Although LeBron James has never met my son, critical race theorists have indoctrinated him to hold my son in contempt for no reason other than his skin is white and he voted for Trump. LeBron has been led to believe that my son is a racist. Is he?
Ten years ago, my son began renting a condo he owned in a prime business and shopping district in Atlanta. His first tenant was a young, drop-dead gorgeous white woman who turned out to be a proverbial tenant from hell. When she gave her notice a year later, my son found a new tenant, a young African American woman named Marie. Marie was such an exemplary tenant that my son not only never raised the rent, he actually lowered it.
Three years ago, Marie wanted to buy the condo, but didn’t qualify for a loan at the time. Having since raised her credit score, she bought it a few weeks ago. Because the sale didn’t involve a real estate agent, my son could have pocketed the substantial amount he saved in real estate commission. Instead, and knowing that Marie plans to start a her own business in September, he gave the savings to her, every dime of it. And, without being asked, he also paid the closing costs. When the transaction was complete, my son and his fiancé took Marie out to dinner to help her celebrate being a first-time homeowner.
Would my son have made such generous concessions if his cantankerous white tenant bought the condo? Not in a million years. He would have judged that tenant by the same standard he judged Marie: the content of her character and nothing else. A racist home seller would not voluntarily give thousands of dollars to a black purchaser.
That act of racial even-handedness was not the first time my son extended a hand of kindness and acceptance to people who are not white. Three years ago, he hosted a New Year’s Eve party at his house. The 23 invitees included five who were black and two who were brown. A racist would not invite one person of color to a party, must less seven.
LeBron James has been led to believe that because of “systemic racism,” black people in America just can’t catch a break. (He belies that despite his enviable status as a soon-to-be billionaire.)
Is LeBron right? Is the America of today a systemically racist place?
There was a time in this country when systemic racism was more than a cheap political talking point used to turn out the black vote. I grew up during such a time, a time when black people were systematically excluded from full participation in nearly every aspect of American life, including athletic competition—when I enrolled at Georgia Tech in 1962, the SEC did not have a single black player.
I remember a time when black Americans routinely suffered dehumanizing indignities: prohibited from using white-only restrooms, denied public accommodations, forced to sit in the back of the bus and generally treated like dirt. But that unenlightened era is long gone—a systemically racist country would not elect a black president once, much less twice.
According to Pew Research, the black immigrant population in the U.S. increased fivefold since 1980, reaching 4.2 million in 2016. If America is a racist hellhole, as LeBron believes, why do so many black people from Africa and the Caribbean stand in line to get here?
I’ve never been to Africa, but learned about the crushing poverty there from five Uber drivers I met. These remarkable black immigrants arrived here with little more than the clothes they were wearing and a dream of building a better life here in the Land of Freedom and Unlimited Opportunity, which, for good reason, is the world’s most sought-after migrant destination.
Each of these Uber drivers described their immense appreciation for the opportunities America has afforded them. Kingsley’s story is similar to that of the others. Arriving here from Ghana 12 years ago and now a naturalized U.S. citizen, this patriotic new American told me this:
I had nothing in Africa. No job. No hope. I asked God to help me get to America. Getting to America is the greatest gift God ever gave me. You can make a living here. You can have enough food to eat. You can take care of your family. Look at me. I have a car. I have a car! I can never repay America for what it has done for me.
Like Kingsley, Sonny from Nigeria, Fidelis from Cameroon, Charles from South Africa and Jennifer from Tanzania prayed to get to America. All five of these exemplary people are filled with gratitude for the blessings this “systemically racist” nation has shared with them.
Slavery and Jim Crow will forever be a permanent stain on the legacy of an otherwise great nation, but those evil institutions no longer exist. Mistakes of the past notwithstanding, it is indisputable that no nation in history has ever done more to correct wrongs once committed against an oppressed minority of its own citizens than this nation has. It’s also beyond dispute that a black child born in America today has the exact same legal right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness as a white child. It wasn’t always that way. But it is now.
I ask LeBron this: Where else on earth can you get a better deal than right here in America? Cuba? Venezuela? Haiti? Maybe you’d be happier in China, an unrepentant racist nation that discriminates against Africans, commits genocide against its Uighur Muslim minority, and uses slave labor to manufacture the high-end athletic gear that has helped you become one of the wealthiest people on earth.
I hope you’ll allow yourself to recognize the role your country has played in creating a society that enabled you to achieve your wildest dreams. And I hope you’ll find it in your heart to stop judging conservatives like my son by anything other than the content of their character.
By John Eidson
John Eidson is a conservative political commentator, a patriotic American, and a regular contributor to The Blue State Conservative.