Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Public Political Stance

What is the best career move stance for a black sports media figure with national exposure (writers excluded) in relation to Black Lives Matter? I don't agree with violence in protest but I respect what they are saying, trying to raise awareness about the experience of black people in America. There is a second position that is risky and can only be occupied by a few, but also works, which is to blast them. You have a different audience and reputation that way, but it can keep a career moving.

What is the best career move for a current black athlete in relation to Black Lives Matter? For most, it will be a quiet nothing, keep focused on your team, and your sport, your cliches of all sorts, etc.  But a few can increase their visibility by being very much in favor of Black Lives Matter and showing themselves to be deeply involved in the community and willing to take risks. Or in congratulating others for taking risks without taking any yourself.

These people aren't stupid, they know what their business is.  That doesn't mean they are insincere, either, as they are likely to choose or lean largely on the basis of what they already think. Socially adept people just nose into the slots that are open - usually based on a persona developed over a lifetime, partly by intent, partly just following some crowd.

Hispanic writers and athletes have almost nothing they can say that won't torque somebody off.

White athletes and commentators are granted a few more choices, though even those are still pretty narrow, and their risks are higher if they say anything at all.

So have pity on public figures when they say things that infuriate you.  They don't get much chance for nuance, because no one is going to listen that long.  Writers, if they are skillful, are the only ones who can pull that off, and even they usually stay in one of the main tracks anyway.

1 comment:

james said...

"These people aren't stupid, they know what their business is." In the sense that they know how to throw a ball or run or look cute on cue as their business may require, yes, they know what their business is. But given the number that turn up in the headlines for really dumb decisions in other aspects of life (perhaps from bad companions or from starting to feel invulnerable and entitled), I think some of the folks are--let's say "unwise." Certainly not substantially smarter than the rest of us.

They won't be alone. Between their hangers-on, handlers, and friends in the business there's plenty of others to try to influence their public stances.