If you’re fair and you look at the core of what Mike Ditka was saying, he had his moments.
- “You are a professional athlete. You have an obligation to the game.”
- “If you want to protest … you have a right to do that.”
- “Football has been so good to these guys.”
- “If you don’t respect our country, then you shouldn’t be in this country.”
- “You have to look at a person for what he is and what he stands for and how he produces — not by the color of his skin.”
- “If you want to work, if you want to try, if you want to put effort in, you can accomplish anything.”
Of course, if you put Stevie Wonder in the driver’s seat, told him to hold the wheel steady, turned the car on, and let him hit the gas, he would, in fact, start to drive.
Then, like Ditka did with “race”, Stevie’d run into something that he couldn’t correctly perceive.
Where, oh where, have you been living Mike Ditka to have honestly surmised that “There has been no oppression in the last 100 years”?
Still, let’s try to help.
See, what I take him to mean is that from his perspective, there’s been no oppression.
What that means is that while, sure, there were “differences” between Blacks and whites, those differences were as natural as the differences between male and female.
In other words, so what if the rules were different, so long as you played by them, you’d be fine.
So what if restaurants were segregated, eat in your place.
So what if water fountains and busses were segregated, use yours.
So what if there was lynching and Jim Crow, disparities in justice, housing, opportunities and employment; goddamn it, it’s better than what you had before!
Like I always say, Africa, from the perspective of too many whites, was a hell that we were “rescued” from, slavery was the arduous task of civilizing us, we got religion, we got culture, we improved.
Why so ungrateful?
That’s the reason the fourth bullet point that I used above always surfaces.
Hell, we’ve been “free” for 144 years now and if America’s so bad, why haven’t we left?
Nevermind that if Black Americans attempted a wholesale evacuation we’d see a white Pharoah emerge that would make Moses’ escape from Egypt with the Children of Israel look like a leisurely stroll.
Here’s where else Ditka went off the rails:
- “If you had to go somewhere else and try to play the sport, you wouldn’t have a job.”
- “If you don’t respect this flag and this country, then you don’t know what this is all about. I would say, adios.”
- “You have to be color blind in this country.”
- “The color of [a person’s] skin… has never had anything to do with anything.”
- “People rise to the top and have become very influential people in our country by doing the right things.”
- “You have a ballot box, you have an election. That’s where you protest.”
And here’s the counter to each:
- Canada has professional football
- Dissent in America isn’t only accepted, it’s actively encouraged – unless, of course, you’re Black
- Colorblindness is a defect, not an advantage and “racial” colorblindness is only possible for someone to whom it needs to explained what race is – and still doesn’t get it
- Except, according to what you said, over 100 years ago
- Donald Trump, anyone?
- Unless an election is what you’re protesting
You usually feel for the Ditka’s of the world unless it’s you that they just philosophically crashed into.
And in this case, it is.