In a recent piece for The Hollywood Reporter, basketball Hall-of-Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar called on black celebrities to “be fearless and relentless in speaking up” against the incoming administration.
“Trump’s selection of Jeff Sessions for U.S. Attorney General sends a clear message of where we stand. The guardian of equal justice will be a man who is accused of several acts of racism, including describing the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) as “un-American.”
…Trump believes [Omarosa Manigault] to be the best candidate for a position that will focus on issues such as community outreach. This is how Manigault reached out to the community on PBS’ Frontline: “Every critic, every detractor will have to bow down to President Trump. It’s everyone who’s ever doubted Donald, whoever disagreed, whoever challenged him. It is the ultimate revenge to become the most powerful man in the universe.” Bow down? Most powerful man in the universe? This is not a message or attitude that bodes well for having a representative in the White House to fight for a black agenda or the agenda of anyone who is already bowed down by poverty and injustice.”
This is not the first piece Mr. Abdul-Jabbar’s written condemning Trump. The former All-Star was an outspoken Clinton supporter and, on November 10, penned a Washington Post
piece titled “What it means to be black during a Trump administration
“After numerous police shootings of unarmed blacks every year, national Black Lives Matter protests, and unprecedented expressions of support from pro athletes, black Americans saw a glimmer of hope that white Americans were finally acknowledging the overwhelming evidence of institutional racism that had been glaringly obvious to blacks for many years,” he wrote. “But that hope was misplaced. Instead, a majority of white America chose to swallow the blue pill… People of color cannot merely play defense anymore. They must mount a long-term offensive that includes relentlessly challenging every act of institutional racism in the country.”
Sadly, Abdul-Jabbar’s fears seem ready to be realized. Race will no doubt be a massive issue for the Trump administration going forward, as they seem to mishandle it at every possible opportunity. Most recently, in a CNN interview, the chairman of the Presidential Inauguration Committee Tom Barrack told reporters that Kanye West was not invited to perform at the event because the inauguration was going to be more “typically and traditionally American”.
pointed out, he might as well have said Kanye was too “urban”. While there are many reasons not to book Kanye West at your conert (for instance, the unpredictability he displayed during the 2005 Concert for Hurricane Relief
), not being “traditionally American” seems like an extremely poor choice of words.
President Obama presented Mr Abdul-Jabbar with the Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor this past November, and UCLA
will be holding a ceremony to commemorate that award this coming Saturday.