The statement “black lives matter” underscores a theological belief that all life is sacred. Unfortunately the black community, and society as a whole, has been placed squarely in the jaws of a moral vice grip; in the aftermath of Treyvon Martin, Michael Brown and Eric Garner decisions how do we articulate righteous indignation from a position of moral authority when so much disrespect towards the sanctity of life comes from within our own camp?
Moral and social relativists have tried to reframe the argument against the black community’s outrage by saying “why don’t you protest when a black person kills a white person” or “what about when a black person kills another black person?” The obvious response is simple. First of all to insinuate that the black community has ever been anarchistic has no basis in reality. Research has long shown that the black community has, by and large, always valued effective and appropriate law enforcement. The recent, senseless murder of a young man trying to protect his twin brother in Chicago has been the topic of discussion in the black media ever since it happened. The boy’s mother has decried the lack of more law enforcement so that no one will have to go through what she’s going thru. Secondly when a black person commits a crime against one of our own the community expects them to be prosecuted fairly and appropriately. In other words the time should fit the crime. Lastly, black people go to jail in higher percentages than nearly any other ethnic group in this country. We don’t have the luxury of not being found guilty by a jury of our peers.
Sadly the bulk of these headline-grabbing events are nothing more than a deceptive smoke screen that is designed to deflect attention from the real battle. That battle is not black versus white nor is it rich versus poor as the media would gleefully have you believe.
The real battle is against the family.
The scourge of violence and death in the black community all originates from the same place: a broken home.
According to recent census data over 60% of black children are raised in a single parent home. More than 80 percent of those custodial parents are mothers. They tend to earn a quarter of what a two-parent household earns even though their expenses are higher due to child care and medical costs. Women historically earn less than men do, which places many of these families headed by a single parent at or below the poverty line. Struggling to survive financially becomes such an ever-present burden that effective child-rearing, a difficult task under the best of circumstances, becomes nearly impossible.
There is immutable evidence that there is a clear connection between poverty and crime. Typically in areas where there is a high concentration of poverty there is also a high concentration of crime. The social assistance programs that sprout up in these communities are not a substitute for a healthy, in intact nuclear family.
A healthy organism begins at the cellular level. Therefore an out of order society comes as a result of an out of order family. In other words if the body is sick you treat it at its most elemental level.
But our western society puts more emphasis on things that continue to make us ill. We are deceived into thinking that our lives are governed by the issue of race, class and gender. In the aftermath of the horrific events in Ferguson, MO and New York the media and most every talking head has served up an intoxicating concoction of injustices done to us by the police. Old stories are being dug up and presented as recent events, one sided and highly inflammatory opinions are being used to present an “us versus-them” mentality. At the end of the day both sides of the aisle are so angry and frustrated with the other that the end result is deeper and more entrenched division.
The deception has worked.
The art of deception is a war tactic that is accomplished when measures are taken to get the opponent to react to the wrong set of circumstances. This is what is happening today. People are being deceived that THE most important part of this whole movement is about police brutality and the lack of justice for black men at the hands of an adversarial legal system. And while these are valid points that need to be addressed, they are not where the heat of battle is taking place.
The war against the family is in full tilt. Everything from an emphasis on hyper-individuality which states that I am who I define myself to be regardless of immutable distinctions that were once defined as being gender related, to a blatant disregard for the scientific evidence that men and women are uniquely distinct from one another have all contributed to the demise of the family. Researchers at the University of California at Irvine have shown the how a woman’s brain and a man’s brain processes the same information differently. Their conclusion was that both sexes are equally intelligent but have unique advantages in different areas. This difference leads to different approaches in socialization. How we view the world, how we raise children, how we interact with those around us begins at this level.
Popular culture does not acknowledge this evidence. In fact it not only discounts it, but it seeks to destroy its very existence. Gross consumerism, runaway individuality and the complete lack of any moral center has become the rule of the day. Media outlets have been successful in branding “family values” as an outdated, dysfunctional, overbearing and freedom- killing relic of the past. This message has ushered us into this current age we live in where division, fear and hatred rule the airwaves.
Ultimately if we are going to fix anything within our own community we have to start at the root. That root is the family. Going to marches, listening to emotionally charged speeches, refusing to spend money at certain outlets, and continuing in the fight for justice and equality won’t mean a thing if we don’t attack the real problem. The deceptive tool of righteous indignation will only take us so far, but the tool of nourishing and recommitting ourselves to a strong nuclear family will insure not only the survival of a people, but of a nation.
Stop paying non-staff church musicians!
Let it sit. Stew in it for a few more minutes. Repeat.
Stop paying non-staff church musicians!
I don’t expect people who care about this topic to agree with me. In fact I expect to meet with a lot of resistance, if not outright hatred. But I’m not joking, nor am I holding back on the punch.
Stop paying non-staff church musicians!
There are clearly a million different directions I could go with this topic. But, for the sake of time and space I’m going to stick to three points. Those points are:
1) Being specifically appointed, or called to your position;
2) Is what you do an integral part of the gospel being proclaimed?
3) With ministry comes sacrifice;
Temple musicians have always been a very important part of worship. This very topic is brought up in the Old Testament where we see King David actually appointing entire families to be responsible for worship music. In fact these families produced 288 people who were skilled and trained musicians (1 Ch 25:4) whose sole job it was to declare the greatness and goodness of God through music.
Still you might think that, “why are you against musicians being paid?”
Hang in there, we’re almost to the bridge (all of my musician friends, er, ex-friends will know exactly what that means. If you’re not a musician it simply means we’re almost to the good part.)
Under God’s instruction when Moses divided the land of Israel among the 12 tribes, the tribe of Levi was strategically excluded. Instead it was their job to be the priests of the temple and preservers of everything associated with the temple. Because they weren’t allowed to do anything else God declared that they could have certain food offerings that were brought to the temple (Deut 18:1) in order to sustain themselves. Ultimately God tells the Levites that “I am your inheritance,” meaning that they were ultimately to rely on Him for provision.
It is here that the biblical foundation for who is supported by the ministry, I believe, is set into place.
This principle permeates the New Testament as well. You don’t think so?
In the New Testament the apostle Paul was; a) specifically called from being identified as Saul of Tarsus to being called Paul, arguably one of the most influential apostles of all time; b) His writings, teachings and mission work probably did more for spreading the gospel than any other apostle of his time; c) He sacrificed earthly comforts and even his life (Phil 3:7-8). Therefore, it is my opinion that he passes the biblical litmus test for being supported by the gospel (even though he often chose to sustain himself financially as a tentmaker (Acts 18:3). He did, however, occasionally receive support from believers while he was working on behalf of the gospel (2 Cor 11: 7-9).)
Fast forward to today. I know that it seems almost obscene to say that churches are businesses, but they are. They have bills to pay and people to support. I believe that if a musician is not an official member of the church staff, meaning they’re employed by the church, then their position should be on a volunteer basis. To put it plainly, if it’s work (and no job at a church is simply just “work”) then you’re in the wrong line of work. If it’s ministry, (and I think it I’m in-bounds by saying it should be) well, read on.
I don’t remember anywhere in the scripture where God did not amply reward someone who sacrificed something for Him. Relying on God for your provision takes, dare I say faith? (And of course no one is expecting you to sacrifice your life to play the drums on Sunday.)
If a musician only shows up because of a paycheck the church has established a very dangerous and destructive precedence. On whose provision are you forcing your musicians to rely upon? At the end of the day a musician also has a soul that needs to be fed by good theology. I understand the heart of compassion that a lot of ministries have towards their musicians. I get it. But, at the end of the day these churches aren’t doing these people any good if they’re not being consistent in their teaching.
I believe that sound theology should permeate every decision and contract that the church enters into. And why shouldn’t it? Jesus addressed both the practical and spiritual needs of people in his very first recorded miracle, which was turning the water into wine. This profound event had both deeply spiritual and practical applications. The church is not immune from this same methodology. Just writing a check, in many cases, is taking the easy way out.
And lastly, have we come to a point in our society where the only acceptable way to acknowledge the presence of a gift (i.e. musicianship) is by way of money? Sometimes a talent displayed in a sacrificial manner is much more profound than it would be if paying that person is compulsory.
This is something that I’m very passionate about (can’t you tell?) because all too often I see good musicians holding church leaders hostage by fleecing the weekly offerings by turning their gift into a “pay to play” exercise. I’m not detached from this reality because I used to be a church musician. I understand and appreciate, intimately, a musician’s role in worship.
In the end, above anything, I hope that this opens up a conversation between church leaders and their musicians. Ministries are very creative and resilient. They can, and should, find a way that is both theologically sound and legal to show how much they appreciate their musicians. It just doesn’t always have to be in the form of a check or wad of cash.
I used to cringe every time I heard a black woman cry about a black man they saw with someone from a different ethnic group. It used to literally make me nauseas because, to me, it assumed that just because people have the same outside wrapping means that they’re automatically supposed to be a match. The simplicity of such fallacious logic never made sense to me, but in this arena we weren’t dealing with logic. This was some straight emotional stuff sent over by the special effects department.
As this socially discomforting drama would unfold, quickly rising to a full scale code red alert the glaring black woman would often eventually enlist the help of a few friends who likewise expressed their utter contempt for what they saw. As the fully fueled and battle ready sortie readied themselves for takeoff I could only look on in pity at the poor, unsuspecting villains who, until the storm clouds of dissension had formed, were probably having a good time. And God please don’t let it be a white girl. That was usually his, and her, death warrant.
Over the years I learned that their anger/frustration wasn’t random. It was very specific. Yes, and while the often unsuspecting female companion was made to feel as unwelcome as someone showing up to fashion week in Paris wearing overalls and an Elmo t-shirt it was the black man who received the majority of the visual gunshot blast. The often raw emotions hid what was really at the core of the reaction: the black man consciously chose the other.
Being told that we live in a society that values a more Eurocentric standard of beauty is a foregone conclusion. Most of the fashion magazines that you see while standing in line at the grocery store display images that, except for hair color, could pretty much all be the same woman. Whenever a Black woman graces one of these covers it becomes such a big deal because, well, it’s out of the norm to say that something not gleefully Eurocentric is actually worthy of being a standard of beauty.
And then there are cultural differences. The African culture is a very expressive, live out loud experience. How we love, how we communicate, how we feel music, how we dance, how we desire, they all solicit passion. It is a fundamental element of who we are as a people.
Of course there are varying in-house degrees of temperance. We’re not all running around a fire, naked, at night on the beach (which sounds kind of cool…and is actually something an “other” girlfriend once told me her family thought black people did…seriously). Some of us find it equally fulfilling sitting in a quiet room all day long fully engaged in a book, a variety of cheeses and a cup of herbal tea.
While we may all have the same root truly there are many different branches to our tree. That we are not monolithic is quite evident, but rarely a message that we hear.
The prevailing messages that we do hear and see tend to be the most damaging ones. For instance, if you turn on the radio and listen to pop music, most of those messages are two-dimensional at best. They mostly consist of “your booty is_____________” or “I’m wanna take you home and _____________”, or “let’s ________”. All of the songs sound the same. And the videos are…let’s just say they’re pretty much soft porn. In them women have been reduced to being the basest form of sexual objectification. In fact that’s their only job. Having a big butt and walking across the screen in clothes that are too tight must be a hard job to cast for.
So the next logical role that many young women feel forced into assuming, if they want to get the attention of the vast majority of young hustlers, ballers and shot callers, is that they have to look like the video girls. So now you have an inordinate amount of young women getting boob jobs, butt jobs, ribs removed and plastic surgery. And what’s the result? You have an army of young women, and men, sprinting to the bottom of social decency.
My goal is not to bemoan pop culture. It is what it is. It has always been about making money by appealing to the least common denominator in people. I get it. But when you look at the most recent study by the Centers for Disease Control regarding marriages by ethnic groups and out of four distinct ethnic groups in this country, black women have the lowest rate of marriage at 29%. Conversely, research conducted by the Guttmacher Institute reveals that black teens between the ages of 15-19 have the hands down highest rate of all abortions at 41%.
So, do you still think those images don’t do any damage? Of course they do. These images make it easy to perpetuate the myth of the oversexed black woman. The numbers above speak for themselves. There’s a lot of sex going on, but not a lot of marrying. Consciously choosing a black woman to be your wife is quite different than choosing a black woman to go to bed with. Those two are not even remotely the same thing.
Sometimes consciously choosing a black woman means turning off the television, getting up from in front of the computer screen and actually going out and meeting one of them. That takes a lot of courage and a lot of men are chickens. It’s easy to hit it and quit it. That doesn’t take any social skill nor does it exhibit the kind of backbone that it takes to create a legacy. Why not choose a black woman to settle down with? That means you’ll have to suspend any pre-conceived notions that you may have (see fears) and realize that they’re as fiercely loyal, passionate, creative, complicated, endearing, loving, supportive, calculating, multifaceted, intelligent, reserved, vulnerable, alluring, articulate and physically wondrous specimens as any woman worth loving is.
Whew, can you smell that? Of course you can’t now, but wait a few minutes. There it is…there it is. Now let it settle. A ninja just passed some strong smelling evidence of garlic, grain and milk from the night before…and then disappeared.
Silencers are the deadliest of all gasses. You know what I’m talking about. You’ve eaten something that comes back to surprise you in a gastrointestinal kind of way. I call it the dirty ghost. It’s the noxious trail of tears that you leave in your wake as you cleverly maneuver yourself away from the scene of the flatulence crime.
Even stink would say that stinks!
Now that I have your attention, let’s talk about another gas.
Russia and the United Stated are the world’s top producers of the stuff. The United States, thanks to new technology (see fracking) has recently unseated the one-time champ of all time. Russia still has the upper hand in the global economy though as they are obligated, by contract, to provide natural gas to all of Western Europe. Without their gas supplies many parts of Western Europe would simply freeze during the often harsh winters.
Now, before you get started, the United States, under then President George W. Bush, because of a belief that our supplies were dwindling, considered importing natural gas from Russia. We had a real world problem. How do we prevent half of our country from freezing if we run out of natural gas during a harsh winter? Russia was a practical solution, albeit a risky political alliance.
Now the suits in Washington have started their collective finger pointing and ideological saber rattling against what Russia is doing in Crimea. By referendum, albeit true or fake, Ukrainians in Crimea, most of who are ethnic Russians, have voted to rejoin the Russian Union. In other words they want to become part of Mother Russia again.
So what’s the big deal?
Most Americans are unaware that Crimea is a small peninsula in the Black Sea that is north of Turkey and East of Romania. Had it not been for the recent Winter Olympic Games in Sochi most Americans wouldn’t even know where that part of the world is. Needless to say it’s not a region of the world that holds any strategic geographical advantages for the United States, unless it’s about……..natural gas. Crimea is the home of a major natural gas pipeline that comes from….wait for it, wait for it, RUSSIA.
So what does this have to do with anything? One of my all-time favorite Arizona Cardinals, Rod Tidwell, said it best when he exclaimed, “show me the money!”
The president of Russia, Vladimir Putin, has never really been an ideological friend of the United States. Big deal, we’ve never really been an ideological friend of his either, so we’re even. However, whenever he starts to flex his muscles everyone in the European Union, and thus America by default, starts to take notice. This is no different (even though I find it somewhat hypocritical for us to get involved in the internal affairs of sovereign nations, but that’s a different topic.)
A few weeks ago, Speaker of the House John A. Boehner said
“One immediate step the president can and should take is to dramatically expedite the approval of U.S. exports of natural gas. The United States has abundant supplies of natural gas, an energy source that is in demand by many of our allies, and the U.S Department of Energy’s excruciatingly slow approval process amounts to a de fact ban on American natural gas exports that Vladimir Putin has happily exploited to finance his geopolitical goals. We should not force our allies to remain dependent on Putin for their energy needs.”
So, if we don’t want our allies to become dependent on Putin, then who do we want them to become dependent on? It should not go without notice that Halliburton, yes, Halliburton has started exploring for natural gas in Poland and Shell Oil just signed a contract that allows them to explore for natural gas in, wait for it, wait for it….Ukraine!
In other words, become dependent on us, not them.
There’s a valid argument for price competitiveness of the global market for natural gas. Anytime there’s a monopoly on anything you’re asking for rampant corruption. I get that. But Boehner’s statement goes both ways. If Putin is using his resources to spread his geopolitical goals, then won’t the United States do the same? And as much as I hate to say this everyone in the world doesn’t, nor should they, aspire to live our way of life, nor do they want to live a Russian life.
In the end I fear this is, once again, about the almighty dollar. Rod Tidwell was right. We want access to Russia’s global market for natural gas. Russia wants to keep those markets. In the interim, as always, we have to create a boogey man who wants to kill us. To me, this one is simple. It’s not about politics. It’s about money. It’s about money that comes from the sales of natural gas.
And it stinks!
Hi. How have you been?
When I was flipping through the television channels the other day I saw you. I sat down to watch. I listened. It’s been awhile since I let you back in. After we broke up it was hard for me because, well, we were so close before. I couldn’t bear to even hear your voice, let alone see you. The distance was good for my own sanity, but not for reasons that you might think.
I didn’t want it to end, and I don’t think you did you either. At least that’s what you said, but we both knew that it couldn’t continue the way it was going. We were fighting too much.
There was a time that I believed that we were going to last forever. We were like peas and carrots, like okra and collard greens, like cheese and macaroni. We were loyal to one another. Inseparable is what we used to say to each other.
I was ready to do what it took to stay.
Ours was a romance that was never supposed to happen anyway. I had only dated people my parents and peers approved of, and so did you. I think the danger of it all helped make our bond stronger. I still remember the first day we met. I thought you were beautiful in a way that I had never even considered admiring before. You were new, fresh, bold, and alive. You thought I was chasing you just for the benefits.
But you were wrong. I really liked you.
You took the time to get to know me, to know my fears and my feelings of inadequacy. You took me whole, flaws and all, and still answered the phone when I called you the next day.
And then we fell in love.
We both wanted the same things. We were both impatient and wanted what we wanted now. No excuses. No long speeches. No acts of appeasement. We had both grown tired of the status quo.
We wanted the real.
Do you remember the time we both stood outside in the rain registering voters? It was you, me and an ironing board along with a bag full of voter registration forms. I would go chasing after people as they tried to avoid us “You said you were going to sign this,” I’d jokingly yell at them. They’d start to laugh as I cut off their escape route and give them a pen to sign. Then you would walk up behind me and their entire facial expression would change, like I had done something wrong.
I knew that it hurt you. I wish I could’ve made it go away.
But you put on your tough face and said that it didn’t bother you, “that people had a right to choose or reject.” But I knew that it bothered you deeply because you kept talking about it later on when it was just the two of us. I understood. No one likes being rejected for who they are and what they believe. I had dealt with that every day of my life and it had deadened parts of me. I had learned to deal with it. You took a different approach. You weren’t able to handle it that way. You said that was unacceptable, and you wouldn’t have it. I found it particularly refreshing that you took a different approach to something neither of us had control over. I had never thought enough of myself to question what I had been bred into believing was an unfortunate reality.
But that’s what made us work. We were in the trenches together, changing the world one person at a time. I had your back and you had mine.
Then things started to change. I don’t know if it was me or if it was you. You said that I stopped looking at you the same way. I said that what you wanted from me was unsustainable and unrealistic. When people disagreed with us you began saying things like “they’re stupid,” or “that’s typical.” Those words came from pain, not from your heart. I knew the difference. I knew who you really were. But I guess eventually you just got tired of feeling like you had to defend yourself.
Still, I found a problem with your new resolve.
“So, why do you say they’re stupid?”
“Because THEY are. THEY are never going to change,” you said.
“What makes us any different than them,” I asked.
That’s when you said the words that cut me like a hot, fiery blade.
“You’re not one of them. You’re different.”
I never forgot those words. They put a sour taste in my mouth, like I had been forced to swallow an old dirty boot.
Did I have to be ontologically distinct from the masses that looked, lived and thought like I used to think in order to be in the “in crowd”? That really opened my eyes and made me think, what made me the “other” in your eyes.
And was I the “other” in the eyes of my peer group as well?
You started becoming hypersensitive and ham fisted about ideals, IDEALS. The ideals became more important than the people they were designed to help. In other words the message became more important than the vehicle. It seemed that you became obsessed with countering the ideas of others and saying why they weren’t good for the common good of everyone.
And you became very angry and defiant. You weren’t the same anymore.
That’s when we began fighting more. Every word that we said to one another became a problem. If we weren’t with your friends you were very short and rude. I didn’t know you anymore.
You said the same about me.
When I saw you on TV the other day my heart became sad because I know that we had something really special at one time.
Just the other day my girlfriend asked me “why did you break up with your ex?” I didn’t have an answer that was sufficient. On TV the other day I found myself agreeing with some of the things you said. It felt good. Maybe one day we’ll meet up again. I would like that.
Until that time I wish you well.
Your former boyfriend
Abbot and Costello made a great comedy team. One of their more hilarious routines was the “Who’s on First” bit. What made the routine so funny was that no matter how much Abbott pleaded for clarity, Costello would repeatedly confuse the matter in a nonchalant way that insinuated to his comedy partner that it was his fault for not understanding something seemingly so simple.
Fast forward to the characters we have running the government today and you wonder the same question: Who’s on First?
Everyone knows that the current healthcare system is screwed up. It doesn’t take a scholar to figure that out. We don’t need special interest group-sponsored doctors telling us that we should “stay the course” and everything will be fine, nor do we need poverty pundits, and yes, I said it, poverty pundits telling us the sky is falling when it comes to healthcare costs in this country.
We can all smell the stench that is rising from the trash heap But like any pile of garbage it’s hard to pinpoint exactly where the odor is originating from. Is it the leftovers we threw away last night, or the dirty diaper we threw away a week ago?
Here’s the twisted reality that I believe is at the core of this problem: Physicians, for the most part, actually want the patients they treat to get well. The insurance companies, most of which are either publically or privately owned, want to make a profit. So, how do you make a profit out of sick, dying people? Easily; you charge the healthy ones, you charge them deep, and you charge them that way for as long as you can.
I recognize that I’m oversimplifying a very complex problem. But I’m only bringing this to the table to illustrate that there isn’t only one answer, and you would think that our elected officials would understand and agree to that. There has to be compromise, which in Washington seems to be equivalent to saying another c-word.
Depending on who has the mic, this allegedly is what is going on behind closed doors. But, this is far from the truth. What we have here is a stalemate in reverse; it’s very stale and nowhere near mating.
The Affordable Healthcare Act has been ratified as law by the Supreme Court. Get over it! It’s done. Depending on who you listen to this act is either the greatest assault on life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness that we have ever seen in our lifetime, or it’s the greatest thing next to sliced raisin toast with cinnamon swirl.
I understand the hesitancy of those who aren’t crazy about it. Never before in this country, minus slavery, has by virtue of being alive meant that you are immediately indebted to a controlling agency. Think about it. Auto insurance is mandatory only if you own a car. Homeowners insurance is necessary only if you own a home. Health insurance is now mandatory if you’re….breathing. It’s attached to you being a living, corporeal being. Yeah, let that settle in a little. The individual mandate is a tax on being alive.
There are a lot of people (Tea Party) who take a hardline against taxes of any kind. These people (Tea Party) are great with pointing out the problems of what has been retitled Obama care, but have yet to offer a solution whose logical conclusion doesn’t include sending the poor person who gets sick out to sea in a burning boat. (I mean, really, who doesn’t want to go out like a Viking? Just think of the cottage industry that it would create.)
Republicans, for the most part, have tried to push Tort reform, which puts limits on how much a plaintiff can sue for if they claim and prove that they’ve suffered damages while under a physician’s care. It is believed that the amount of money that is spent on frivolous lawsuits and overzealous juries prevents the medical field from being able to lower prices for care. And while this might be a component of the problem, it is, by no means, the whole solution.
But here’s the rub against the often impassioned pleas of the Republicans against the scourge of “Obama care”; Mitt Romney, their presidential candidate, proposed and signed into law a very similar program in Massachusetts in 2006. Yes, Massachusetts is a lot smaller, but after some tweaking (not twerking) it has been hailed as one of his greatest and most long lasting of his achievements. The individual mandate has been most effectively put in place by, dare I say, a Republican. So it’s not that it won’t work, it’s that “our guy” isn’t the one doing it.
Democrats have sheepishly boarded the support train behind this president who was sent over from central casting and have formed a human shield around the executive office. I can only imagine that had the president been a republican, the democrats would be doing the same thing that the republicans are doing now.
And who suffers from this political gridlock? The people do. The powers that be don’t get their way, so let’s screw the people.
So again I ask………who’s on first?
A few months ago I’m standing and talking with one of the other parents on my son’s soccer team. He and I have known each other for quite a while now and have a mutual respect for one another. So, when the following conversation happened I was a little surprised. It went like this.
Him: “Man, your son is super-fast. I thought my kids were fast, but your son has cheetah speed. Were you fast when you were a kid?”
Me: “Yes, I was very fast at their age, faster than most.”
Him: “Can I ask you a question?”
Me: “Ssssuuurrre….” (Spider senses started to tingle).
Him: “My sons are the fastest kids on their track team, but when we went over to (insert name of all black high school in an all-black neighborhood) those kids made my sons look so slow.”
Me: “So your question is?”
Him: “Do black kids have an extra leg muscle back there or something?”
Welcome to no wiggle room Wednesday. Today’s topic is: Are black athletes inherently faster than white athletes?
It is well documented that slave owners, Thomas Jefferson being one of them, practiced what is known as selective breeding. Because slaves were looked at as a valuable financial asset (they were the second largest cash asset in the southern states), they were treated like cattle and bred for certain desirable characteristics that could be passed onto their children.
To do the type of back breaking labor that most slaves had to do, a wispy looking runway model type with soft hands and small, lady-like ankles would not do. You wanted muscle, strength, shoulders the width of a boxcar, a back as strong as a train of oxen. In other words you didn’t want a Michael Jackson, you wanted a Bo Jackson.
Often a strong male was forced to impregnate an equally strong female. The end result was baby Hercules. And, because institutionalized slavery lasted in this country for over 200 years, and forced segregation lasted another 102 years (laws that made intermarriage between black and white illegal were ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in 1967) the gene pool remained small and became more defined.
In other words, there was a bunch of baby Hercules.
Nobody wants to talk about this in our overly politicized society, but the fact of the matter is this: professional athletics in this country is the unintended beneficiary of the darkest moment in our American history.
Of course the white athlete has his place in history. I would argue, however, that had there not been forced segregation in all professional athletics black athletes would’ve been equally dominant in football before Fritz Pollard in 1919, in basketball before Church Cooper in 1950, and in baseball far earlier than Jackie Robinson. It can be argued that black boxer Jack Johnson would’ve won the world heavyweight championship had James Jeffries, who was white, not refused to face him in as early as 1900.
Not all black people were physical specimens of epic proportion. We can’t all run like cheetahs or dunk the basketball or outrun defenders or hit the baseball a country mile. Some of us missed that portion of the genetic gravy train. Still, there are enough that would give the casual outside observer the impression that we’re all physical wunderkinds, that we all have an extra leg muscle hidden away somewhere.
Sadly, that’s simply not the case.
Fast forward back to my conversation:
Me: “No, last I checked there was no extra muscle back there. I think it’s because we’re used to being chased.”
Him: (awkward silence)
Me: “Just kidding.” (I couldn’t resist it)