During most segments of First Take, a weekday program aired on the ESPN sports network, the discussion focuses on a wide variety of topics ranging from football to basketball and even golf. However, on Friday morning, co-host Stephen Smith addressed the subject of race-related politics.
Responding to a feud between Cleveland Browns running back Jim Brown and Los Angeles Laker Kobe Bryant regarding their knowledge of the black culture in the U.S., Smith declared: “It makes absolutely no sense whatsoever” that black conservatives “are considered pariahs and are ostracized in our communities.”
The clash between the football and basketball stars started a week earlier, when Brown was a guest on Arsenio Hall's new weekday talk show on Wednesday, when he charged that Bryant “is confused” about black American culture because he grew up in Italy.
After stating that he thought Brown's remarks were "surprising," Bryant responded with this tweet: “A 'Global' African American is an inferior shade to 'American' African Americans?? #hmmm … that doesn't sound very #Mandela or #DrKing, sir.”
Then on Friday, Smith told First Take co-host Skip Bayless that he spoke with Kobe before that tweet was sent, and Bryant told him that this is “not a conversation that he’s running from. He welcomes the opportunity to have that conversation.”
Smith then noted:
When it comes to the African-American community, you have a plethora of individuals. For example, the black population hasn't given the Republican Party more than 15 percent of its vote since 1964.
And anybody who is deemed a black conservative, I am not one of them -- I'm a registered Independent, just to get that out of the way -- but those I know who are black conservatives are considered pariahs and are ostracized in our communities, and it makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.
The sportscaster and columnist then used the Brown/Bryant flap to illustrate what he considers a partisan political dynamic within the black community:
But this is how -- this is a problem that exists within our community. Because you are from our community, everybody believes that everybody is supposed to be identical to one another, and we can’t display or exercise any kind of versatility, alright, or range in our thinking.
It’s a problem that we have to deal with. It’s an internal problem that exists, and we’re going to have to handle it because if we don’t, we’re gonna see more Jim Browns speaking out against more Kobe Bryants, and we’re gonna see more Kobe Bryants retaliating against the likes of Jim Brown.
As Ben Shapiro of Breitbart.com posted, this was “not the first time Smith has courageously stepped outside the mainstream to defend free speech.”
While being interviewed by conservative radio talk show host Mark Levin on September 17, 2009, Smith said he was “disturbed” by charges of racism against the Tea Party.
“As an African-American growing up on the streets of New York City,” Smith stated, “I understand what trials and tribulations mean, but at the same time, I’m looking at what we’re witnessing from our president, a man I voted for … and I’m looking at what I consider to be a government takeover, and I’m quite alarmed.”
The clash between Bryant, Brown and Smith is yet another example of the Democrats' hypocrisy. While liberals claim to be proponents of diversity, their behavior is 180 degrees in the opposite direction. Martin Luther King, Jr., wished 50 years ago for a future in which his children “will live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”
Sidenote: Commenting on the discussion, Tommy Christopher of mediaite.com made a serious error of fact he posted:
Few would argue with Smith that black conservatives are treated with special contempt by many of the 90 percent-plus black people who vote Democratic, and while the Republican Party’s reputation on race issues is a contributing factor, Smith’s attribution of the phenomenon to reflexive rigidity is belied by his own facts.
He’s right that black people have voted overwhelmingly Democratic in the civil rights era, but even when the Democrats were still the party of the Ku Klux Klan, black voter party identification was still Democratic by a wide margin. This would appear to indicate that, while the Southern Strategy didn’t help, black support for Democrats has more to do with policy rather than identity.
That's just plain incorrect. As even the left-leaning FactCheck.org has noted, it was not until 1948 that a majority of black Americans began identifying themselves as Democrats: