Will This Nice White Baskets Coach Man Be Able To Explain White Privilege To Trump? Ha Ha, No
Donald Trump, it seems, is having a very hard time fully comprehending why all of the sports men are taking a knee during the national anthem. He seems to think it is because they hate the flag or because they hate the national anthem (to be fair, it is a bad song), or because they hate him, or because they hate all the veterans who died so that all Americans could be compelled to salute the flag and stand during the national anthem.
Gregg Popovich is the head coach of the San Antonio Spurs. Like many other sports people lo this past week, he has some things to say about Dear Leader's comments about all the sports men and why they shouldn't be allowed to have freedom of speech. Very good things to say, actually!
Obviously, race is the elephant in the room and we all understand that. Unless it is talked about constantly, it’s not going to get better. ‘Oh, they’re talking about that again. They pulled the race card again. Why do we have to talk about that?' Well, because it’s uncomfortable. There has to be an uncomfortable element in the discourse for anything to change, whether it’s the LGBT movement, or women’s suffrage, race, it doesn’t matter. People have to be made to feel uncomfortable, and especially white people, because we’re comfortable. We still have no clue about what being born white means. And if you read some of the recent literature, you realize there really is no such thing as whiteness. We kind of made it up. That’s not my original thought, but it’s true.
It is true! Do go on, Gregg Popovich!
It’s hard to sit down and decide that yes, it’s like you’re at the 50-meter mark in a 100-meter dash. You’ve got that kind of a lead, yes, because you were born white. You have advantages that are systemically, culturally, psychologically rare. And they’ve been built up and cemented for hundreds of years. But many people can’t look at it that way, because it’s too difficult. It can’t be something that’s on their plate on a daily basis. People want to hold their position, people want their status quo, people don’t want to give that up. Until it’s given up, it’s not going to be fixed.
Although many people claim to not understand any of this, most of them are lying. You would have to be a complete idiot to not understand that being born white grants you privileges that you did not actually earn. You would have to be totally dense to think that equality would be achieved by ignoring racism and giving up exactly zero privilege points.
But, I would argue, our president is that dense. And he is a complete idiot. I truly think that if you asked him if his life would have been more difficult if he hadn't been born white, if he hadn't been born male, if he hadn't been born rich, he would tell you no and he would be sincere in that. That is literally how not smart he is. Thus, concepts like those Popovich is explaining are miles beyond his ken.
According to my dad (I am currently reporting to you from a family vacation in lovely Warwick, Rhode Island!), Gregg Popovich is called "Pop" (appropriate!) and is also very good at the the whole coaching thing. It would be pretty awesome, I am thinking, if Gregg Popovich, who is a very smart and astute man, were able to coach Donald Trump into understanding these things.
Of course, it does not seem like Popovich would be too interested in becoming Trump's "Racism exists and is bad Henry Higgins." In that same interview, he very bluntly stated that “Our country is an embarrassment in the world,” and criticized Trump for being a weirdo who disinvites people to parties they already RSVP'd no to.
“I thought it was comical that it was rescinded because they weren’t going to go anyway,” Popovich said. “It’s like a sixth grader is going to have a party in his backyard and he finds out somebody might not come, so he disinvites them. Although it’s disgusting, it’s also comical.”
"It's disgusting, it's also comical" really ought to be our new national slogan.
Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse