"Even if you in a Benz, you still a nigga in a coop." - Kanye West
Never has a quote said so much in less than fifteen words. By now, maybe you are familiar with the story surrounding LeBron James' California home being vandalized with a derogatory racial slur. I know that normally Tha Weatha Report tackles sports issues that have a lighter tone. However, not only does this have an impact on the sports world due to the NBA Finals starting in just a few hours, but this also goes deeper than the two best teams in the world competing for the Larry O'Brien trophy. This incident speaks to the fact that the land of the free and the home of the brave has never been more divided in the last three decades...or possibly ever.
We won't get into why this is...that subject is better served for a different forum. Instead, let's remember the words of Kanye West. For high profile African American athletes, and LeBron is obviously just that, it is understood that while money may place them in a higher tax bracket than other African Americans, it does not negate some of the challenges that they face. Many, including Jim Brown and Isiah Thomas, have applauded James for his response to the incident and Tha Weatha Report wants to express the highest level of respect to him for his candor and how he has conducted himself in regards to this matter. What we, as a country, should NOT do though is ignore the fact that any individual, regardless of tax bracket status, has to worry about coming home to a disgusting message being sprawled on their home. What we, as a country, should NOT do is hear a lyric from Kanye West and chalk it up to a rapper speaking nonsense. What we, as a country, should NOT do is be fine with any African American feeling that they are "still a nigga in a coop". When words ring loudly, we all should answer the bell.
Whether or not you're a LeBron James fan on the court is irrelevant when it comes to this situation. What is relevant is whether or not you're a fan of the human race. Tha Weatha Report takes the stance that we're all the same...just some of us were left in the oven longer than others. When you strip away our skin color, we all have the same amount of bones that make up our bodies. For the most part, everyone is understanding and accepting when players are on the court or field...so the question needs to be asked: When will that understanding and acceptance become commonplace outside of the sports arenas? It is often said that sports isn't life, but in this case maybe it should be.
The story should be centered around LeBron's quest to catch the ghost with six rings vs Golden State's attempt to become the NBA's newest dynasty. Instead, the narrative has become the ghost of America's past reminding us all that years have not removed us from insensitive acts and attitudes that divide. Nobody expects all of the country's issues to be fixed overnight. But what people do expect is the ability to not have to worry about their property being defaced. Maybe one day we'll all have the ability to say that being in a Benz is the treat it was designed to be...regardless of race.