Tobias Harris calls out white people for not listening on racial issues
Tobias Harris is the latest of many NBA athletes who have spoken up against racial injustice and police brutality on the heels of the George Floyd killing. The Philadelphia 76ers forward urged that in order to create change, white people must not just hear the struggles of black people, but also listen to them.
Harris noted he’s always willing to talk and help open up perspectives for people, but he’s often found those who don’t want to connect police brutality with the racism that’s plagued the country for several centuries.
The Sixers star opened up his piece for The Players’ Tribune brilliantly:
“I’m about dialogue, and I’m always willing to talk,” wrote Tobias Harris. “But if we gon’ talk about what happened to George Floyd, there needs to be a baseline acknowledgment of the reality: A white police officer killed an unarmed black man, and he was able to do it in broad daylight, with three other cops watching, because of the color of his skin.
And don’t reply to me with, “Oh, but this person did this.” Don’t try and make excuses, or say this isn’t about race. In a lot of my conversations with white people lately, I’m getting that statement over and over again: “Let’s stop making this about race.”
That’s easy to say when your brother or your father is not that person on the ground with someone’s knee on his neck. Your brother, son, father is not that person running away, getting shot at, in broad daylight.
I really just want to tell those people, Shut the hell up — because this IS about race.
It’s always been about race.
And if we dig really deep, this also about HUMANITY.
If you can’t acknowledge that, then I can’t really have a dialogue with you.”
The Sixers star is asking for a bare minimum acknowledgment that this is a war against racism first. Without that fundamental understanding, any conversation on the matter is rather fruitless.
Part of the police brutality problem is an institutionalized/systemic sense of inferiority against African Americans, which turns to officers often targeting blacks as it’s become obvious in recent days. In order to progress, white people must first acknowledge there is a problem with that sentiment before they can help cleanse the nightmarish racism that’s plagued the air for far too long.