From blackface to racial profiling to “fitting the description”, black men are treated as if they are expendable or replaceable. We find this trend prevalent in today’s society.
Recently LaVar Ball and Marc Lamont Hill were both victims of being nationally stripped of their individuality. The former occurred when Saturday Night Live’s Kenan Thompson played the part as the father of NBA rookie Lonzo Ball, LaVar Ball, for a skit. At the very end of the skit, Colin Jost is heard referring to Lavar Ball as “The Black Trump”. A stretch considering that while Ball may be loud and outrageous at times, Trump has shown no regards to African-American struggle or history within The U.S.
In addition to this incident, LaVar also faced backlash after he posted a picture on Instagram in response to Nike making a statement that read, “LaVar is the worst thing to happen to basketball in 200 years.” LaVar responded by writing, “do your homework on where we were 200 years ago” but has since been deleted the post.
What no one wants to highlight is the fact that LaVar Ball is a successful father with three future NBA stars, who has created a sneaker brand on his own. Yes, he is often loud, cocky and makes wild claims, but the character that the media has developed out of his actions is likely much more dramatic than who he actually is because it is often much easier to group black men into a general clump of colorful generalizations.
It’s time for black people to stop being seen as a product that is easily replaceable (because “they’re all the same anyway”) rather than a makeup of incredible individuals with separate values and ideas.
This toxic phenomenon was demonstrated once again in the case of Marc Lamont Hill, a renown activist known for fighting for the rights and liberties of people of color. Lamont Hill is also a professor at Columbia University. When guest speaking on Bill O’Reilly’s news show, Bill compared Marc to a crack dealer by way of his appearance. Marc seems shocked at first but then tells Bill he looks like a crack user (which is actually statistically true). This incident showcases how hard it is for others to see African Americans as something other than the endless stereotypes that precede them. Because even when an African-American man is as successful as Marc Lamont Hill, they are still at risk of being victims of racism and microaggressions.
African-American men are not expendable. As hard as it is for others to believe, they are individuals, with unique personality traits. And yet, African-American men continue to be grouped into one. It’s time for black people to stop being seen as a product that is easily replaceable (because ‘they’re all the same anyway’) rather than a makeup of incredible individuals with separate values and ideas.