America is an ugly nation festering in racism, abusing athletes and criminalizing poverty. Current protests are the continuation of a centuries-old battle for justice, says Roger Reeves in a rant bellowing bitterness on ESPN’s The Undefeated blog.
A poet and assistant professor at the University of Illinois, Chicago, Reeves wrote an essay on the last five years in black America for The Undefeated. His view of America is that it’s a scorching hot mess, and his essay is filled with one anti-American invective after another.
The U.S. is “a burning house, and African Americans are trying to escape “the flames of its inequity.”:
“(T)he nation shoots back at us, refusing to allow us out of the fire. Refuses to allow us to save ourselves because it is our destruction that is wanted. For this is the legacy of slavery. Our American inheritance.”
Blacks respond by protesting, writing letters, “doing police abolition work,” kneeling and boycotting.
Black athletes are standing in outfields, sitting in dugouts absorbing the fans’ racial insults. Journalists “demand they stick to what they’re getting paid to do – provide us circus, spectacle, distraction. And doing this over and over again. …”
The ongoing struggle for civil rights, justice, equity and jobs in America shamefully demonstrates the nation’s refusing to come in under the shadow of its espoused ideals of justice and democracy. So the young are bearing “the ethical and moral failure of the generation before” and trying to push the country forward.
“What the summer of 2020 and the subsequent uprisings made clear was that the civil rights movement and even the Civil War were not over,” Reeves wrote. It was when the Milwaukee Bucks and other pro sports teams threw fits and refused to play ball because the criminal Jacob Blake was shot while resisting arrest in Wisconsin. It was when pro basketball leagues draped themselves in social justice, namely Black Lives Matter, taking offense to claims that all lives matter.
Seven years ago, Knox College basketball player Ariyana Smith performed a “die-in” by lying on the court for 4 minutes and 30 seconds before the start of a game to protest the killing of Michael Brown by Ferguson, Missouri police officer Darren Wilson. This is part of what Reeves described as athletes picking up “bloodstained banners of past struggles” and marching on.
It’s considered settled debate by Reeves that mostly minority student-athletes are exploited by big-money sports. Leading them to stand at the forefront of “the movement to decolonize the university and their surrounding community because of the racial and economic logic that puts their bodies in the space of the university, in the space of the world.”
Reeves agrees with the claim by black author James Baldwin that for Black folks to make it out of poverty they must be able to box, sing or dance. America then exploits those talents. Reeves concludes that what’s at stake is who gets to live and who must die.
The glass isn’t half empty. There is no glass, according to this excessively triggered race-baiter.