I went to a high school basketball semi-finals game the other day, right? A team from Detroit was playing against a team from a small rural town in Michigan. All of the starters from both teams were Black. I didn’t notice it though until the team from the rural town scored and their student supporters stood up and cheered. From my seat, a few hundred feet away, they all looked White. IMMEDIATELY, the wheels in my head started turning. So, I looked up a little info about the city. I found that according to the US Census of 2010, 92% of the population is White. Less than 3% is Black.
After reading that, I noticed that the starters were the only Black kids on the team. In essence, the team combined with the supporters were somewhat of a microcosm of the city.
I just started thinking about all of the colleges and universities I’ve read about as of late who are having students of color speaking out about the fact that we are underrepresented on college campuses in general, but tend to be the faces of popular sports.
I wasn’t going to write anything about it until I saw this tweet by Comedian Bill Maher, “March Madness really is a stirring reminder of what America was founded on: making tons of money off the unpaid labor of black people.”
To be honest, I can’t even tell you why I felt the need to write this. It isn’t to say that I feel like college athletes should be getting paid. It isn’t to say that we need Affirmative Action. It isn’t to make anybody feel bad for being White or a racial minority. I guess what I want to express is that it’s disturbing that Black people only seem to matter when their physical talents bring millions of dollars to the schools they represent.
It’s crazy that we tend to have such a small numerical presence at PWIs, but are the most popular football and basketball players.
I was playing with the kids the other day when I found out that Basketball Bill is the only Black character in the children’s card game Old Maid.
I’ll leave that for y’all to think about.
Perhaps we wouldn’t need die-ins and hashtags or t-shirts to convince others that #BlackLivesMatter if we didn’t wait until someone is murdered before we start our public outcries.
We are all victims of a broken system. We just need to admit that the system is broken so that we can stop having so many fall victim to violence.
Even if you’re the token at your job, it’s my earnest opinion that it’s your responsibility to educate your coworkers about your people. The issue we have though is not enough Black people know about our people to feel confident to have that discussion.