Did The Blind Side’s Real Life Mom Blind Side Two Young Men?

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I remember two distinct times that my dad got pulled over with me in the car. One was in our city, another was in a local suburb, but I remember him becoming infuriated when he was asked the following questions:

– Where are you going?

– Why are you over here (that one was in the suburb)?

No, this wasn’t a legal sundown town from the ’40s, it was the late ’80s. From what I remember, my dad’s response was, “I’m a grown man, I have the right to go where ever I want.” I never remember him getting a ticket for anything, and still have no idea why we had to get out of the car.

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Black parents often speak of having “The Talk” with their young sons (or even daughters). That talk may explain how to act when the police are near you, how to act when in a store so security doesn’t think you’re stealing and whatever other circumstances they may find themselves in where they may get that super-predator label. It’s that label that separates the conversation from the one every other people group has with their children. My wife and I have had these conversations with our children, and especially with my 15 year-old son, who at 5’10 and over 170 pounds, has the physique of a man despite his boyish looking face.

Listen to the story of Kris Banks, one of the gentlemen in the photo:

Perhaps you’ve seen the Facebook post from Leigh Anne Tuohy saying,

We see what we want! It’s the gospel truth! These two were literally huddled over in a corner table nose to nose and the person with me said “I bet they are up to no good” well you know me… I walked over, told them to scoot over. After 10 seconds of dead silence I said so whats happening at this table? I get nothing.. I then explained it was my store and they should spill it… They showed me their phones and they were texting friends trying to scrape up $3.00 each for the high school basketball game! Well they left with smiles, money for popcorn and bus fare. We have to STOP judging people and assuming and pigeon holing people! Don’t judge a book by its cover or however you’d like to express the sentiment! Accept others and stoping seeing what you want to see!!!“

At first blush, many applauded the good deed that Leigh Anne had done, but others like Kris Bank’s teacher and mother questioned the incident. They looked deeper and seemed to question why someone, especially a private citizen, would be questioning the two gentlemen in the first place.

Now before you dismiss this as race-baiting, what happened in Sanford, Florida between Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman? That young man reacted differently when confronted by a male (who was not a police officer), at night, because he looked suspicious. If I change any of those variables in this case, could the event have possibly ended up differently?

I’ll always remember my mom commenting on how many white parents never think about the hurt she feels when her son (me in that case) is rejected just because he’s black. Yet, she has always tried to treat their children just like anyone else regardless of their skin color. Personally, even if I give Tuohy the benefit of the doubt, I have to assume that she would never want someone approaching her daughter presupposing that she was “up to something”, especially if she was an honor student.

Sadly, perhaps these young men learned a lesson. Sometimes, you don’t have to be in a car. Sometimes you don’t have to be walking outside in a particular neighborhood dressed a certain way. Sometimes you may just be sitting there, and you may have to answer the 5W’s and 1H on call.

Do you think Banks was being exploited by Tuohy?

Did the two young men have a right to not answer Tuohy’s inquiry?

How would you have had your children respond?

How would you respond as a parent?

What talks have you had with your children?

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The Collision’s Interview With John Carlos

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Oh what an episode, and you can listen to the broadcast HERE!

This was great to hear after I had just written about John Carlos and Tommie Smith’s Black Power protest in this blog post.

John Carlos offers his opinion about the player’s protests today, what it may mean in the future, and guess what…he still hasn’t forgotten about Brent Musburger’s past!

Definitely worth checking out and introducing the kids to one of the pioneers of sports protesting. Dr. Carlos proved that sports have always been political, but it is only designed to follow the politics of one group.

 

IMA Book Addict! Excerpt of the Day from: The Way We Never Were – American Families and the Nostalgia Trap

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“Contrary to popular opinion, “Leave It To Beaver” was not a documentary…A full 25 percent of Americans, forty to fifty million people, were poor in the mid-1950’s, and in the absence of food stamps and housing programs, this poverty was searing. Even at the end of the 1950’s, a third of American children were poor. Sixty percent of Americans over sixty-five had incomes below $1,000 in 1958, considerably below the $3,000 to $10,000 level considered to represent middle-class status. A majority of elders also lacked medical insurance…Even when we consider only native-born, white families, one-third could not get by on the income of the household head.”

Excerpt from, The Way We Never Were by Stephanie Coontz

The Struggle That Must Be, Today and In the Future

When I was in my early 20s, there was one non-professional athlete that impacted my worldview like none other. The man, Dr. Harry Edwards. I was always interested in sociology and of course I loved sports, and when I learned of this field created by Dr. Edwards called Sociology of Sport, it was love at first sight. While God by His sovereign grace has me where I am today, if I could do everything over, I’d head to a school with a Sociology of Sport program to earn the academic credentials and attack the profession like Mike Tyson in the ring during his prime. I remember telling my mentor that I wanted to become the next Harry Edwards when I first went to see her about transferring into sociology and out of sports medicine. However, she knew what I would later find out, yet she didn’t crush my enthusiasm, and that was the fact that I’d never be worthy to even tie up his shoe laces, let alone fill his shoes.

Source: www.dailytexanonline.com
Source: http://www.dailytexanonline.com; I should not have to tell you, but just in case you do not know, that’s Jim Brown (far left), Bill Russell (center) and Dr. Harry Edwards (far right)

I wish I could meet Dr. Harry Edwards. Whenever I find out that he’s done and interview somewhere, I’m on the hunt and all ears because I know I’ll become wiser after listening to this man. Now I just wish that we could hear more from him in our digital era, as it would be so much easier to have access to his knowledge. But then again, I wouldn’t be as proud as I am to have three of his great books, Sociology of Sport, The Revolt Of The Black Athlete and The Struggle That Must Be.

While we are proud of the stand the athletes like Derrick Rose, LeBron James, Reggie Bush and others are taking as they protest African-American men being gunned down in the United States by the police as if they were being caught in a Sundown Town of the 1940s, the protests are now being compared to that organized by Dr. Edwards at the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City. The Black Power salute by John Carlos and Tommie Smith set the bar high, created a new path, and must be something our children (especially those that play sports)  never forget. My kids do not, as they have the poster right above the computer in our living room. My two oldest boys were given the John Carlos Story as Christmas gifts right after it hit shelves and when I worked with young athletes as a strength and conditioning coach, I even encouraged them to not just carry a ball, but carry a message. When you carry a message, you carry yourself with more responsibility as well. It’s a responsibility to hold tightly to the opportunity that’s been afforded to you.

I could go on and on, but that’s what made me feel encouraged about the discussion at ESPN by Jemele Hill, Chris Broussard and Stephen A. Smith. The discussion was on Athletes and Activism.

See video HERE.

First, just the fact that one black woman and two black men can sit on a major network and discuss and frame what the black athlete is doing is quite an accomplishment. Yes I’m aware, as Smith and Broussard know first hand, that if they go too far out, the dominant-society will take them out to the woodshed. But just to at least be able to talk and teach, that’s progress and that is the kind of talk we have in our homes and at family gatherings.

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Why? Because in 1968, here was the response by Brent Musburger (yes, that one), as described by David Zirin (if you don’t listen to the Edge of Sports podcast, you should) in The Nation in 2012:

“In 1968 Musburger was a restless, ambitious young sports writer looking to make his name. He found his opportunity when Smith and Carlos made their stand. Musburger didn’t see a demonstration. He saw a target.

“One gets a little tired of having the United States run down by athletes who are enjoying themselves at the expense of their country,” he wrote. Musburger then infamously called Smith and Carlos “a pair of black-skinned stormtroopers.”

Second, the athletes of our past dawned the “Scarlet P” for protester, called trouble-makers, said to have had bad-attitudes or received labels like above and were considered uppity negroes. In the case of John Carlos, he lost relationships that money could never replace. Yet, I’m hopeful that some of today’s athletes understand their power, prestige and privilege. Their brand is the trunk of the tree, and now they can have multiple branches (i.e. revenue streams) to feed that tree. So they are no longer beholden as much to the league or owner that believes if he lets him go for not being a “good boy”, that another owner won’t break the code and pick him up.

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That said, I hope that athletes of today protesting are doing more than just sporting t-shirts, but I hope they are writing checks as well. I understand that a grown person can spend their cash any way they would like, but money gets movement in our Land of Milk and Honey. So if athletes can show all the bling on Cribs, I’m hoping they can put some skin in the game as well with some dollars.

Remember, C.R.E.A.M.

So we’ve come a long way and I’m happy to see my kids take a strong stance on civil right issues at the age of 25 down to the age of 8. They know whether they carry a ball or not, I expect them to carry a message, and it’s those messages that I know will out live me and provide hope for so many of my upcoming generations as I have a feeling that they will still need to put on their gloves and continue to fight for justice years from now.

IMA Book Addict! Excerpt of the Day from: The New Jim Crow

The New Jim Crow“These stark racial disparities cannot be explained by rates of drug crime. Studies show that people of all colors use and sell illegal drugs at remarkably similar rates. If there are significant differences in the surveys to be found, they frequently suggest that whites, particularly white youth, are more likely to engage in drug crime than people of color. That is not what one would guess, however, when entering our nation’s prisons and jails, which are overflowing with black and brown drug offenders. In some states, black men have been admitted to prison on drug charges at rates twenty to fifty times greater than those of white men. And in major cities wracked by the drug war, as many as 80 percent of young African American men now have criminal records and are thus subject to legalized discrimination for the rest of their lives. These young men are part of a growing undercaste, permanently locked up and locked out of mainstream society.”

Michelle Alexander – The New Jim Crow – Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness