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Community Should Celebrate Fact Michael Jordan Now 'Woke'

by Todd A. Smith

 

Jordan is Now ‘Woke’

 

Everyone’s sleeping pattern is a little different.


Some settle and rise early.


Some settle and rise late.


All that matters is that one eventually wakes up and has a productive day.


It took NBA legend and Charlotte Hornets owner Michael Jordan a little longer to wake up publicly and support Black causes.  

 

But all that matters is he is now “woke” or “conscious” and trying to make a difference in the Black community, which should be commended not overanalyzed.


Jordan, who in 1990 infamously refused to back Harvey Gantt, a Black Democrat (and former Charlotte, N.C. mayor) running for Senate against “race-baiter Sen. Jesse Helms,” according to ESPN.com because Republicans bought sneakers too, did a 180-degree turn recently when he donated $1 million to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and another $1 million to Institute for Community-Police Relations.


He backed those donations up with another $5 million grant to the African-American Museum at the Smithsonian.


The Basketball Hall of Famer said that he could no longer sit back silently as police brutality continued to plague the Black community and innocent cops became targets for violent retaliation as a result.


Many had begged Jordan to become involved in politics before like during the Million Man March, but he always refused to publicly support these causes.


While Jordan deserves criticism for being publicly apolitical, his behavior is understandable considering the generation that he came from.


Athletic icons like Muhammad Ali and Jim Brown represented a totally different generation of the African-American struggle than Jordan.


The generation of the 1950s and 1960s put everything on the line to fight for equality for African-Americans, even their financial livelihood.


Jordan’s generation is the benefactor of that struggle.


That generation probably believed that the way for African-Americans to advance in this country was through financial power in the boardroom.


Often in order to achieve this goal, one has to be silent on political issues or fall in step with the political mainstream and their views.


It is totally understandable that athletes like Jordan chose to take the silent route because society still needs African-Americans in power in order to make things easier for the next generation.


The problem is when one gets in power they often forget those they left behind because they no longer have to deal with the “normal” problems that less affluent African-Americans have to deal with.


Despite past neglects, Jordan should be commended for now being “woke” and using his power and finances to initiate change in American society.


That is what people want the powerful to do with their might. 

 

And even though it might not happen when and how others desire it, the highly influential like Jordan deserve praise for correcting their past mistakes.


This is a crucial time in the history of African-Americans and people must realize that African-American history post-slavery and post-segregation is not very long.


African-Americans have only been “equal” United States citizens since the early 1970s because of laws set up to discriminate against them.


There was no rulebook to teach African-Americans how to deal with struggle. 

 

They just kept persevering through every obstacle and learned from mistakes of the past.


Few if any, ever taught young poor Black kids how to handle billions of dollars and power. 

 

Those new billionaires just learned as they went along because the phenomenon was so new.


Now the phenomenon is becoming more commonplace with the likes of Jordan, BET founder Bob Johnson, Oprah Winfrey and others.

 

And now those Black billionaires should be commended for laying the blueprint of how to be Black, billionaires and “woke” at the same time.

This article was published on Friday 12 August, 2016.
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