Television network HBO recently released an excerpt from upcoming show “The Shop” which features NBA star LeBron James conversing with various celebrities about the issues of the day. In this clip, the basketball player discusses growing up in the inner city; he mentions the misconceptions he had about white people as a kid, and his experience attending a private high school in Akron, Ohio.
While James’ story is one of dealing with his own preconceived notions about whites, many conservatives have criticized him, calling him a racist. However, they are not accurately interpreting his words. His comments were not racist – they described how he realized that his prejudices were wrong.
LeBron James’ Story
In the video clip, James tells the other participants about attending a predominantly white private school after growing up in the ‘hood. While telling his story, he talks about his attitude toward white people at the time, and how it eventually changed. “When I first went to the 9th grade in high school, I was on some, like, ‘I’m not f**king with white people,’” he says, “I was so institutionalized growing up in the hood it was like, ‘They don’t f*ck with us, they don’t want us to succeed.’”
LeBron talks about the transition from his neighborhood to his catholic high school, being around all white people for the first time and finding out what a pantry is pic.twitter.com/BhIpxsC5xJ
— Rob Lopez (@r0bato) August 29, 2018
The basketball star stated that it took him “a little while” to adjust to being in this new environment, but by the end of the year, he had made friends with his white schoolmates. Indeed, his black friends and white friends would frequently hang out together.
James Gets Misinterpreted
After the video was released on social media, many on the right blasted LeBron James, accusing him of being a racist. It is unclear whether or not they watched the video, but it didn’t seem to matter. These individuals were convinced that James was an anti-white bigot. Here are just a few of the tweets:
- “Lebron James is a racist. He attacks Trump for something that he himself is. This is unacceptable!!!”
- “No, LeBron doesn’t like white people now. It’s excusable when you’re a child or young and don’t understand the world. But as a 30+ year old? Call a spade a spade … Bron is racist”
- “Way to admit you’re a racist, LeBron!”
Unfortunately, those who believe the video proves that LeBron James is an anti-white racist were missing the point of his story. Indeed, this is not about James hating whites, it is about the evolution of his mindset.
Is James Racist?
Put simply, there is nothing in the video that proves James is a racist. Sure, he may not have a favorable opinion of President Trump; the two have clashed on at least two occasions. But disagreeing with the president does not make a black man racist any more than criticizing Obama’s policies makes a white man racist.Lebron James
James’ story is indicative of how many young blacks are “institutionalized” and taught to carry certain beliefs about white Americans. Unfortunately, these beliefs pervade certain groups within the black community, especially in the inner cities. A significant number of black American children are taught that whites are intent on keeping them down. However, the majority of black Americans quickly realize that these beliefs are not true when they eventually start to interact with whites on a regular basis.
It is worth pointing out that the charges against James made by many individuals on Twitter resemble the rhetoric of the race-baiting left. These people quickly leaped to the conclusion that James was a racist, even though his words clearly show something different.
Conservatives cannot afford to become what they hate. Yes, it does make sense to use most of the left’s tactics against them, but mindless name calling does not help anyone, conservatives least of all. Instead of hurling false accusations, Americans on the right would be wise to continue attacking destructive ideas and behavior. You only need to consider how the left’s incessant race-baiting led to their defeat in 2016 to see why conservatives should not use this strategy.