Last night I watched an absolutely amazing game of basketball. Despite bleeding Carolina Blue and realizing that it is truly hard to say “Go Duke”… Credit must be given where credit is due. Thus, #GoDuke.
Back to my original thoughts, last night, I watched a great game of basketball.
With only ten percent of the student body being African American and less than one percent being American Indian, Duke, like many other primarily white institutions, is a world of it’s own. Seething with dominate white ideology. A tough place to grow and thrive as a minority. I know this. Believe me. I attended Carolina.
But like many other institutions, the demographics of our sports teams tell a different story. Primarily African American, our young men of color compromise the key spots in the athletic programs that bring in millions of dollars for these institutions. 64% of the Duke basketball team is African American. Many people will never understand the social angst of walking around a campus where no one looks like you. Even worse, walking around a campus where the student body elects to hang “noose’s” in the trees. This angst is mirrored at Carolina as students of color represent an extremely small portion of the student population and are forced to face the realities of racism daily.
But let me tell you something, last night, white people ‘loved’ those black bodies. They jumped and cheered. Cried and screamed for those black bodies. When those black bodies won they hugged them and kissed them. When those black bodies brought home the fifth National title for Duke, those white people celebrated those black bodies. Just as they celebrate the black bodies of NFL and NBA players.
But would they celebrate those black bodies if they were just walking down the street? Would they hug and kiss those black bodies if they did not have on jerseys? Would they lock their doors and turn their heads of those black bodies weren’t on the basketball team?
Dear, dear, dear friends, the recent historical protests and rallies conducted at both Duke and Carolina show that our students are rising up and showing the world that though notorious for their sports and academics, our universities have a much deeper, sadder history to tell. A history that continues to oppress bodies of color on their campuses. Unless, of course, those bodies are doing what they are told to.
So, dear white people, if you can’t love our bodies walking down the street, stop loving our bodies on your basketball courts and football fields. Dear White People, if you can’t hug us and cry with us when we face oppression and prejudice, don’t hug us and cry with us when we bring home a National title.
Dear White People,
You contradict yourself. You confuse us. What does this say about your character.