I was sitting down reading a book today and this Black dude came out of the hospital and said to me, “the verdict is at 2:15.”
I just nodded.
Then he said, “I hope she doesn’t get any time.”
I nodded some more.
Then he said, “I mean, even if she did kill her, I still hope she doesn’t go to jail. She’s probably suffered enough.”
By now, I’d at least figured out what he was talking about, but I still knew better than to comment so I nodded again.
“Doesn’t the whole thing remind you of OJ?” he asked.
Now, the imagined response that Black man would give as a follow-up to the Casey Anthony trial, a trial in which the 25 year-old Ms. Anthony was found innocent of murdering her two year-old daughter Caylee and then not only lying about it, but muddling up the evidence is, “of course. It’s a little white girl. No wonder the whole country is concerned.”
Then we’re supposed to roll a blunt and turn to BET (if it isn’t already on).
When white people invented “Blackness” as a way of suggesting “otherness” for descendants of sub-Saharan Africans, the role was supposed to be played with minimal intelligence, a narrow worldview, chronic myopia and even less compassion.
I, however, view my own Blackness a lot like I view my status as a Knick fan. Not saying that being Black is as bad as being a Knicks fan—being a Knicks fan is far worse—it’s just the Knicks not playing has never precluded me from watching the game of basketball.
See, I’m a fan of the game even before I’m a Knicks fan.
And it’s as such that two of my saddest days as a fan were the day that Len Bias died from using coke in 1986 and the day that Reggie Lewis suffered sudden cardiac death in 1993.
I was heartbroken in each case despite the fact that both of those dudes had ties to the hated Boston Celtics; Bias was the 2nd overall pick in the NBA draft that had taken place two days earlier and Lewis was an all-star swingman.
A tragic loss of a life should be more important than basketball.