NFL legend and activist Jim Brown once called out Kobe Bryant for his lack of leadership on social issues. While on the “Arsenio Hall Show,” Brown stated that Bryant was confused about [black] culture because he was brought up in another country.
Apparently, Brown was correct.
In a recent interview with The New Yorker, Bryant proved his ignorance on the subject of black culture by lashing out at the Miami Heat’s support of Trayvon Martin.
“I won’t react to something just because I’m supposed to, because I’m an African American. That argument doesn’t make any sense to me. So we want to advance as a society and a culture, but, say, if something happens to an African American we immediately come to his defense? Yet you want to talk about how far we’ve progressed as a society? Well, we’ve progressed as a society, then don’t jump to somebody’s defense just because they’re African American. You sit and you listen to the facts just like you would in any other situation, right? So I won’t assert myself,” said Bryant.
Bryant has a right to his opinion on the Trayvon Martin case, but his opinion lacked knowledge and understanding. The Heat and others didn’t stand up for Martin just because he was black, they stood up for the unjust killing of another black male by a white man. American history is marred by senseless killings of blacks who were lynched solely because of their race. The Martin case served as a uncomfortable reminder of the four little girls who were bombed in a church in Alabama; the Emmett Till lynching; and, more recently, the dragging and murder of James Byrd.
Bryant apparently never got those history lessons or was unmoved by how it affected most blacks in America. His main focus in life has always been basketball and it shows when Bryant attempts to make a point about race and progression. According to his quote, Bryant believes that blacks can only advance in this society if they ignore racism.
But what Bryant fails to realize is that a post-racial society can only exists if racism is no longer perpetuated by the majority. That starts with fighting against racist policies such as “stop and frisk”; working to reinstate Affirmative Action at major colleges; and putting a stop to racist killers such as Michael Dunn and George Zimmerman.
Bryant will be retiring in a couple of years, so it’s possible that he could use his extra time to learn about black culture. Because he has proved himself to be a lost soul who happens to shoot a basketball very well.