Lyndon Baines Johnson, the 36th President of the United States of America, said this regarding politics and poor white people in 1964 while on a visit to Tennessee:
“If you convince the lowest white man he’s better than the best colored man, he won’t notice you’re picking his pocket. Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he’ll empty his pockets for you.”
In light of this prophetic presidential statement, it has become perpetual logic and gospel to thirty-three percent of the population of this current democratic republic. In light of this attitude with these same attitudes being socially inherited from generations of the lives of the people most effected by this quote, the successes of black people, especially black men, is not just unfair it’s impossible!
It defies the logic of those who were given every opportunity to excel through virtue of race, birth and time. It is crushing to see when all their advantages of race, birth and time have not been maximized. The only way the playing field can be level for them is to make the field uneven for anyone else. When those whom are not white notice and work to change this, making the playing field fair, they are seen as obstacles to their destined greatness being both white and American.
Men like Barack Obama don’t exist in this space. Men like LeBron James don’t get to exist in this space! There is no way that someone who documented to be 3/5th a person a person could not do what only whiteness should be able to do. There should be no way a black man, whom the society constructed for oppression of anyone not white, should be able to live, achieve and excel. This must be stopped at all costs.
However, it will not be stopped. Black excellence will not be stymied or stopped — for all the attempts to thwart anything we as a people will do or will ever do — has not been stopped. LeBron Raymone James, Sr., the son of a teenage single mother in a fatherless home in Akron, Ohio, has opened a school for the community from which he is a product of. In the opening of the I PROMISE School in the Akron School District, as a collaborative effort with the foundation which bears his name, it seems Mr. James is doing the very thing those ensconced in this ignorance believe he could never do.
This is an aberration of the racist’s formula. These successes, these achievements, do not compute because it is deemed improbable. Fox News details the downfall of those who are black and brown on a daily basis. With every achievement LeBron James manages, there are snarky comments telling him to ‘shut up and dribble.’ There are comments from the highest office in the land to tell him he’s stupid, has a low IQ and is less than Michael Jordan. In having maximized his talents in a time where it is believed the good white folk in Akron are beleaguered in their whiteness, he gets racist epithets sprayed on his house.
He, and everyone black that is successful, is an affront to white privilege and what it means to be white in this nation. When these visual, demonstrative successes in the form of the excellence lived by black or brown people confront and break the cocoon white privilege fueled by racism, they refer to the stable anchor of this gospel of whiteness:
I, as a white person, even if I am poor, am better than the best colored man.
Like any good gospel to be propagated, they put their money behind it — believing the oppression and stymying of anyone else is a holy work. The Attorney General of the United States has used this as a religion for decades; finally succeeding as could have only dreamed of in this administration.
The charges laid at the feet and on the back of LeBron James are no different than the charges laid at President Obama, Charles Drew or the Tuskegee Airmen. Black people should not be allowed to excel in a country where the dominant culture is white, and the aspirations of excellence are set by those who are white! Black excellence is and will be a menace to anyone that sees blackness as subhuman. Seeing these achievements in the face of those who are staunch in this belief of the otherness and deficient nature of anything black, are and must be infuriating.
For this lack of direction, the inability to reason outside of this set of postulates or unwillingness to participate in current social critical thinking, politicians who use this enforced ignorance will always use the wooing and lure of campaign donations to ensure ‘their place’ is always protected.
LeBron James happens to the current pariah to a system whose objective is to devour, dismantle or erase anything created to serve or better anyone black or brown. This system is carnivorous to black men and erasure of their achievements. There can be no evidence, no history to rival the narrative birthed by this inherited gospel.
However, there is a history recorded! There is a narrative that rivals this gospel. It is proven being black is to be human, and we too, are entitled to excel and live. Too bad so many people consider LeBron a good man. It offends so many he’s a hero and worthy of respect. Too bad he has so many more lives to influence through his foundation, children to cut a path for — too bad he has a world to change. That world is changing rapidly, and those changes weren’t foretold to this blind thirty-three percent; they were told these changes would never come.
The future is here, and it’s black.