Tuesday, July 13

In the LeBron Situation, Racism is Just a Red Herring

Race is still an issue in this country and all around the world and it will continue to be as long as people still walk it. Our own country's history has hostile and shameful racial divides woven into the fabric of its story that will not be abated with time. Even the election of a black president cannot wipe the slate clean. We have this issue and it exists, it is complicated and sports often serves as a platform to debate and discuss race. The issue of Dan Gilbert's response however, has nothing to do with racism.

Gilbert's letter and subsequent radio interview has no racial motivation behind it. He was hurt and offended that James did not keep in contact with him and then embarrassed his organization and city during his hour-long farce on ESPN. Dan went over the line in his attack on LeBron, but it was not racially motivated. However it did not take long for the straws that stir the racial debate drink to float to the surface.

Who better to represent the agitators than Jesse Jackson? The "reverend" got directly to the point, accusing Dan Gilbert of having the mentality of a slave-owner and even comparing LeBron leaving Cleveland to a slave leaving the plantation. Despite stating the obvious that comparing LeBron to a slave is ridiculous, the theoretical intricacies of a more clouded analogy. The difference is akin to dissecting a song. The songwriter may intend one message or emotion when he wrote it but the listener can interpret it however he or she wants. The listener is free to make those interpretations but they cannot judge the songwriter based on those. If Jackson and others want to examine the relationship between owners and predominantly black players they are more than welcome, it just has no place as an explanation for the motivation of the comic sans letter.


gerakis100 said...

This is Mass communications 101, the Fiske Theory

Cleet said...

I'll admit I had to look up the Fiske theory. Not sure if I unintentionally touched on it or not.