The rioting in at an alt-right rally in Charlottesville, VA last weekend has gotten the entire world talking. One person was killed and 24 injured after Alex James Fields, Jr. drove his Dodge Charger into a crowd of anti-protesters. While president Trump has been quick to call out similar acts of terror around the globe, he blamed both sides for getting aggressive in Charlottesville – the alt-right, Neo-Nazis and the alt-left. The comments got LeBron James’ dander up, accusing the president of making hate fashionable:
On Tuesday night, after Trump had tried to blame what he called the “alt-left”, James discussed Charlottesville at an event for the LeBron James Family Foundation …
He said: “I know there’s a lot of tragic things happening in Charlottesville. I just want to speak on it right now. I have this platform and I’m somebody that has a voice of command and the only way for us to get better as a society and for us to get better as people is love. And that’s the only way we’re going to be able to conquer something as one. It’s not about the guy that’s the so-called president of the United States, or whatever the case …
Earlier in the day, James had criticized the president for “making hate fashionable again”. James said on Twitter: “Hate has always existed in America. Yes we know that but Donald Trump just made it fashionable again! Statues has nothing to do with us now!”
The images coming out of Charlottesville were some of the worst we have seen. Dr. Cornel West who helped a group of clergymen lead a resistance against the alt-right said he had not seen hate like that in all his lifetime. Seattle Seahawks’ Michael Bennett referenced Charlottesville before deciding to sit for the national anthem. While Colin Kaepernick has been blackballed for the gesture, nothing has happened to either Bennett or the Raiders’ Marshawn Lynch.
Several professional athletes from the NBA to the NFL to the WNBA have voiced concerns about Charlottesville, police brutality and race relations. Professional sports have asked athletes to become more vocal in their local communities in order to spur fan loyalty. That said, we have not witnessed athletes speaking up like this since the days of Jim Brown, Muhammad Ali and Lew Alcindor.
Of the current crop of athletes, none have been more vocal than LeBron. It was LeBron, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and other members of the Miami Heat who wore hoodies in order to shed like on the murder of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman. Martin’s death and subsequent trial sparked major protests and helped define an era. They also helped lead to the formation of Black Lives Matter.
The president actually condemned the hatred and bigotry of the alt-right. He fell short of disavowing their right to peaceful protest, however. He also condemned aggressive actions of all parties involved, including who he termed the “alt-left”:
We are closely following the terrible events unfolding in Charlottesville, VA. We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides … This has been going on for a long time in our country. Not Donald Trump, not Barack Obama … this has been going on for a long, long time.
Trump’s claim that “This has been going on for a long time in our country” appeared to be a veiled attempt to say “This is not my fault.” Though Trump’s rhetoric appealed to the passions of many white Americans during his presidential campaign, there were several acts of violence during the Obama administration as well. Dylan Roof murdered nine African Americans at the Ebeneezer Baptist Church in Charleston, SC in 2015, including state senator Clementa Pinkney. The tragic deaths of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown in Ferguson and Tamir Rice in Cleveland all happened while Obama was in office. Nobody in his right mind would blame Obama for “making hate fashionable again” so why blame Trump?
The president has backed himself into a corner of sorts. When violent acts have occurred abroad he has been quick to point them out as terrorist attacks. When it came to the cowardly act of Alex James Fields, Jr. that left several lives shattered, Trump waffled. That said, I think James’ claim that he made hate – the same hate that has been going on before Trump became president – went a bit far. The U.S. is a powder keg right now. We are witnessing the “pain ahead” that Shock Exchange: How Inner-City Kids From Brooklyn Predicted the Great Recession and the Pain Ahead predicted a few years ago. This is likely the tip of the iceberg.
On Shock Exchange
Shock Exchange: How Inner-City Kids From Brooklyn Predicted the Great Recession and the Pain Ahead explains the stock market and U.S. economy through the eyes of the New York Shock Exchange, a financial literacy program Ralph Baker started in 2006 to share his passion for investing and basketball with his 11-year-old son and other boys his age. The book predicts the “pain ahead” for the U.S. economy, the demise of China, the pending stock market crash and social unrest.
Shock Exchange has been trumpeted by President Obama, the Senate Finance Committee and House Ways and Means Committee. However, they conveniently forgot to cite the source. Critics try to make and unmake authors, but the market always decides. The book was also recently added to Trump Syllabus K12, crafted by Dr. Kaye Wise Whitehead of Loyola University Maryland. Shock Exchange is the best book on Wall Street in the past 20 years, and on economics, it may be the most important book since the Great Depression.