Thursday, April 16, 2015

Something happening here ...

It's not entirely clear what it is or may become, but it does seem a meaningful sign of the moment that ESPN, the TV sports near-monopoly, thinks it needs a subsidiary site devoted to race issues. The Undefeated will launch this summer.

The mission statement is ambitious.

Through the lens of sports, The Undefeated will be the premier platform for intelligent analysis and celebration of black culture and the African-American struggle for equality. The Undefeated will challenge, engage and advocate for people of color in a manner consistent with the black-press pioneers, such as Sam Lacy, who led the charge for Jackie Robinson's civil rights-sparking baseball career.

The site will be anchored by veteran sports journalist Jason Whitlock, who has made a career of bold and opinionated writing about racially tinged subjects.

Here's Whitlock:

Segregation by incarceration (SBI) has pitted the African-American community vs. the police. Segregation has never been a shadowy, impossible-to-pin-down conspiracy. It's been an American way of life. The people who opposed the civil rights movement and the end of segregation did not hold a news conference, concede defeat and pledge support for racial equality. They hatched a new strategy.

Segregation by incarceration removes the offensive, in-your-face, whites-only signs and replaces them with strategic enforcement of criminal laws that: (1) segregate poor people behind bars; (2) segregate ex-cons and their loved ones outside the traditional pathways to the American dream, aka, upward mobility.

SBI is much worse and more corrosive than Jim Crow.

Jim Crow had unintended benefits. It forced blacks to build and rely on their own economic, educational and social systems. SBI is a silent killer with no benefit. It extinguishes hope.

... SBI is why the African-American community is distrustful of law enforcement. SBI decimated the black family structure, leaving our communities fatherless and leaderless. SBI fertilized the cultural rot that makes us believe prison culture is African-American culture.

SBI is why black and brown folks feel they can't breathe.

Not everyone is going to love Whitlock, but it has to be a good thing that ESPN thinks it needs him ...

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