Houston Forward Times

02 April 2014 Written by  TaShon D. Thomas

Get Off Kobe!

Kobe bryant con competencia - Copy

In the latest issue of the New Yorker Magazine NBA star Kobe Bryant was quoted saying "I won’t react to something just because I’m supposed to, because I’m an African-American," Bryant continued. "That argument doesn’t make any sense to me. So we want to advance as a society and a culture, but, say, if something happens to an African-American we immediately come to his defense? Yet you want to talk about how far we’ve progressed as a society? Well, we’ve progressed as a society, then don’t jump to somebody’s defense just because they’re African-American. You sit and you listen to the facts just like you would in any other situation, right? So I won’t assert myself."

Before I continue, I must say that I am in no way, shape, form or fashion a fan of Kobe Bryant or of the LA Lakers. I believe that he is a highly overrated player whose ego should be placed into check. With that being said, I hate to say this, but Kobe is right. Some have mentioned that we should not listen to Bryant because he mostly grew up in Italy and truly does not understand the racial undertones of America. Though he may not have grown up entirely in the United States, his comments should actually be taken seriously, especially for those of us who have lived in the post-civil rights era.

From the Jena Six to the Chad Holley beating to the Trayvon Martin shooting, I have never and will never take a stance in front of the issue. Before I start beating the drum of racism and hop on the bandwagon, I assess the entire situation. No I am not naïve to the fact that racism still exists, but I honestly do believe that every situation that happens to African Americans is not always because of racial undertones. We have killed each other for decades, yet there are not many who are actually in the community trying to change the situation. We have always had a "crabs-in-a-barrel" mentality, but not many are trying to help uplift our communities.

It always amazes me when James Crow shoots lil Ricky from around the block how many are quick to pull the race card. But when lil Ricky from around the block shoots lil Johnny from next door, few come out with the same anger and disappointment. If we as a community want to live in a progressive society, we must first be willing to attack the problems that we cause to ourselves. We continuously do not show up when it matters, but are able to easily see the problems of other communities.

For those who lived during the times of segregation, I completely understand that it will be hard for you to truly trust the intentions of other races. But for us who have had the freedoms and rights not granted to previous generations, we have to start looking toward a future where racism is not the first word out of our mouths. We cannot continue to create and join the bandwagon until all evidence proves that racism was the motivating factor.

So before anyone send me an email disagreeing with me, please ask yourself this question: After Jena and Chad Holley and Trayvon Martin, what have you actually done to make a change in your community to ensure that we can progress into the future? I’ll wait. #ijs

TaShon Thomas is a young politico and serves in different capacities throughout the city of Houston, including being the youngest Executive Committee Member of the NAACP, Houston Branch. TaShon can be contacted at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .