Filed Under:  OpEd, Opinion

Shoo fly

26th February 2018   ·   0 Comments

By Edmund W. Lewis

What would make a white woman working at Fox News who probably doesn’t know a lot of Black people think she has the right to tell a professional Black athlete, or anyone for that matter, to “shut up and dribble”?

Apparently, white privilege and white supremacy.

After learning about Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James’ latest comments about President Donald Trump, Fox News host Laura Ingraham decided it was time to put the athlete in “his place.”

“Must they run their mouths like that?” Ingraham said on Feb. 15, the day after the Valentine’s Day high school massacre in Florida. “Unfortunately, a lot of kids and some adults take these ignorant comments seriously. This is what happens when you attempt to leave high school a year early to join the NBA, and it’s always unwise to seek political advice from someone who gets paid $100 million a year to bounce a ball.

“You’re great players; no one voted for you,” Ingraham continued. “Millions elected Trump to be their coach. So keep the political commentary to yourself, or as someone once said, ‘shut up and dribble.’”

This from a woman who works for a television network that never misses an opportunity to “go low” and is committed to fanning the flames of racial, religious and class hatred.

The first words that came to my mind after hearing her remarks were “Child, please.”

In a subsequent statement, Ingraham later seemed to try to put to rest any concerns some might have about her remarks being tinged with racism.

“In 2003, I wrote a New York Times bestseller called Shut Up & Sing, in which I criticized celebrities like the Dixie Chicks & Barbra Streisand who were trashing then-President George W. Bush. I have used a variation of that title for more than 15 years to respond to performers who sound off on politics. I’ve told Robert DeNiro to ‘Shut Up & Act,’ Jimmy Kimmel to ‘Shut Up & Make Us Laugh,’ and just this week told the San Antonio Spurs’ Gregg Popovich to ‘Shut up & Coach.’ If pro athletes and entertainers want to freelance as political pundits, then they should not be surprised when they’re called out for insulting politicians. There was no racial intent in my remarks – false, defamatory charges of racism are a transparent attempt to immunize entertainment and sports elites from scrutiny and criticism.”

Essentially, she’s denying claims that she is a persnickety, dimwitted bigot who masquerades as a journalist with integrity and objectivity, and someone who has made it her personal mission to defend Republican presidents from any and all detractors.

Still, I was happy that LeBron took time out of his busy schedule to make it clear that she will not dictate what or who he talks about.”

“We will definitely not shut up and dribble,’ LeBron James told reporters while in Los Angeles for the NBA All-Star Weekend. “I will definitely not do that. I mean too much to society. I mean too much to the youth. I mean too much to so many kids who feel like they don’t have a way out and need someone to help lead them out of the situation they’re in.”

NBA commissioner Adam Silver gets major props for backing LeBron James.

Silver said over the NBA All-Star Weekend that he was “incredibly proud” of players for taking a stand on a host of issues that impact the community at large.

“Many of them go on to continue to educate themselves,” Silver told reporters. “Whether through going back to school in the summer, taking courses, doing things post-playing career. …[I]t’s not lost on anybody in this in this room that there is an enormous amount of racial tension in this country, enormous amount of social injustice, and I do see a role for this league in addressing those issues.”

“[T]hese players are not just basketball players, they’re multi-dimensional,” Silver added.

“They care about their communes, and they care about what’s happening in their country. They then care enough to speak out, and sometimes at great risk to themselves because it’s not lost on them that there are some people who will disagree with them.”

At least somebody gets it.

During last year’s BET Awards, Detroit rapper Eminem blasted Trump for his bigotry.

“We better give Obama props ‘cause what we got in office now is a kamikaze that will probably cause a nuclear holocaust while the drama pops, and he waits for s— to quiet down, he’ll just gas his plane up and fly around till the bombing stops,” Eminem freestyles in the video.

Eminem also took Trump to task for Tweeting about anything and everything that pops into his head rather than offering the country real leadership.

“He gets an enormous reaction when he attacks the NFL, so we focus on that instead of talking Puerto Rico or gun reform for Nevada,” Eminem raps. “All these horrible tragedies and he’s bored and would rather cause a Twitter storm with the Packers.”

As it turns out, there is a growing number of people of all hues and backgrounds who have grown weary of Trump and others who wring their hands publicly about gun violence but accept huge campaign donations from groups like the National Rifle Association.

One such person is Emma Gonzalez, a student survivor of the recent Florida massacre who gave an impassioned speech at a weekend rally with a stinging citation of the NRA’s $30 million in expenditures on Trump’s behalf in the presidential election. On Feb. 18 she called out President Trump, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and Florida Gov. Rick Scott by name in a warning to politicians backed by the NRA.

“Now is the time to get on the right side of this, because this is not something that we are going to let sweep under the carpet,” she said on “Meet the Press.”

“You’re the president. You’re supposed to bring this nation together, not divide us,” said David Hogg, a 17-year-old student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in South Florida, on “Meet the Press.”

“How dare you,” he added.

“The kids in Newtown were too young to understand what happened and were too young to have their own voice,” Chris Grady, a senior at the school, said, referring to the 20 first-graders killed in the 2012 Connecticut school shooting. “We want to be the voice for those kids and thousands of others.”

They too are being told basically to “Shut up and grieve”?

Here’s a newsflash for all those elected officials who think they can get away with doing absolutely about these mass shootings because they’ve gotten away with it in the past: Mid-term elections are coming and it’s time to take out the trash and the riff raft on Capitol Hill who act like they are powerless to do something about gun violence.

There is nothing elected officials in Washington fear more than losing their posts and all the perks and gratuitous dinero from lobbyists who have no qualms about buying votes in the House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate.

We need to be unapologetic and clinical about building coalitions to take down these crafty and machiavellian politicians and sending them into early retirement.

These ethically challenged politicians will continue to do what they are doing as long as we allow them to continue to carry on business as usual.

As long as we’re telling people what to do and not do, I have a few suggestions for Trump and those who subscribe to his warped view of the nation and the world.

To Mr. Donald Trump, I humbly say, “Shut up and start acting like the President of the UNITED States and the leader of the Free World and not some megalomaniac hell-bent on bringing the federal government to its knees and doing away with all of the progress this nation has made since the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation.

As for Miss Laura, aka “Becky with the good hair,” I have but a mere five words for her: “Shoo fly, don’t bother me.”

This article originally published in the February 26, 2018 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper.

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