cigars, polo shirts, and money are all awesome. I bet some of Michael Jordan’s best friends are white. I bet the guys who fly Michael Jordan’s private plane and details his fleet of luxury automobiles are white.
It’s easy to hate when you are given ample reasons to do so. Having racial slurs (and actual physical objects) thrown at you is a pretty difficult rationale to quibble with, and I’m sure there are white people, Hispanics, Asians, and Native Americans who have similar reasons for being prejudiced. It’s even harder to avoid feelings of ill will when you’re trapped in a small town where races don’t easily mix. Once Michael Jordan’s talent developed and he was clearly destined to be special, it was no longer practical to hate.
As the world around you grows, so does your perspective. Maybe that doesn’t always happen, but it does more often than not. Unfortunately, not everyone can be as wealthy and gifted as Michael Jordan. “Be Like Mike” is less a slogan than a thinly veiled taunt. People of all races benefit from more opportunity, even if they can’t dunk. The more comfortable society becomes with ignoring economic and social disparities, the more racial tension will develop. If only people like Michael Jordan would speak up more.