Opinion

Cori Gauff’s Colorblind Dream

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Posted: Jul 14, 2019 12:01 AM
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Cori Gauff’s Colorblind Dream

When tennis phenom Cori “Coco” Gauff was 10, her best friend asked her in a video what she dreamed about the night before.  “I dreamed that me and my parents drove a golf cart to the moon,” she said, shrugging her shoulders as if to have no clue what the dream meant.

You can never be sure, but Cori’s dream seemed to foreshadow the make-believe stuff of her real-life journey.  Knowing nothing about tennis, her parents quit their jobs to launch her career when she was 6.   They became a “no-income family,” as they put it, which made it impossible for them to enroll her in expensive tennis schools.  So, Dad became her coach and Mom home-schooled her.

Last week, 15-year-old Cori became the youngest woman ever to qualify for the main draw at Wimbledon.  She upset Venus Williams and Magdalena Rybarikova in straight sets, then beat Polona Hercog in a nail-biting third-round win in her Centre Court debut.

Although Cori’s Wimbledon dream was cut short with her loss to Romania’s Simona Halep on Monday, her rise to the tennis stratosphere was a lot like driving a golf cart to the moon.

“I’m literally living my dream right now,” she said in an interview.  Facing Venus wasn’t intimidating, she said, because playing her was a dream that came sooner than expected.  To keep her focused, her mother reminded her that beating Venus was not the goal; winning Wimbledon was.  Venus, it turns out, was a major stop on the way to the moon.  

When I think about how snugly Cori’s story fits into the American dream, two thoughts come to mind:

First, it was remarkable how little the media focused on Cori’s color.  Some did.  But most focused on her youth, her unlikely journey, her humility, her fierceness and focus in competition, her determination to improve, her poise under pressure and, more than anything, her stunning athletic performance.  

That’s exactly where our focus ought to be in the economic performance of all underprivileged blacks. Poor economic performance is not a political problem; it’s a moral and psychological one – anchored in universal laws that govern success.  Good or bad, you will always reap what you sow.  The golden thread that runs through excellent performance is colorblind.  You’re either meeting its demands, or you’re not.  

Second, in the same week that Cori was hard at work chasing her dreams, Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, Colin Kaepernick were working hard to link the “black community’s” poor economic performance to the nightmare of slavery.  

You never find these privileged black politicians rolling up their sleeves inside black neighborhoods to do the hard work of helping to change the outcomes of the underprivileged.   They’re dream is political power.  Exploiting black misfortune is their golf cart to the moon.

Instead of planting dreams like Cori’s in the minds of young blacks, they conjure up centuries-old nightmares that cripple their imaginations with debilitating visions of why it’s impossible to succeed in America without government help – without their help.

Cori Gauff is proof of what’s possible in America, regardless of color.  She’s a young girl, born in 2004, who never let anyone spoil her dreams.  And now, she’s being wildly cheered by royalty, celebrities and millions of adoring strangers around the world.   

Meanwhile, liberal dream-killers are busy conjuring up delusions of racial oppression – dragging the country through the gooey muck of a history that no longer exists.

Joe Biden was still dazed after being sucker-punched by Kamala Harris who accused him of buddying up with segregationists to oppose school busing.  His gut reflex was to tell the truth.  But after taking a few wild jabs in the air, his political reflexes kicked in.  So, he apologized … again.  A gloating Corey Booker bathed in cheap political brownie points after taking credit for being the first to call Biden out.

Former first lady Michelle Obama, basking in the glitter of celebrity, looked the other way as the brutal apparatus of political racism ganged up on Biden.

Nancy Pelosi said Trump wants to “Make America White Again.”  After Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez painted border patrol as racists who forced “people of color” to drink toilet water in “concentration camps,” she all but called Pelosi a racist because she disrespected “women of color” in the House.

About the same time, NBA commissioner Adam Silver says he wants the league to stop using the word “owner” because it sounds too much like slave talk.

There’s something deeply disturbing about privileged people – born more than a century after slavery ended – using that history to paint America as inherently racist for political gain.  They skip over the part about hundreds of thousands of white people dying to set slaves free, as if that never happened.

The problem with upward mobility in pockets of the black community is not political. The problem is a distorted dream – a warped picture that parents, politicians and race hustlers conjure up in the imaginations of blacks to link poor economic performance to slavery and legal discrimination.  That kind of talk robs blacks born in unfortunate circumstances of hope, and it frees them from the responsibility to do something about it.  

Comedian Steve Harvey, like MLK, believes in dreams.  In his many talks, Harvey quotes Albert Einstein: “Imagination is everything.   It’s the preview to life’s coming attractions.”  

“Your real life – the one God really got for you – is in your imagination,” said Harvey.  “It is not in your current situation.”

Harvey, who lived in his car for three years while chasing his dream, is today seen on television nearly every day, all year.  His career started – not with an education – but a dream, he told an audience at Hillsborough Community College in 2015.  

“The reason I’m here today, is because my life has been jacked up, and I have learned and mastered the principles of success,” he said.  “The most important thing in your life aint your education.  The most important thing in your life is your dream.  It’s the dream that propels you.  You have to do something with your life that makes your heart beat when you get up in the morning.”

Cori Gauff is that kind of dreamer.  She’s shooting for the moon despite the energy that political pundits invest in the delusion that there’s still racial oppression in 2019.    

“I’m only 15,” she said.   “I’ve not nearly … developed my game.   I’m so excited to see, if I continue to work hard, what other success I can do in the future.”