Kareem Abdul-Jabbar pens powerful op-ed explaining George Floyd protests
Los Angeles Lakers and Milwaukee Bucks legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has teamed up with the Los Angeles Times to publish a very powerful opinion piece about the protests brought about by the death of George Floyd.
Abdul-Jabbar wrote about the irony of the duality of these recent turn of events. He does not necessarily justify the riots and looting that have transpired during some of the protests, but rather, the Hall of Famer is presenting an alternative perspective:
What do you see when you see angry black protesters amassing outside police stations with raised fists? If you’re white, you may be thinking, “They certainly aren’t social distancing.” Then you notice the black faces looting Target and you think, “Well, that just hurts their cause.” Then you see the police station on fire and you wag a finger saying, “That’s putting the cause backward.”
You’re not wrong — but you’re not right, either. The black community is used to the institutional racism inherent in education, the justice system and jobs. And even though we do all the conventional things to raise public and political awareness — write articulate and insightful pieces in the Atlantic, explain the continued devastation on CNN, support candidates who promise change — the needle hardly budges.
Abdul-Jabbar then went on to further explain his view. He attempts to shed light as to why Americans — white people in particular — should not be too quick to judge the actions of these protestors:
So, maybe the black community’s main concern right now isn’t whether protesters are standing three or six feet apart or whether a few desperate souls steal some T-shirts or even set a police station on fire, but whether their sons, husbands, brothers and fathers will be murdered by cops or wannabe cops just for going on a walk, a jog, a drive. Or whether being black means sheltering at home for the rest of their lives because the racism virus infecting the country is more deadly than COVID-19.
What you should see when you see black protesters in the age of Trump and coronavirus is people pushed to the edge, not because they want bars and nail salons open, but because they want to live. To breathe.
To end, the Lakers legend could not help but take a shot at privileged Americans who do not have a complete understanding as to why centuries of oppression have pushed the African American community to the edge:
So what you see when you see black protesters depends on whether you’re living in that burning building or watching it on TV with a bowl of corn chips in your lap waiting for “NCIS” to start.
What I want to see is not a rush to judgment, but a rush to justice.
Kareem has never been afraid to speak out about social injustices, and he brings a unique view to the table here. While the former Lakers and Bucks center may not endorse the rioting and looting, he understands why some of it is happening. There’s a lot of pent-up anger out there because of systemic racism and oppression, and people have had enough.