Due to my bearded look, the filmmakers cast me as an overseer in two scenes, shattering me out of my comfort zone. Surrounded by production-placed cotton and sugarcane, they gave me a prop whip and directed me to snarl, grunt and shove at extras playing slaves. Racial slurs were plentiful to ensure realism. Everyone participating knew what they had signed up for…
'…American athletics, in basketball and football, depend on young black men for their bread and butter. Yet, these organizations from the NCAA on up feel no responsibility to create contexts free from racial assault in which these players can play. Not only that, but they demand that black folks “grin and bear it,” when mistreated. White people are not without power in this situation. What might it have looked like for Marcus Smart’s coach to come out not only to testify about Smart being a stand-up guy but also to condemn the grown-ass man who viciously taunted him?'
…That is what support for the players who make your job possible looks like. That is what it means for white folks to confront racism. Marcus Smart is the same age as Trayvon Martin and Jordan Davis would have been if they had both reached their 19th birthdays this month. These young men, all born at the end of the 20th century, share at least one major sensibility in common. They did not automatically offer deference in the face of white audacity. They met disrespect with disrespect, which in my estimation is the supreme litmus test for whether America deserves its post-racial bona fides.