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Impressions of the ill-fated and inadvised: a Ted Talk

Trigger warning.

So, I was originally going to talk this week about the past NBA All-Star Game we just saw this past Sunday the 7th. I was going to talk about Steph Curry reminding people who the fuck he is, about how the NBA basically succeeded in their attempt to put on a successful weekend regardless of the fact that they crammed the weekend into just one day. Shout out to Anfernee Simons of the Portland Trail Blazers for winning the Dunk Contest during halftime. I was going to talk about Steph reminding people who he is because he balled out in that All-Star Game, with Giannis’ MVP in tow. But I’m not going to talk about that this week.

The time that we’re in right now is an incredibly unique one, and to my understanding, even those that we are holding in the highest regards for whatever reason or another not considering just how unique of a time we are in in history and a society, is a tale that has now become all too commonplace. Case-in-point: Miami Heat center Meyers Leonard has been suspended from the Miami Heat for a week and fined $50,000 after using an anti-Semitic slur during a video game live stream on his Twitch channel. Now I want everyone to understand something here: This is my very first time EVER hearing about the word. No bullshit. This past Tuesday a video surfaced of him calling another player a “fucking kike bitch.” now for those who don’t know what a ‘kike’ is, there’s a disputed theory about the word’s origin, but it’s current definition says the word derives from the Yiddish word ‘kikel’ which essentially means ‘circle.’ Basically, it suggested that Jewish immigrants who didn’t know their ABC’s signed their entry forms with a circle rather than an X. Based on this theory, Ellis Island immigration inspectors began calling such people ‘kikels’, and the term shortened overtime. Yes, I actually had to look this up on my own.

I invite anyone and everyone who reads this to please correct me if I am wrong, especially because I am just learning now myself what the word is. I personally haven’t heard it before, so this is my first time ever using it in writing, let alone speech. I don’t use words that I don’t know the meaning to, and I genuinely believe that no one else should use a word that they don’t understand, especially if they’re using it to offend or ridicule someone. So, excuse the fuck out of me if I’m not for one second buying Leonard’s claim of not knowing what the word meant before he screamed it at another gamer who was roasting him on Call of Duty. Don’t get me wrong, people talk trash on video games all the time—I know a broad and diverse community of gamers, and a lot of E-Athletes would agree that things get hostile quite often in cyberspace. That being said, in most, if not all proper respects, gaming is a pro sport, so it wouldn’t be surprising if he was subsequently dismissed by Twitch as well. Given more context, one could argue the stains that this incident leaves on E-Gaming on a whole are damaging and defamatory ones, but I’m not going to go that far today. Instead, what I am going to do is explain how valuable it is to leave alone what you know nothing about.

We’ve come to a point where there’s too much misinformation on our society. We live in a time where the entire world is at our fingertips, yet the vast majority of those fingertip-owners misuse or under-use these very tools. I’m not suggesting that Leonard needs a remedial class in Jewish hate culture, but sometimes you don’t have an excuse if you don’t know what the fuck you’re talking about much less what the fuck you’re saying. Sometimes, there are simply too many resources available for one to make a mistake like that. And sometimes, you happen to play for a multi-billion-dollar NBA franchise that just so happens to be owned by an Israeli-American by the name of Micky Arison, whose family happens to originate from Tel Aviv. Once again, I reiterate, I did this research on my phone.

We just narrowly escaped a year in 2020 that came with racial discrimination on all sides, primarily and mainly towards People of Color (because, always), and Asian-Americans (because of the supposed origin of the current pandemic). The racial uprising in June where it came to a head notwithstanding, especially after the killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor (whom we just observed in memoriam following their ruthless murders at the hands of police roughly a year ago), for white people—and better yet those who understand the mistakes of our white counterparts, I will say that this right here is proof to not just rest on laurels of your profession to be a cushion for you. It doesn’t just go for POC’s, as our discrimination throughout history might arguably be much more profound. This incident doesn’t just prove the insensitivity still directed towards various and numerous humans of varying and numerous cultures, but the scariest thing of all was Leonard’s response, that he had no clue what the word meant. Yet, he had to have heard it in an offensive sense SOMEWHERE before since he decided to wield the slur like a grenade launcher. So, the logic is essentially invalid, and more offensive.

Leonard should consider himself quite lucky to be made an example of like this. He’s lucky Julian Edelman didn’t rip him a new asshole on Instagram instead of offering to lend a hand and extend an invitation to learn. He’s lucky the cast of Inside the NBA on TNT didn’t hang him out to dry and simply divulged to explaining why this is so systematically cumbersome to our progress. If we expect to have any decent conversations about our differences and struggles within and between society, then we cannot be having the same arguments about people in the public eye not being educated, or worse, them reaching more publicity in spite of that lack of education. It’s become inexcusable, and especially ridiculous. Because right now, no one knows Meyers Leonard for his crucial starts in the NBA Finals last year against the Lakers when Bam Adebayo was out. Instead, they know him for using a term that he had no business using since he had no fucking clue what it meant. No more apologies. It’s plain and simple. Do. The. Work.

Thanks for attending this Ted Talk.






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