Photo via Wikipedia Creative Commons
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 be racist. 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. 5
Photo via Flickr User Mullan Alzheimer
–Former Florida Governor, Florida State Senator, Florida Education Commissioner and Florida Attorney General (shit, this guy's had more jobs than Chris Hardwick, Ryan Seacrest, Carson Daly and Charlie Rose combined) Charlie Crist claimed in a recent TV appearance that he left the Republican Party mainly due to perceived racist attitudes in the GOP toward President Obama. The conventional wisdom is that Crist's willingness to give Obama a bro-hug during an event promoting the President's economic plan sealed his 2010 defeat to US Senate opponent Marco Rubio. In that race, Crist had already left the GOP to become an independent, but two years later, Crist went full donkey and re-registered as a Democrat.
His comments come at a pretty odd time, as he's engaged in a tight race with incumbent Republican Governor Rick Scott. Maybe it's Crist doubling down on his base, or just the act of a man who's had too much over-the-counter cough syrup, but this could seriously alienate him from the moderate voters that tend to swing an election in a purple state one way or another. Just to throw some salt in the wound, Crist's nemesis Senator Rubio called Crist's comments "absurd" and "ridiculous and silly" in an interview with Fox News. If a guy begging for support from within his own party is putting you on blast, you should probably take a second to reconsider your strategy. Also, Crist is one to talk about racism, since he's so orange that he's practically created his own brand new ethnicity. 5
Photo via Flickr User accidentalpaparazzi
–Kim Kardashian is speaking out about racism, which is sure to turn the tide of intolerance any day now. Kardashian posted a blog entry which details her newfound understanding of racial politics. She attributes this awareness to the birth of her first child, North West. Let this be a lesson to all of you out there: having a baby solves all of your problems. Not the world's problems, just yours. 1
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