Today, racism is a part of America
Written by Miles McPherson
Steph. LeBron. Lue. Kerr. Durant. Irving. Cleveland’s win over Boston started an avalanche of excitement around the 2017 finals.
Days later my heart sank as I learned that vandals spray-painted the n-word on LeBron’s Los Angeles home.
LeBron articulated it well during NBA finals media day, saying it “just shows that racism will always be a part of the world, part of America.”
It’s no secret that America is in pain. Sometimes, racial reconciliation feels like a battle we’re constantly fighting—and losing. Though we can be distracted from it for a moment, we can’t ignore it. Everywhere we look, it seems to keep coming up again and again. Even in the NBA, we are reminded of the chronic nature of this fight, as it flares up, reminding us that it’s not behind us. Not yet, at least.
We don’t actually have corners, and this is not a fight.
My brother was a boxer and, in boxing, the last thing that’s said in the ring before the fight begins is “to your corners.” Every time something racist hits the news, I just picture the devil saying to us, “to your corners”.
Here’s the crazy thing: we don’t actually have corners, and this is not a fight. It’s all a construct. Our Declaration of Independence says that we (Americans) believe that all men are created equal. We actually believe it so much; we call it a “self-evident truth.” And Genesis 1:27 says that God created man “in His own image.” If God himself claimed man—and in context it means all of humanity—how can we say that one race is better than another? And how can we hate each other for our differences? It just doesn’t add up. It’s nonsensical, and it breaks my heart to see us actually take sides, and actually fight each other.
Yet somehow, on the eve of the NBA Finals, instead of talking about the matchup and his desire to win another championship, LeBron James is talking about racism. “Hate in America, especially for African-Americans, is living every day. It is hidden most days. It is alive every single day… No matter how much money you have, how famous you are, how much people admire you, being black in America is tough.”
Although LeBron assured the press that his family was safe, that doesn’t mean they weren’t affected. He and his wife Savannah have three children, two sons—LeBron Jr. (12) and Bryce (9)—and a daughter, Zhuri (2). No father should ever have to explain to his children that some people hate them because of the color of their skin.
Addressing that very point, LeBron said, “I’m going to give them the blueprint of life, but at the end of the day, they’re going to have to walk their own course, as well… I just hope they understand that at the end of the day, you have to always shed light on things that may seem like they’re at their darkest point,” LeBron told ESPN’s Rachel Nichols.
By shining a light on it and addressing it head on, LeBron boldly confronted the world’s darkness—and that’s exactly what is needed. In the past, it has been that kind of resilience that has overcome the darkest points of human history.
Just like Jackie Robinson’s boldness overcame the darkness of major league baseball’s color barrier, LeBron’s perspective fills me with hope for the future of our nation. Though this is a dark point in America’s history, the things that are wrong today don’t have to keep being so tomorrow. We don’t have to take corners. What we need is a light to shine on our darkness.
Luke 1:78-79 says that God gave light to those who sit in darkness, “to guide our feet into the way of peace.”
I do agree with LeBron—racism will always be a part of America. But I have a hope that one day it will stop being the painful wound of our present, and become a scar, a dark point in our past. To get to that point, we must welcome the light into our darkness, and follow it to the way of peace.