Opinion

Equality, Inc.

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Posted: Feb 19, 2019 12:01 AM
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Equality, Inc.

Source: AP Photo/Kelvin Kuo, File

LeBron James, worth over $400 million, is now in the “Equality” business. He released his $185 Nike LeBron 16 “Equality Pack” sneakers on MLK Day last month to add to his lucrative collection of sports gear.

The Nike LeBron 15s got thunderous media applause in 2017 after James wore one black sneaker and one white one to protest inequality during a Cavaliers game against the Wizards in D.C. The shoes had the word “Equality” emblazoned in large letters on the back. The Nike LeBron 15 was the same shoe that was custom-built with crocodile skin and dipped in 24-karat gold to celebrate LeBron’s 30,000-point milestone. Price: $100,000. 

“Obviously, we know where we are right now; we know who’s at the helm,” James said, referring to Trump after the Cavalier’s 106-99 victory over the Wizards. “Us as Americans, no matter the skin color, no matter the race, no matter who you are, we all have to understand having equal rights … I’ve been outspoken and well-spoken about what’s going on at the helm here. We’re never going to let one person dictate us Americans … Equality is all about understanding our rights, understanding what we stand for and how powerful we are as men, as women, black or white, or Hispanic.”

At the NBA All Star Weekend 2019 in Charlotte on Saturday, James, Dwayne Wade and Kevin Durant celebrated the NFL’s decision to settle Colin Kaepernick’s joint collusion grievance suit. Some speculate that the payout was in the $60 to $80 million range.

“I hope it’s a helluva lot of money that could set not only him up but set his family up, set his grandkids up for the rest of their lives,” James said on Saturday. “And I hope that the word of what he did will live on throughout American history but also world history … I think it’s important to stick up for what you believe in, you know what I’m saying? I think with Kap. I stand with Kap. I kneel with Kap.”

“Kap’s” world history-making event, of course, was not his standing up, but his kneeling during the National Anthem in the 2016 NFL season.

And what was all that kneeling about in the first place?

“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” said Kaepernick, who wore socks depicting cops as pigs during a game. “To me, this is bigger than football, and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people [police] getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”

America oppresses black people, and police kill black people. That’s what the kneeling was all about. The fiction of black oppression and police brutality gave birth to the Equality business, where celebrities get paid the big bucks while more crime gets dumped on vulnerable black neighborhoods.

What sane person in America today doesn’t believe in equality? All the manicured celebrity outrage is based on a fallacy.

LeBron and his cohorts are part of a pampered club of disconnected, rich, powerful people who are wheedling us to see discrimination everywhere, in a day when it can barely be found anywhere. LeBron is passionate about a fight that was won decades ago, crowned by the election of America’s first black president … twice. 

The core issue is not complicated. Police are more active in certain black neighborhoods because that’s where crime tends to be concentrated. And while there are rare exceptions, the most high-profile cases of so-called “police brutality” happened after young black men made themselves threats by refusing to comply with lawful orders.

In a column written several years before Kaepernick first took the knee, economist Thomas Sowell wrote a review of Heather Mac Donald’s 2002 book, “Are Cops Racist?” 

Sowell used a facetious analogy that demonstrated how racial profiling statistics are so easily manipulated: Since blacks are only 11 percent of the population, the NBA must be racist because more than half of those fined for misconduct while playing are black.

Of course, this is absurd. Since the majority of NBA players are black, Sowell wrote, the 11 percent statistic means nothing. This is the grand fallacy of racial profiling statistics.

“It is based on blacks as a percentage of the population, rather than blacks as a percentage of the people who do the kinds of things that cause police to stop people and question them.”

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In a 2014 column in City Journal, Mac Donald wrote that even if police suddenly ended all killings of civilians, it would have no effect on the risk of murder to blacks because it comes overwhelmingly from other blacks.

“In 2013,” she wrote, “there were 6,261 black homicide victims in the U.S. – almost all killed by black civilians – resulting in a death risk in inner cities that is ten times higher for blacks than for whites. None of those killings triggered mass protests; they are deemed normal and beneath notice. The police, by contrast … kill roughly 200 blacks a year, most of them armed and dangerous, out of about 40 million police-civilian contacts a year.”

The worst part? When insulated “American royalty” demonizes cops based on statistical fallacies, the consequences in real life get people killed.

“If carrying out their duties in the way that gets the job done best is going to bring down on their heads a chorus of media outrage that can threaten their whole careers, many cops tend to back off,” Sowell wrote. “And who pays the price of their backing off? Mainly those blacks who are victims of the criminals in their midst.

“These criminals go back to the black community – not the affluent, suburban and often gated communities where journalists, judges, and politicians live.”

By “contributing to the chorus of outrage” against the people who put their lives on the line to do the filthy work of law enforcement, James, Kaepernick and Nike – with their good intentions – unwittingly help pave roads to social and political Hell.

LeBron’s lucrative “Equality” tentacles now stretch to every aggrieved group that would look great in his Nike gear. So, it’s not likely he’d be receptive to “having a conversation” that challenges his false assumptions.