Why Blacks Have No Need To Be Grateful
“Another ungrateful black multi millionaire.”
Those are just two examples of a common sentiment echoed by many throughout this country towards blacks. It goes like this: a black celebrity does something that a powerful white person doesn’t agree with and labels them as ungrateful. Let’s take a closer look at the ridiculousness of this school of thought.
The first comment above was part of a Twitter rant from none other than the President himself in relation to Lavar Ball being “ungrateful” for having Trump step in to get Ball’s son and his other UCLA teammates out of “jail” in China. Because Ball didn’t say thank you, Trump flew off the handle and compared Ball to a “poor man’s version of Don King” before ending the rant by calling Ball an “ungrateful fool.” insert incredulous look here
Let’s break this one down.
First off, why should Ball need to be thankful that the President merely did his job? As the Commander-in-Chief of the United States, it is his ultimate duty to protect the citizens of this country. It doesn’t matter where they are. When three American citizens are “arrested” in a foreign country, it should be a no-brainer for the President to step in and intervene on their behalf. Ball has no reason at all to be thankful for Trump’s action here on that accord alone.
Speaking of these boys being arrested and put in “jail,” turns out that’s a bit of a stretch. They were staying in a Hyatt Hotel and were free to leave whenever they wanted. It wasn’t as though they were shackled to the walls in a dungeon and Trump came to their rescue. No, they were living life no different from they would have been if they hadn’t of shoplifted from three stores in 90 minutes — which was incredibly stupid, by the way. With this in mind, there is even less for Ball to be grateful for.
Then we have the fact that Trump called Ball a “poor man’s Don King.” It should be obvious why this is not an acceptable statement to make, let alone coming from the President. Referring to a black man as a “poor man’s” anything is about as uncouth as you can get. To then use that to compare him to another black man — one having a widely known and rough history with authority figures in the United States, no less — makes this an even more egregious statement.
Getting back to the subject of being ungrateful, it’s insane to me that this is even a story. If these players were white and not related to the polarizing figure that is Lavar Ball, this likely would have been but a footnote on an 11 o’clock news story, as it should have been in this case. But these players were black, and should be thankful for the help of a powerful white man.
This concept of being grateful gets even more puzzling when we see it applied to situations where blacks aren’t even receiving direct aid from a white man.
The second statement at the beginning of this article — “Another ungrateful black multi millionaire” — was made by former Congressman Joe Walsh about musician Stevie Wonder.
During a performance at the Global Citizen Festival in September, Stevie Wonder told the audience he would take a knee for America before doing so to support the protests started by Colin Kaepernick that were gaining national attention during that time.
To summarize, a black musician took a stand — well, knee in this case — for a cause he believed in and suddenly he’s ungrateful? That statement was also used at various points towards various athletes who were doing the same around this time. They are supposed to be grateful for the opportunity to be doing something based on their God-given talent and shouldn’t step a toe out of the line that certain — i.e. white — people have drawn.
What this is all boils down to is that some white people believe talented black individuals should be thankful to them for being allowed — by said white people — to use their God-given talents to make a living. Not only that, but if you then use your position as a talented black individual to speak out on an issue that affects your race, then you aren’t grateful.
Black football players kneeling in protest of a country that kills their brethren on a daily basis? Ungrateful.
Black musician who kneels to support said black football players? Ungrateful.
Black players and parents not publicly saying thank you to the President for doing something that is quite literally in his job description? Ungrateful.
At the end of the day, these individuals are where they are only due to the hard work they’ve put in. Any black athlete or entertainer likely had to work twice as hard as they would have if they were white. If anything, they should be grateful for the fact that they managed to reach these heights in spite of society trying to knock them down at every turn.
I long for a day with talented black athletes, musicians, actors, and everyone in between can just be who they want to be without the need for people telling them they need to be grateful for x, y, and z.
It may not happen today or tomorrow, but if we keep calling these people on their bullshit, maybe we can begin making strides towards that eventuality.