Blacks Should Take Donald Sterling’s Advice
NBA team owner Donald Tokowitz Sterling has gotten Black people very upset. Even the first Black president sounded disgusted: 'When ignorant folks want to advertise their ignorance, you don't really have to do anything, you just let them talk. That's what happened here,' the president said.
President Obama also said Sterling's alleged comments are an example of how 'the United States continues to wrestle with the legacy of race and slavery and segregation. That's still there, the vestiges of discrimination. We've made enormous strides, but you're going to continue to see this percolate up every so often.'
But not necessarily.
The Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad taught us that 'after learning all about yourself, you will be able to take those who enslaved you and wrap them around your little finger and you will not feel them on your little finger until you see them on your little finger and shake them off!'
Clearly, it is time to shake them off.
It is NOT solely NBA commissioner Adam Silver's role or responsibility to police Donald Tokowitz Sterling or the NBA's 30 team plantations for racism. And so to insist that only he 'do something' would be unfair to our great White commissioner. But what about the responsibility of the slaves themselves? It is 2014-151 years after emancipation. Are they not responsible now for their own freedom?
Those brilliant Black athletes are 100 percent of the reason why stadiums are filled and why America's couches are overloaded and bursting at the seams in front of giant-screen HDTVs tuned to a thousand sports channels. The ugly secret we all know but won't discuss is that not a single human being on the planet would pay a single penny to watch Adam Silver do anything in shorts. The very thought is less than inspiring. But they pay huge sums to see Kobe or LeBron or Kevin Durant and they care not whether the NBA is the sponsoring body.
If the Black stars chose to unify, they could start a Black professional league, the 'BBA' maybe, and wrest control of their own talent from the NBA's talentless White profiteers. After all, the owners could NEVER do what LeBron and Kobe can do, but both can easily do whatever pencil-pushing the owners do.
There is a grandiose arrogance in the way NBA commissioner Silver and his predecessor David Stern oversee the Blacks who generate revenue that pays their mortgages and their children's college tuition. And it really begs the question: What do they do that puts them in a position to determine the career paths of so many of our gifted Black performers?
Can't WE arrange and manage a schedule of events where Black athletes are formed into teams for the purpose of playing a game for the entertainment of paying spectators? And isn't this precisely what all young Black children do every day when they play 'pick up' games all over America? Are not our brilliant business-minded Brothers and Sisters able to work out the logistics of such an enterprise? Didn't we do that back in the day with our 'Negro' Baseball Leagues? Does Adam Silver possess some magical endowment that is unique to him and his ethnic group?
Our Black athletes need to think on a much higher level and start to lay out plans for our own basketball, baseball and football LEAGUES. Adam Silver and Donald Tokowitz Sterling lose ALL their power just as soon as LeBron, Dwayne, Kevin, and Carmelo say so. As soon as Kobe says, 'My name is Kunte Kinte!' it is all over for the Sterling Silvers and other Caucasian hangers-on. The government says that 403,000 people are employed in the 'Performing Arts, Spectator Sports, and Related Industries,' each making about $45,000 a year. We know the big athlete names, but many, many White families are supported by those 360 slams and end zone dances. Should not these 400,000 jobs be Black jobs?
For every ONE Black athlete there are THOUSANDS of jobs created behind the scenes for White people: the stadium owners, managers, agents and attorneys, the sportswriters, referees and umpires, the radio and TV announcers, the broadcast technicians, food concession owners and workers, the ballboys, uniform makers, groundskeepers, security personnel, program printers, photographers, and memorabilia dealers, the 'We're-number-one' foam finger makers, parking lot owners and attendants, etc.-all skimming the money generated by Black athletic prowess.
Step beyond sports and we find beer and beverage makers, TV manufacturers, and all those who sell food and stuff to the tailgate partiers. Our own leagues, simply stated, would put all this economic activity in intelligent Black hands and back into reviving our ailing communities! A massive economic coup of monumental proportions.
And many of these jobs are multi-generational, meaning that they are jobs that can be passed on to children and other family members. The team owners can pass ownership to their children, and so can the many family businesses that service the sports industry. And there is no salary cap on them. This leads to stability and true community wealth building.
The players, however, are about the only ones in this equation whose job must be earned every year, whose performance statistics are doggedly calculated, whose children must start at square ONE along with every other child with hopes of dwelling in highlight heaven. One cartilage tear or Achilles tendon rupture and the checks stop instantly. Adam Silver and Donald Tokowitz Sterling and the NBA team owners can show up with a different injury every day (and in whatever clothing they want to wear) and no one would suggest that their careers are over.
The NBA is now televised in 215 countries around the world, in 43 languages, and operates the Women's National Basketball Association and the National Basketball Development League as well-that's even more White people supported by even more Black athletes.
It is time that Black people begin to move on these ideas. In 1967 a powerful group of Black sports legends convened to show solidarity and unity. They included Bill Russell, Muhammad Ali, Jim Brown, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. At one point Dwayne Wade was suggesting that NBA athletes take a more aggressive stand in their business affairs. This flame must be reignited by Black leadership in America. And with the new compensation ruling for the NCAA athletes what a perfect subject for a joint conference of the NAACP, Urban League, N.O.I., NBA Players Association, and our associated organizations all over the world.
Donald Tokowitz Sterling cannot be reformed. He is worth $1.9 billion and he got it by being exactly as he is. Let's not be anti-Semites. Instead of attacking the poor Jewish racist we should listen to him. He said unto us, 'It bothers me a lot that ... you're associating with Black people.' Black people should give him what he asked for.
(Tingba Muhammad is a citizen of the Nation of Islam. Visit the NOI Research Group online at www.noirg.org and join the conversation on Facebook.com/NOIResearch and Twitter @NOIResearch.)