As these times continually meander forward, we find that there are infinite ways upon which absurdity can be visited on our lives.
By now most are aware of the recent fallout around ESPN's Jemele Hill and her Twitter comments regarding President Donald J. Trump being a white supremacist. However, it may have been ESPN’s knee-jerk decision to publicly reprimand Hill, that has emboldened a great deal of venom to be projected in her direction.
If I were a betting man, I’d wager that a very large number of those who fumed and frothed at the mouth over Charlottesville and the rights of racists to spew hate under police escort are some of the same ones who are now calling for Jemele Hill to be fired from the so-called Worldwide Leader in Sports.
Political theater is such that its pettiness would be almost chuckle worthy if the stakes weren't so high. Otherwise, it's just pathetic.
But when conventional wisdom is warped and bent by the dark energies of narcissism and hubris, reality becomes perverted. Yes, white supremacists have been operating our country all along, but there used to be a time when they operated like roaches. If one were to flip on the light of scrutiny, they would go scurrying into their hiding places; usually right in plain sight. Yet their true intentions are obscured by noble sounding titles or phrases.
“To protect and serve” is one such phrase “Justice is blind” is yet another. For many, "freedom" is the most flagrant of them all. Indeed, such phrases are highly idyllic.
But words and phrases don’t make the world go ‘round. Actions do. Actions cause the gears of society to move this way and that. Action, the act of doing, can pertain to physical, mental or even spiritual movement toward a more acceptable median in a society of free speech. Well, at least that’s the theory.
When Hill said what she did, the number of disgusting racist and sexist tweets she received may have been almost overwhelming. But a fierce fighting spirit and a very large support network, no doubt, has buoyed her during these turbulent times.
ESPN basically released an apology letter to white supremacists, explaining that Hill’s actions were her own and not the thoughts of ESPN. They came off looking like cowards, punks and, in the immortal words from Prodigy of Mobb Deep, shook ones.
"Ain’t no such things as halfway crooks, scared to death, scared to look, you shook…”
Though that classic line was about street activity as it relates to bravery, the same can be said in the current political environment of quasi-fascism and thinly-veiled white supremacists occupying the Oval Office.
Make no mistake, it takes guts to speak against the accepted truths of the land. However, media professionals of African-American descent increasingly find themselves in a position to speak upon race and culture in America at a seemingly accelerated rate due to the current political atmosphere, an atmosphere that has always existed yet is seldom admitted.
However, like water molecules in a pot of boiling water, the mainstream gets agitated when you put them through a test of fire via the free exchange of ideas.
Yesterday, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders called Hill’s tweet “one of the more outrageous comments that anyone could make and certainly something I think is a fireable offense by ESPN.”
Picture, if you will, any instances of the United States government publicly calling for the termination of a private citizen for exercising his or her First Amendment rights? What was so outrageous about calling a president who is actively trying to build a border wall, whose primary electing populous are (to be kind) Confederate-leaning and who refused to admonish aggressors who were admitted white nationalists, Nazis and neo-Confederates after Charlottesville, a white supremacist?
What was wrong about saying he surrounds himself with like-minded individuals, i.e. other white supremacists? She never made the comments on the air nor included them in anything related to ESPN.
One of the really sad parts about this is ESPN, in the business of writing and airing compelling content about athletes who have fallen victim to institutionalized racism, has been manipulated into censorship of one their employees speaking truthfully in her private life.
ESPN, the network that aired many stories on Brian Banks being swallowed up by white lies and racism, has now knowingly bent to its will.
What next? How safe is Jemele Hill’s job?
These answers are lost to all but the most intimate of insiders. But one thing is apparent, the First Amendment really doesn’t apply to black people.
This story originally appeared on The Shadow League.