NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - Welcome into Juan’s World. If you’re like me, then you do some of your best thinking while riding the bike.
My trek this morning had me on the levee, thinking and wondering. How Do You See Me?
Take my job for example. Do you see me as a sportscaster that’s worked hard to get to where he is? Or, as a black sportscaster that got to where he is because of affirmative action? I mean, aside from my work in New Orleans, do you really know how I came to be here?
For better or for worse, as human beings, we draw conclusions about each other all the time. And quite often, those conclusions are heavily influenced by the color of someone’s skin.
I bring this up because of an email received recently about professional sports and race and how the latter is destroying the former.
A viewer wanted to get her point across to me about how ‘black players are so ungrateful for their opportunities.’
Clearly, she does not understand the many sacrifices these athletes have made to achieve their goals.
‘They have not suffered from inequality or injustice. That is so ridiculous’, she added.
And, she has not walked a single step in their shoes.
And not to draw this out any further, because I feel like you get the gist, the viewer concluded her letter with, ‘These players should be thanking God instead of complaining about nonexistent problems.’
I read this letter over and over and over again. My emotions have been all over the place. Furious, disgusted, disheartened, frustrated. But, mostly disappointed because this one persons viewpoint is the same as others in our society today.
But, the viewers final words to me resonated the most. That the players should be ‘thanking god.’
I imagine they do everyday. I imagine a great majority of us ‘thank God’ for the opportunities that we’re afforded in America.
Like....Freedom of Speech. I thank God that we, the people, can legally and peacefully protest injustice, inequality, police brutality and whatever else we want to protest.
I also thank God that I can tell my 14 year old daughter that, in America, she can be anything she wants to be and do anything she wants to do when she grows up, regardless of the color of her skin. Although, the path to get there probably won’t be as smooth as she hoped it’ll be. But, she can get there.
Kind of like those professional athletes that I talked about earlier who had to overcome obstacles to get what they have right now.
Those same professional athletes that are being told to ‘shut up and dribble’, or as the disgruntled viewer told me, ‘These players need to show up and do their job and keep their political complaints and opinions until after work.’
Thankfully, freedom of speech is a powerful thing and it’s a right for every American.
So whether it’s a player that’s kneeling before the anthem with fist raised high or a non-person of color walking in protest of the injustices that he or she has grown tired of seeing or experiencing. Remember, just as important as having freedom of speech is the freedom to listen and to actually hear what is being said.
Juan’s World, Juan’s World. Excellent!!!