Cultural critic Touré is calling out the right-wing for assailing NFL and NBA players, saying it’s because they secretly hate black stars making millions of dollars.
Calling it President Donald Trump’s “All Massas Matter” speech in Alabama, Touré argued for the Daily Beast that in many cases the attacks on players is about money.
“These commenters use ‘multi-millionaire’ in front of ‘athlete’ as if it’s a pejorative,” he explained. “They also use ‘overpaid’ or even ‘spoiled.’ They are saying rich athletes do not have the right to protest precisely because they’re rich.”
He cited Newt Gingrich, who used the words on “Fox & Friends” referring to the athletes as “multimillionaires” so many times that it became “comical.”
“Watching young guys who are millionaires explain that the country hasn’t been good to them,” Gingrich said. “They’re arrogant young millionaires who shouldn’t inflict their politics… If you’re a multi-millionaire who feels oppressed, you need a therapist, not a publicity stunt.”
Touré went on to refute Gingrich, saying he “has it backwards.” Rather it is the “the black millionaire who needs a therapist is one who feels like black people aren’t oppressed because he himself is a millionaire. But my real question is this: why is the players’ large pay a critical part of the argument and why is it used as a disqualifier?”
It’s a strange case where having lots of money is not proof of “importance” the way it is with most of white America. Touré makes the argument that people are taught to listen to those with money simply because of their affluence. Trump even used it as part of his justification he should be president. He constantly touted his success as a successful businessman for his experience creating jobs.
The answer he explained for why this is taking hold surrounds the “central ideas of the modern right—the notion of who is hard-working and who is not,” Touré wrote. “If you listen to Sean Hannity or Rush Limbaugh for just 10 minutes you’ll hear them describe their followers as ‘hard-working,’ and imply or say outright that the other side is lazy and wanting hand-outs, which is code for entitlements and welfare. Conservatism’s stance against taxation and entitlements and big government requires this. Those who would accept welfare must be seen as lacking character and totally unlike us, allowing the rest of us to look down at them, and stay behind the push to reform or remove the system.”
The same is true “in Hannityworld,” he explained. “Hard-working” has become a synonym for white. Meanwhile, “lazy” and “welfare recipient” are synonymous for people of color.
“All of this dog whistling has barely enough wiggle room for people to say this isn’t about race, but of course it is,” Touré went on. “Trump’s comment that all this isn’t about race is laughable—he’s deliberately urging the NFL’s owners and fans, who are predominantly white, to take action that would punish protesting NFL players, who are overwhelmingly black.”
Trump’s attack shows that he’s attempting to “silence black players on behalf of offended whites,” Touré wrote. “He’s pushing racial buttons and taking sides. When he says it isn’t about race you just have to wonder if he knows he’s lying or if he’s not consciously aware of what he’s doing. Is he being dishonest or completely incompetent? I’m really not sure.”
Read the full op-ed in the Daily Beast.