Slavery! Really!?!? (An Open letter to Jesse Jackson)

Dear Reverend Jackson,

Slavery? Are you serious?

Last week Lebron James decided to pack his  bags, leave Cleveland, and go play for the Miami Heat. This lead to James’ former employer Dan Gilbert posting a nasty letter taking James to task about the way he carried himself during the free-agency process. For the first time, in what I’m guessing was a long time someone told Dan Gilbert “No!” and meant it.

The truth is Dan Gilberts’ massive ego was crushed. He became the proverbial undefeated heavy weight fighter that just got knocked out for the first time and he didn’t know how to handle it. Honestly, every man doesn’t know how to react to the taste of  his own blood and this is obviously a weak spot in Dan Gilbert’s character. Perhaps Mr. Gilbert will use this as a teaching moment for himself.

Reverend Jackson, you and Jim Brown to a lesser extent, then decided to describe the situation in the “runaway slave/slave master” dynamic.  “I almost expected to see a caricature of Dan Gilbert saying “I’m gonna get that boy if it’s the last thing I do!” Gilbert launched an all-out assault on Lebron James, his image, and his organization because Lebron literally took his ball and left. However to compare a multimillionaire who became a multimillionaire because he excels at a children’s game to chattel because he was on the business end of a harshly worded, poorly thought out letter is belittling. It wasn’t belittling to Lebron James as an individual, it was belittling to those of African descent in the Diaspora whose legacy is connected to actually slavery and you sir should know better. Our time on this side of the globe has not been easy but you’re getting upset about two rich men having what amounts to a tantrum is a waste of anger.

Is this the fight you need to be involved in? How are the schools in Newark? D.C? Detroit? New Orleans? Chicago? South Carolina? Now those are fights that need fighting. Gilbert versus James is just another case of two rich men with large egos having a falling out with one another. Nothing more nothing less. The NBA’s free agency hoopla was just a poorly executed exercise in free market economics, unabashed egomania, and grand standing but not slavery, so just get over it.

If you want to compare anything to slavery please take a look at the NCAA member schools profiting from the images and exploits of “scholar-athletes” in the tune of millions dollars annually.  Put pressure on those same schools to help increase graduation rates for those same “scholar-athletes” while you’re at it. 

Reverend Jackson, I don’t know what is actually behind your speaking out against Dan Gilbert’s letter but I just don’t understand why you did it. If you are the leader you claim you are, sir I suggest you pick a bigger fight that actually worth fighting.

Vaya con Dios,

Wu Young


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