Six-time NBA Champion and league’s Most Valuable Player Kareem Abdul-Jabbar expounded on his position on racism in America, stating that the reason there are more television shows on “Ghost Busters and not Racist-Busters,” is because whites are likely to believe in “ghosts” than they do the existence of racism. This comment suggests that whites are oblivious to the magnitude for which racism exists in this country.
Furthermore, many whites are under the impression that racism genuinely doesn’t exist because biracial President Barack Obama was elected. The fact is that having a mixed race leader isn’t validation that racism has been “eradicated.” Abdul-Jabbar suggested that instead it is merely a “milestone” and even more a “false sense of achievement that we’ve done everything that we need to do and that we could just slip back into being complacent.”
The topic of racism and it’s “existence” has been explored since the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner—black men killed by the hands of white police officers. These deaths have provided major insight into police brutality, their excessive usage of force, and killings primarily against black and brown men. Those in support of the officers’ decision to kill unarmed black men believe that racism played no part in their deaths and that the black men were “thugs” or “criminals,” who “resisted” the law. The latter says that the men were killed because they were black, profiled, and stereotyped as being “thugs” and “criminals,” resulting in their deaths and the lack of an indictment for either officers.
Quite frankly, it is simple to assume that law enforcement only profile, arrest, and kill the guilty when you are not a part of the group that’s being profiled, arrested, and killed. Abdul-Jabbar stated that “White Americans are not a group that is targeted, so it’s a surprise to many white Americans that discrimination and bias can affect people’s lives. They think it’s a thing of the past.”
Overall, no matter how many black or brown lives are taken by the possible “motive” of racism, one thing is for sure. There is a greater chance of someone witnessing an act of racism than there is seeing a “ghost.”
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