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Ryan Clark and Jeanie Buss Spotted Bigfoot, Again

Someone must inform the mainstream media that anti-black racism isn’t Bigfoot.

No serious person doubts the existence of anti-black racism. The overwhelming majority of adult Americans have seen it, experienced it or acted it out firsthand. It’s been written about in every major newspaper, documented in movies, books, magazines and television miniseries. 

Anti-black racism isn’t climate change. There are no credible deniers. It’s not Russiagate, Watergate, Deflategate, Benghazigate or even Bill Gates’ Vaccinegate. It’s not a conspiracy theory. 

Roughly 330 million citizens pretty much agree that Americans of all colors, including black, exhibit anti-black behavior from time to time.

Where we disagree is on its level of impact, how best to combat it and whether or not the government should take additional federal and state measures to curtail the behavior.

I bring this up because the mainstream media seems fixated on proving anti-black racism actually exists. It’s the equivalent of yours truly posting shirtless pictures to prove I’m overweight. No one wants or needs to see that. 

Friday ESPN concluded that a fast-food customer allegedly calling former NFL player Ryan Clark’s son the N-word was national news. Clark’s son, Jordan, posted on social media a story about an unnamed white woman calling him and two of his Arizona State football teammates the N-word as she drove away from the fast-food window.

Ryan Clark tearfully discussed the incident on the ESPN morning show “Get Up.” ESPN.com published a video of Matt Barrie, a white ESPN anchor, apologizing to Jordan Clark on behalf of the state of Arizona. 

We all know that there are three sides to every story. Having said that, I don’t doubt that the anonymous white woman hurled a racial slur at Jordan Clark and his teammates.

However, as a journalist and adult, I recognize the incident isn’t remotely newsworthy. Human beings treat each other poorly. We can be rude, crude, disrespectful and downright bigoted.

That is not a defense of bigoted actions. I abhor bigotry. I make an effort in all of my human engagement to treat people with the kind of respect that I want in return.

But an anonymous white woman with no power to impact Jordan Clark’s life momentarily hurting his feelings isn’t news. Unfortunately it’s life. 

If every incident of word-driven hurt feelings is national news, no wonder we have no time to discuss behavior that legitimately damages life. 

We’ve turned anti-black racism into Bigfoot. News of its existence is more interesting and important than the unsolved murders of thousands of black men across this country. 

Think about it. I guarantee you a young black man will be murdered in the Phoenix area within the next week and it won’t receive one-tenth the attention of a white woman calling Jordan Clark a nasty name. The Arizona State athletic department issued a statement about Jordan Clark getting called a name.

Also on Friday, via Instagram, Lakers owner Jeanie Buss released a letter from a Lakers fan that degraded her and called Lakers players the N-word.  She wrote:

“After much thought, I decided to share this letter I received on Monday so that everyone can see the hate is real and living out there. This is happening in our world TODAY. It’s real and it exists.”

Jeanie saw Bigfoot. The mainstream media covered her sighting like the moon landing of Apollo 11. 

I have no interest in belittling Buss or Ryan and Jordan Clark. I have been on the receiving end of anti-black vitriol throughout my career as an outspoken journalist.

It’s a mistake to wallow in it, give it any energy. Bigoted, insecure cowards don’t define me or other black people. They define themselves. They don’t impact my self-esteem or happiness. When people diminish me or my proven value, I move on and engage/work with those who respect my value.

The media should quit covering non-impactful acts of anti-black racism like they’re Bigfoot. That’s the lowest-hanging clickbait on the tree. 

It’s better for us to explore attitudes and acts of racism that damage individuals, groups and society at large. That uncomfortable conversation might have us wondering why we’re so brazenly indifferent to the murder of thousands of young black men not killed by white men. 

Maybe that indifference is the most obvious, provable form of systemic racism. 

The loud, nationally televised whining focused on hurt feelings makes black people, particularly black men, look weak and overly concerned with the opinions of Karen.

Written by Jason Whitlock

Jason Whitlock is a longtime sports writer, TV personality, radio host, podcaster and the newest member of the Outkick family.
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8 Comments

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  1. 6 days and 6 gems. Jason, you are the voice of reason and logic in a world of the unreasonable and illogical. Not to mention the voice of truth in a world of narratives.

  2. Agreed. Society needs to focus on real problems and issues not inflammatory garbage. I have been called cracker or whitey more times than I can remember growing up as the only white kid in the pick up basketball games. As an adult it has turned to fatty or gay slurs. It’s not news. Like Jason write it defines more about the speaker of the derogatory comments than it does about me. I usually just laugh and school them with my skills.

  3. Hey Jason,
    Terrific insights into how we all should live our lives! It would be great if – in your spare time – you could write a sociology textbook to be used at the high school level for school districts nationwide.
    True story; watched a pickup game where a friend was the only white guy starting on either team, and when they were teasing him with ‘Hey MAY OH nnaise” he would hit a three. Just to be clear, in no way is “mayo” the equivalent of using the n word, but it was a slur towards him. He didn’t feel less of a person and he was smiling and joking all the while.
    Thank you, Jason, for being a very important voice of reason.
    Best wishes,
    Rick

  4. I’m so happy to be able to read great content and keep me off Twitter. I was disappointed when Jason left SFY, but this is going to be a much better way to get his perspectives, along with a future podcast. The Outkick team is my main source of sports (and entertainment) news. Great additions across the board.

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