By: Taylor Bogert, Kiara Hyde, Chelsea Jackson (BYP Fellows)
Can a Black person ever truly outrun racism?
NBA superstar LeBron James found out the hard way when his California home was defaced by an unidentified person who spray painted the n-word on his front gate—the eve of the NBA Finals.
James talked thoughtfully about the incident saying “being Black in America is tough.”
While even the millionaire ball player couldn’t outrun racist acts, like so many Black Americans, TV sports host Jason Whitlock was unsympathetic. He said Black people like James don’t experience racism, that’s for poor Black people.
We beg to disagree.
Racism is real and has physical and mental effects.
One person’s negative attitude about a person’s race can show up in their decision making. This shows up in poor outcomes for many Black people in jobs, housing, policing and neighborhood investment.
Blacks still face discrimination in jobs: Just this week Vermont man Dwayne Muhammad sued LabCorp saying he was passed over for a promotion because of his race. The suit said his supervisor told him his job wasn’t to be logical or to analyze, his job was ‘to obey.”
Racial disparities in access to housing is still an issue for many Blacks today, too.
Studies show people of color have a considerably higher chance of being turned away from housing in communities based on their color and even just their name.
According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, from seeing a picture on an application for a house to snap judgements on the phone based on their name, people of color are often unfairly treated just because of their race.
People like Jason Whitlock argue that LeBron James and other affluent Blacks don’t experience racism. Racism is an active problem for all minorities and it is something that escapes socioeconomic status. LeBron James is a human who experiences racism the same way as every other Black man in America today. LeBron James is us.
People who think racism isn’t a real issue need to get back in touch with history and get in tune with reality.
Watch a video on this issue from the BYP Fellows below:
The BYP Fellows are Chicago high school students who participate in a summer intensive journalism class and regular Saturday writing workshops to develop their investigative reporting skills.