'Privileged,' Utah Jazz star Kyle Korver's powerful essay on race in the NBA and America

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2019/04/08/privileged-utah-jazz-star.html


Good on him.




I think the point isn’t how we feel anymore, though. The point is to act.

Ain’t that the truth.

ETA: And now having read it, I agree, great statement. His own action, he says, is to listen. Which is great, and he should give himself credit for publishing that piece too. And if push comes to shove, and NBA players start say, kneeling, I hope he joins that too. I was disappointed to see so few white NFL players join that action, especially big-name ones, the chickenshits.


Great essay. I have personal experience with that insidious, reflexive first take he describes and the shame that follows it.

Read, listen, and do better.


By comparison to the people who teach our kids and dig our ditches?

Absolutely; but that unfair and illogical disparity which is so entrenched in US society is another topic, all together.


I hope this guy doesn’t get a lot of hate mail and twitter trolls and threats and people burning his jersey, but I expect he will.

I always try to think of logical, succinct ways to explain stuff to set-in-their-ways Americans (call them conservatives if you want) and I tend to think there isn’t anything that will get through to most of them, even a really well written, thoughtful and thought provoking piece like this. Undoubtedly Rush Limbaugh is working on an angry rebuttal now, one that ignores the meat of Korver’s piece and focuses on one or two sentences that can be twisted to his aims, and we’ll be seeing/hearing Rush’s argument everywhere.

But that doesn’t mean I’m giving up hope. Go out of your way for your fellow humans. Be generous and helpful and respectful. If the haters are always going to be haters, what else can you do.


Oh, sure there is; starvation and unfathomable physical suffering have a way of making people reconsider even their most deeply held convictions… but not until it’s already far too late.

Right on; just giving up isn’t an option.


They are also WAY down the list of people who are overpaid, behind techbros, hedge fund managers, CEOs, etc, etc, etc.

When you factor in that most pro athletes only have about a 5 year career, even the ones who make tens of millions of dollars a year have to make that money last the rest of their life. The ones who live like they are going to make that kind of money for decades are the ones who end up homeless.

I know a few guys who played pro ball (two football, one basketball). They lived modestly while in the pros and used the money they saved up to start businesses after they retired from sports. Two are doing well, though more what you would call upper-middle class. One is in trouble. His businesses failed, he ended up taking loans out to try to keep them afloat, and now he’s deep in debt. :frowning:


"What I’m realizing is, no matter how passionately I commit to being an ally, and no matter how unwavering my support is for [People] 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.

In other words, I can say every right thing in the world:

I can voice my solidarity with Russ after what happened in Utah. I can evolve my position on what happened to Thabo in New York. I can be that weird dude in Get Out bragging about how he’d have voted for Obama a third term. I can condemn every racist heckler I’ve ever known.

But I can also fade into the crowd, and my face can blend in with the faces of those hecklers, any time I want.

I realize that now."


“And I guess I’ve come to realize that when we talk about solutions to systemic racism — police reform, workplace diversity, affirmative action, better access to healthcare, even reparations?”

Would the reparations be progressive? I’ve seen so many throw out the idea, but notice that virtually no politicians ever want to go on the record with an actual plan. IMO, when they discuss the idea in the abstract, it is with zero intention of ever actually doing anything.

Your comment made me think of this quote by Jonathan Swift - “It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing he was never reasoned into.”

I keep trying to debate these issues, but I have become more selective in who I debate because some people just react emotionally and then it starts going down hill very quickly.


That was also the key section for me. Privilege of any sort grants one options that those without privilege don’t have, and often encourages one to take the option that will preserve one’s privilege rather than extend it to others. In the context of the skin privilege discussed in the article, for example, there’s a long history of racists deciding to misuse science and technology to do so.


I am fond of saying “there’s no point in the liberals and conservatives (I use those terms broadly) having any kind of debate, because we can’t even agree on what constitutes reality.” Typically when I discuss these things with someone on the right I lead off with that, it gives me room to back out if the conversation goes sour. “Sorry, I don’t believe in “the deep state”, I think you guys made that up to excuse criminal behavior, we may as well be debating how many angels can fit on the head of a pin.”

I think “reparations” has come to mean “a cash payout” to many people, and that makes it a dead issue politically. However in the service of affirmative action programs it could be approached by both sides with some progress. “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, teach a man how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” Government provided education, job training, financial counseling, medicine, etc.


Some modern conservatives don’t so much disagree on what constitutes reality but just express complete contempt for it.

To make up for centuries of government-enabled denial of all of the above to African-Americans. This is a good way to look at the concept of reparations.


Except for several of the recent democratic candidates who have started to put out some policy positions on reparations.


Athlete pay is relative to the market/demand, which supports that pay even through astronomical price increases since the early 90s. At some point when overall attendance drops (I’m not sure why we haven’t passed this point yet, as the main spectator sports all seem to boast increased attendance figures each year), there would in theory, be a correction. But at this point, athletes making less means more of the money fed into the sport goes into ownership’s lap. I’d prefer the labor get their fair share of the pie, even though that pie is monstrously large - they’re the ‘product’, and without them there is no sports entertainment.


I reiterate;

Very true, but I seriously doubt that it will ever come to fruition; it’s too costly a debt to ever repay in full, even if the majority of our society was actually in favor of it (which of course, is not the case.)

Rather than hope for reparations which are unlikely to ever come, I’d like to see more even conscious action on the part of our true allies; in changing the unjust laws, creating new policy, holding one another accountable, and immersing themselves in real community engagement that will have an actual positive impact in POC’s everyday lives.


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