The outcries of the Black Lives Matter movement has remained a relevant topic that has lingered in the media and news for decades. An impressive achievement considering it’s a “controversial” topic that’s considered taboo when even discussed.
Much like the L.A. riots that took place in 1992, the 2020 BLM movement brought to light judgments of the United States, as well as controversy to its seemingly fullest extent. But no matter how uncomfortable students, coworkers, and friends may feel about addressing black people and the issues surrounding the black community, people of color do not rest on the human rights drive, no matter what the occasion.
The topic of race and color is a much more accepting one than merely twenty years ago. However, that isn’t to say people of different races and colors are fully accepted. Even on our private campus, The University of Miami which prides itself in excellence and diversity still struggles with Black lives mattering.
To touch on the paradoxical mentalities that walk the campus grounds, some who live in the same quarters as those that are oppressed are the same for whom most of their racial dismay can be found online behind fake accounts, a.k.a. finstas and throw-aways. UM’s football team, where on Instagram they’re known as Canes Football, expresses their agreement with the BLM movement while portraying tolerability, racial justice, and support in a handful of their posts. However, under the photos of coaches wearing “Say Their Names” t-shirts and teammates with “Black Lives Matter” plastered on their chests, has comments of hate speech and ignorant rants on their distaste for the well-known calls for peace and equality. These include:
“Sorry I don’t speak ebonics. Can you translate?”
“Only wins matter.”
“F*** that!! All lives matter!! Hope you tear an Achilles.”
These are just some of the disgraceful and hateful comments left by UM students and alumni under Canes Football’s BLM post. This specific post that contained the comments above was captioned “We stand together, united against social injustice.”
The Hurricane community is supposed to accept one another no matter the race, sexuality, or physical differences of each individual, or at least, that is what The University of Miami strives for but just hasn’t reached yet.
These repulsive comments are just a glimpse of what black people go through every single day in America, however, in the light of all that racism, UM’s student-athlete Kameron McGusty chooses to educate the haters rather than intimidate or threaten them.
The twenty-three-year-old guard on the University of Miami’s men’s basketball team was a part of the recent Watsco Center Voting Rally that took place last month, a march on behalf of the BLM movement. It was a chance to share the importance of voting in this upcoming presidential election to its participants. For McGusty, he saw the opportunity in attending the voting rally as a way for him to join a community coming together to show the student body that the student-athletes are addressing the problem.
“We care about this matter just as much as we care about our sports. Our students should care about it as much as we do. We want to have the same support from our school, our staff, and for them to have the same passion. Especially since a majority of the sports teams are people of color,” McGusty explained.
With periodic race issues arising, many athletes are expected to ignore the human rights issue that pertains to their overall health and well-being in this nation. “Just shut up and dribble” as Fox news anchor Laura Ingraham put it. Or as UM’s student/alumni stated online: “ Just focus on winning the f****** games we don’t need this forced down our throats just a d*** W!”
“Those comments hurt, it just goes to show the country we live in and the type of morals that’s been built around our people. Me, I’m more of a controlled person, so I frown upon it. But that’s the reason why I educate and I try to answer and explain to people my point of view. They might not feel me now, but hopefully, they will down the road,” McGusty explained
In his hometown of Katy, Texas, no real social movement was noticed until after the murder of George Floyd. However, when faced with blatant racism, ignorance, exploitation, and discouraging words, McGusty sees fit to exercise his rights to speak up on his struggles as a human being and as a citizen of the United States. As Lebron said, He “will not shut up and dribble.”
Brianna Jackson, a nineteen-year-old player on UM’s women’s basketball team, was also an attendee of the Watsco Center’s Voting Rally and a part of a segment focusing on athletes and activism called Voices with Jawan Strader. As one of the athletes participating in the segment, Jackson stated her forms of experiencing hate.
“There were some pretty nasty comments about me,” said Jackson. Jackson is a stranger to most viewers, on a segment about acceptance, racial tolerance, and activism is targeted for ridicule for reasons that can be assumed but formally unknown.
Jackson, in response to the Canes Football Instagram fiasco, felt that “when the football team came out with their pictures, canes were offended or they didn’t like it. They were talking about how they didn’t want to support the team anymore. They’re mad but we’re black.”
“All these fans spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to come to our games. I feel like if they’re real fans, and if they truly care about us as human and as a person, they’d care about how unfairly we’ve been treated and how much it hurts our community to see our people being treated like that,” McGusty states.
Fans expect football players, basketball players, and other highly minority-populated sports players to stay quiet and not voice their opinions in the middle of a figurative race war. This nation is incredibly divided and the political battle comes second to the forty-eight million people who can face death or grave injury by wearing a hoodie or having a taillight out. The balance of importance on human rights topics is skewed, but for the many young adults at The University of Miami, their black lives are their top priority.
To conclude the rude awakening Canes fans, the student body, and other affiliates must confront: “It is important to show that the entire team is affected by racism, not just the minorities,” McGusty explained
We all need to stand together to fight racism. The “shut up and dance boy” mentality is extremely unprogressive. If fans want to see another victory by the school’s teams or care to see innocent human lives treated with dignity, respect, and equality, they should support the team’s players. These players are black people first and basketball players second. Without the jersey, they can easily be another police brutality victim. Care and consider for the black life.