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Open letter to Stephen A. Smith (of ESPN) regarding Colin Kaepernick

Dear Stephen A:

Being a sports fan, I enjoy watching your debates on ESPN’s “First Take” when I can. I also respect you for your adroit coverage of the National Basketball Association (NBA) for more than 20 years, and your rise in the media world to arguably become the face of a multi-billion-dollar division of the corporate conglomerate, Walt Disney. However, your position on Colin Kaepernick, the ex-quarterback of the National Football League’s San Francisco 49ers, is flat-out wrong. And let me tell you why.

According to your view on Colin’s protests of unarmed black men being shot by the police, you believe the number one thing that would bring change to this dilemma is to vote in elections. You emphatically stated this after hearing that Colin did not vote in the last presidential election. There are a number of reasons why voting is not the first thing African Americans should do to bring revolutionary change to this problem.

The first thing to bring solution to the issue is African Americans must disapprove and stop the mainstream medias’ defining African Americans with the worst-of-black life in its content. Whether it’s diabolical rap music getting play on a radio station or inhuman behavior displayed by African-American characters on TV, mainstream media oppresses African Americans with its material. This grievous content, that’s controlled by others outside of our community, gives people reason to view African Americans as worthless and valueless. As long as this negative media continues to inundate the country’s airwaves, unarmed black men will be viewed as a “threat,” valueless, and a target in which police officers can shoot first and ask questions later. Further, we should acknowledge here what Malcolm X said regarding those who control media: “Media’s the most powerful entity on earth. They have the ability to make the innocent guilty and make the guilty innocent, and that’s power…because they control the minds of the masses.”

Secondly, since you often quote Pastor A. R. Bernard of the Christian Cultural Center in Brooklyn, NY, I’d think you’d be open to me quoting a scripture regarding ‘seasons.’ Ecclesiastes 3:1 states:

3 To everything there is a season and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

As you know Stephen A, an athletic example of seasons changing within the NBA is how decades ago basketball teams won championships because they valued big men such as Bill Russel, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Shaquille O’neal. These big men dominated games with their close-to-the-basket shots and presence ‘in the paint’ on defense. Currently, it is the season for teams with players that can shoot the long-distant three-point shot that gives NBA teams a greater chance of winning the championship.

We must recognize the season of voting to empower African Americans has ended and it was short-lived during the 1960’s. Yes, African Americans made strides with the passing of the Civil Rights Act of 1963 and the Voting Rights Act of 1964. The current season of politics has changed and it’s the season for those who utilize their enormous sums of wealth to get legislation passed. Legislation gets passed by politicians who accept money from lobbyists and the wealthy. The idea of ‘voting first’ to bring change to the issue of unarmed African-American men being shot by the police is too costly for us as a community. We just don’t have the money or the governmental power to get laws (that would reduce these shootings) passed.

The third thing we should do is offer overwhelming financial support towards a do-for-self economic plan. The success of this plan would change the view of how others, including police officers, view African Americans. The combination of positive media and a noble do-for-self economic plan would re-brand our image so that the lives are our young men, and all others from our community, are perceived as valuable. This marketplace solution would also watchdog and correct the media outlets that depict African Americans in a negative light. And no government agency will ever be able to do that.

Finally, Stephen A, I will give you props for your position of how you will “do what you can but eventually handover the issue of our communities’ oppression to those that are fighting for equality in the black community.” As I follow through with a marketplace solution, I ask that you stay the course with your commitment of getting with those that are doing something about the unjustified police shootings against black males.



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