In the aftermath of the racial incident in Utah, players started coming out with their experiences in the league. The first reaction was “not surprised it was Utah.” Not to say Utah is the only place where players have had bad experiences, especially with racially charged comments, but there is a reputation there.
Some explained it with the face the arena in Salt Lake City is built exclusively for basketball and a lot of fans are much closer to the court, as described by man “feels like they are on top of you.” Others said it might be a subconscious bias as Utah is considered to be “the whitest state.”
I doubt players would lie, so as these may have a role in the perception of such events in Salt Lake, the core of the problem is a term that most often makes me cringe – white privilege. Not because I don’t believe it doesn’t exist, but most often I hear it is thrown around without consideration and in instances, I don’t feel it is appropriate. That is the danger of it. Those annoying moments cloud the overall awareness and significance of the term.
All the stats show it, and in all honesty, basic logical thinking will support it – being white makes life easier. Doesn’t mean life is comfortable or perfect if you are white, but it does increase your chances of it. In basketball terms, being white is Steph shooting a three, being a person of color is Boban shooting a three.
In light of all the events, Kyle Korver wrote a must-read piece for The Players Tribune, taking into account his experience from Atlanta where Tabo Sefolosha was arrested and injured to those as Jazz player this season. He spoke out on the importance of actively fighting for equality as a white person, and had a strong message for his fans:
If you’re wearing my jersey at a game? Know that about me. If you’re planning to buy my jersey for someone else…… know that about me. If you’re following me on social media….. know that about me. If you’re coming to Jazz games and rooting for me….. know that about me.
And if you’re claiming my name, or likeness, for your own cause, in any way….. know that about me. Know that I believe this matters.
We all need to pull our weight and fight the counterintuitive thing. One of the most important thing in fighting racism is avoiding generalizations. Not just racism, bigotry in all its form. Yer, the term “white privilege” is a generalization about all white people.
This is where we need to follow Korver and shut up and listen. We may not be guilty of the past, but we do have a responsibility for it. All the facts show it.
You don’t have to agree with everyone and everything said about it. You do have to accept that it exists and just work from there.