A listener sent this to my attention and the headline/by-line got mine. There's a link to the original and I encourage you to read it before you move ahead.
The column, which appeared online in The Atlantic, is written by Jemele Hill. She is a smart, talented commentator who was not interested in keeping her political opinion off of ESPN. I respect Jemele, though seldom agree with her, because she packed up her notoriety and left the hefty paycheck of the shrinking, yet still behemoth, sports network.
First, the headline (again, read the article before moving on).
At the end, editors invited readers to write a comment or a letter to the editor. I chose the latter.
I am fascinated by Jemele's journey to being an activist.
For a bright, talented writer she denigrates her alleged cause. Let's begin with the very title which incorrectly suggests we have "white" colleges and universities. We do not, of course, have "white" only schools. We have schools where the majority of students may be one race or another, but we do not have white schools because we have moved on past such segregationist nonsense...or have we?
A "black" college is just fine because society has offered it as a peace offering of sorts, but a "white" college is taboo. The "black" Congressional Caucus is fine, but Lord knows a "white" Congressional caucus is never going to be allowed no matter what the racial breakdown may be in the future. And why should it, it’s divisive.
Having covered a legendary HBCU for years, Florida A&M University, I can tell you I encountered great people - not black people, not white people, but people. Coaches, faculty, administration, and students. In fact, my son was student-athlete at FAMU.
FAMU's issues begin and end with poor decisions, hires, and something as simple as the law of diminished expectations. Florida's Board of Governors, which oversees the State universities, had long given FAMU a pass and not held it to the same standards as the other state schools. It caught up to the school. One scandal after another - some big, some little. The end result was a lack of trust by FAMU Alumni to support the school's athletic department. And as a result of sub-standard facilities athletes went elsewhere.
However, the school's fortunes are changing with outstanding leadership in the President's office and with the latest Athletic Director. No one is pulling for FAMU more, but there's something else Jemele's column, ergo opinion, leaves out.
Is it possible athletes don't buy Jamele’s racist rhetoric?
Are there athletes who feel safer at schools with peeps of their own kind? Sure, but there are far more who just do not care, who love sports, love to compete on the highest level, who, in fact, do not feel what Jemele claims is an issue needing an action of some kind.
When I watch sports I see what most of America really reveals - a culture where color is irrelevant. Don't believe me? Watch celebrations of athletes, coaches, and fans. I find white fans cheering, buying jerseys, and supporting black athletes. I see people who love and support great athletes and doing so with their hard-earned money. Racists don't do cheer for the "other" race.
Racism will always exist because it is a matter of the heart. Racism is also where you choose to see it and perhaps Jemele is in some cathartic race to purge her heart of racist problems. Her preoccupation with fomenting the problem is telling.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, would be embarrassed and ashamed that someone who has risen to such a place of prominence and success would continue to sow seeds of discord.