I constantly tire of writing about blacks shaming and admonishing other blacks out of standing up for issues such as non-police brutality, poverty, and alas, racism.
But before I launch into the foolishness of Cleveland Browns coach Hue Jackson, let me first share the following. This blog post will serve as a bit of self-reflection.
The crap Jackson spewed at his press conference earlier this week reminded me of a lot of the things I used to say.
I used to think that me going to college, staying out of trouble, and having a great career would keep me out of trouble. In other words, doing the right things.
I used to decry fellow brothers and sistahs who would run afoul of the law, and wonder just how they could be content with living such a hard life (actually, I STILL think that from time to time). I would often think, I got mine, why can’t you do the same and get yours’? I’d go further and, in an attempt to stay above the fray, I would say stuff like…
If you work hard enough, you wouldn’t have so much trouble in life.
I’m not going to get involved with any social stuff. That has nothing to do with me.
While I am still not FULLY “all in” on the latter, I have been gradually moving in that direction.
I look at what’s been going on in the news. Unarmed black men (and boys) being killed by police. Wannabe vigilantes “fearing for their lives” when encountering black boys.
I think about the few times I’ve had dubious encounters with law enforcement. I thought about the time in Myrtle Beach where my fellow black friends and I were going to board an elevator – the only functional one in the hotel where we were staying – with two white women, only for one of the them holding her awesome friend back because she didn’t want to ride with us.
As scary and disappointing as those memories were, those thoughts not even approach how horrifying they would be if I were replaced with my son.
After all, being a dad changes one’s perspective, especially if your child is a little black boy.
So while I still have a waaaays to go in evolving into an activist of some sort, I have at least gained a perspective which allows me to speak out a little more on things that are not right.
Which leads me back to Jackson.
I get that he feels uncomfortable speaking out on social issues. I get that he would rather go behind the scenes to do something. But Jackson should NOT discourage the same young black men he leads from doing the same.
Why – especially as a black man – should Jackson get in the way of the protests? Why publicly threaten players?
Was Jackson thinking about his job security? After all, his Browns suck and it doesn’t look like things will be getting better anytime soon.
Nevertheless, I think it’s time for Hue to do the same self-reflecting that I did (and am constantly doing).
What helped him get a head coaching job in the NFL, particularly when many more qualified men of color were passed over? What helped him get a second chance after the way he screwed up his first in Oakland?
Maybe a little bit of introspection and self-awareness would lead him to a change of heart and help others – and maybe HIMSELF – to make a difference.
That’s the only way things would “smooth over” as he would like…