Phil Jackson and his problematic use of the word posse Call it whatever you want, but it was definitely inappropriate | African-American News and Black History

All Day, LeBron James, NBA, Phil Jackson -

Phil Jackson and his problematic use of the word posse Call it whatever you want, but it was definitely inappropriate

All Day, LeBron James, NBA, Phil Jackson -

Phil Jackson and his problematic use of the word posse Call it whatever you want, but it was definitely inappropriate

posse

noun pos·se \ˈpä-sē\

: a group of people who were gathered together by a sheriff in the past to help search for a criminal

: a group of people who are together for a particular purpose

: a group of friends

That’s the definition of the word according to Merriam-Webster, which we defer to in this case. When New York Knicks executive Phil Jackson decided to pop off and make some oddball comments about LeBron James and what he and his friends do, many people found his comments to be offensive. Jackson, the legendary coach with 13 championship rings, in a wide-ranging conversation, decided to take aim at one of the most important basketball players ever, for reasons that we’ll still never understand.

More specifically, he referred to James’ business partners and crew as his posse, in a reference to how Pat Riley and Erik Spoelstra ran the Miami Heat when he was there. To a random viewer, it was a bad choice of words, rooted in a level of apparent disdain that many would chalk up to casual racism. Another, more cynical view, is that this was supremely problematic and effectively mirrored a “stay in your place” remark.

James and Maverick Carter were unhappy with what Jackson said, but he shouldn’t have been surprised. Let’s not forget what The Zen Master said back when the NBA decided to change its dress code 10-plus years ago. He was firmly in the “pull up your pants” camp, and had no problem saying so.

What’s most intriguing about Jackson’s stance is how clear he made it that he is out of touch with not just the NBA, but America in general. But don’t forget, he’s a 71-year-old white man who makes his home in Montana. He married the daughter of the owner of the team that was paying him. That’s a world that only he could live in. So, his characterization of Team James is not only insensitive, it’s inaccurate.

James is quite literally the American dream. Jackson still sees he and his squad as just another group of black guys. And you wonder how the Lincoln bedroom gained its newest resident.

Let’s just put aside the fact that James is one of the best players in the league and brought a championship back to Cleveland. Let’s also put aside the fact that the lone controversy in his career is one that involved a television decision that happened at a Boys & Girls Club. No gambling habits, no disrespect toward guys he played against, none of that. All James has done is help put kids into college, highlighted his hometown’s small business owners, and, you know, landed a lifetime endorsement deal with Nike.

https://twitter.com/RealLifeKaz/status/798605819101122560

Jackson’s remarks were entirely inappropriate. But his status as a revered personality across the league has protected his stance as anything other than reckless. Jackson drew on a history in this nation of trying to delegitimize the honest efforts of black people to live and exist in a world not built for them. At the core of Jackson’s point is that James is out of line for thinking that he is more important to his team or the league than anyone else.

If you want to know how racism works, this is it. It’s not always about some Ku Klux Klan member in a robe burning a cross, or even a police officer deciding that a black life isn’t worth a white one. It’s about the microaggressions that come from people who benefit from the system deciding that other people aren’t worthy of the success that hard work begets them.

Whether you think Jackson is racist is immaterial. The fact that many believe the accusation is unfair is a clear indication of how little we understand the true nature of the problem.


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