On Monday, San Antonio Spurs coach and longtime leftist Gregg Popovich expressed his perspective on the world to the assembled media. “Our country is an embarrassment to the world,” Popovich explained. He said that players who decided to protest the national anthem “have our full support. No matter what they might want to do or not to do, it is important to them to be respected by us, and there is no recrimination no matter what takes place unless it’s ridiculously egregious.”
The wokest coach in basketball then lectured everyone on racial politics:
[P]eople have to be made to feel uncomfortable. Obviously race is the elephant in the room and we all understand that. Unless it is talked about constantly it is not going to get better. … Because you were born white you have advantages. … Many people can’t look at it, it’s too difficult.
Popovich went on to rip NASCAR owners who threatened to fire employees who sat for the national anthem, stating that such a perspective represented “childishness … gratuitous fear-mongering,” and concluded, “I had no idea that I lived in a country where people would actually say that sort of thing. I’m not totally naïve, but I think these people have been enabled by an example that we’ve all been given. You’ve seen in Charlottesville.”
But don’t worry, Popovich isn’t the divisive one, even though Popovich endorsed Colin Kaepernick’s kneeling for the national anthem long before Trump addressed it.
There are a bevy of problems with Popovich’s perspective here. First, talking constantly about race does not alleviate racial problems — it exacerbates them. That’s why polls show consistently that race relations were better before President Obama took office: by elevating racial discourse back to the center of our national consciousness, we reopened wounds that had been healing. And the notion that being born white in the United States represents an unspoken privilege is unsupported by data. If that were the case, Asian-Americans would not be the highest-earning group in the United States; if that were the case, single white mothers would be better off than married black parents (they aren’t, by a long shot); if that were the case, we would expect to see white life expectancy continuously rising, rather than falling again. Judging people’s circumstances based on color rather than actual individual background is racism.
Finally, connecting all of this with Charlottesville rather than a natural backlash to the cultural warfare waged against patriotism by the hard-core left is myopic at best.
But at least Popovich continues to win brownie points with the leftist media.