(Todd A. Smith)
When basketball star Kyrie Irving tweeted out a link to an anti-Semitic book and movie, media members questioned athletes like LeBron James and Jaylen Brown about where they stood on the controversy.
Many athletes criticized Irving and rightfully so.
But the controversy seemed to last in perpetuity with Irving having to prove to others that he was not anti-Semitic.
However, when the Washington Post published a picture of Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones with a group of protestors trying to stop school integration in Little Rock, Ark. the issue got a little publicity in mainstream media.
However, athletes were not questioned endlessly on how they felt about the Jones picture.
More importantly, I do not recall seeing mainstream media members going to every White NFL star to get them to criticize Jones or denounce racism.
The media and organizations dedicated to ending anti-Semitism are definitely in the right for calling out Irving for supporting a book that promotes bigotry against our Jewish brothers and sisters.
But what we are asking is to keep that same energy when people are associated with anti-Black racism.
Keep that same energy for Jones when it comes to atonement.
One person can say that he is glad society has evolved since then and that he was just a curious boy who wanted to see what the hullabaloo was all about when Black students tried to integrate schools in Arkansas.
Yes, Jones deserves some grace because he might not have felt the same way as some of the protestors in the picture.
Even if he did, he does deserve the opportunity to change and learn from his mistakes.
But why is just an apology or an excuse good enough when people say and do hurtful things to the Black community?
Then when a Black person does something bigoted and hurtful to another demographic, he must jump through hoops and virtually kiss the behind of every organization that was offended just to receive the same grace.
That is not equality.
Treat Jones the same way Irving was treated.
That would be equality.
That would be progress.
That would be unity.
Instead, we see the same unequal treatment of Black people that leads to resentment and division in the first place.
Jones should have to donate to the United Negro College Fund.
The billionaire Cowboys owner should have to meet with the NAACP, the Urban League and the Nation of Islam.
Then, Jones should let the Black press grill the hell out of him at a press conference and write endless articles about the double standards that still exist in professional sports.
The punishment and criticism that Irving had to deal with was not just about his tweet.
The powers-that-be wanted to break that buck and teach him a valuable lesson about pissing off the good ole boys that sign his check.
They wanted him to know that the people of a lighter hue still controlled his Black behind.
They basically wanted Irving to know that no matter how many millions he makes, he is still a nigger, and the White man can take it away from him anytime he wanted.
That type of abuse of power only leads more Black people to feel some type of way about their White brothers and sisters because Black people of this generation refuse to shuck and jive for the White man of this generation no matter how much money you dangle in front of us or how much money you threaten to take away.
We are not slaves.
Therefore, we cannot be bought or sold.
But if you force some of us to shuck and jive, what James is saying is the Black community will make sure our brothers and sisters of other races must do the same shucking and jiving before we will let the issue go.
Therefore, Jones get to tap-dancing sir.
The Black community needs to know why you threatened to cut players who wanted to protest systemic racism and police brutality during the National Anthem a few years ago.
The Black community wants to know why the Dallas Cowboys have never had a Black head coach.
The Black community wants to know how you feel about the descendants of slaves (those enslaved before 1865 and those enslaved well into the 20th century) receiving reparations.
The Black community wants to know how many civil rights organizations you have donated to.
The Black community wants to know how many Black churches you have given to.
And the Black community wants to know how many Historically Black Colleges and Universities you have set up endowments at.
You seriously probably have done those things because you are very generous with your wealth, and we salute you for that.
But we just need you to share that with the world right now because those are the types of things Irving had to do to get back on the court with the Brooklyn Nets.
Then the Black community can be confident that you are not a racist like NBA commissioner Adam Silver and Nets owner Joe Tsai had to be confident Irving was not anti-Semitic.
Honestly, Jones is not the problem.
Racism, anti-Semitism and other forms of bigotry are the problem.
But when one form of discrimination is treated as if it is worse than the other, that double standard is the definition of racist.
We just want the same treatment and energy when we are insulted and offended.
Is that too much to ask?