Jake Fromm’s racist comments are the perfect example of the intentionality of white privilege.
The former Georgia quarterback star and Buffalo Bills rookie released an apology today after text messages were leaked on Twitter, exposing Fromm’s comments that guns should be “very expensive so only elite white people can get them.”
The statements are from a text exchange in 2019, where he was asked about his opinion on guns.
Fromm’s thoughts highlight the most dangerous ideals of white supremacy and white privilege. He believes, like so many others in this country, that certain rights — like the 2nd Amendment — should only apply to “elite” white people.
Fromm’s words are not only disgusting for their dripping racial insensitivity, but also because of their blatant intent to exploit a system that has benefited rich white people in America for centuries. Fromm’s words clearly show that he understands how he benefits from the social and economic disparities that exist from his white privilege.
He is cognizant of the fact that the median wealth of black and Hispanic families is only around 10-12 percent of the median wealth of white families. This gap is largely due to systemic racial factors such as redlining, employment discrimination, and segregation.
Not to mention the failure of the American government to give freed black slaves access to land and economic capital after the Civil War.
Fromm is also aware of the fact that his white privilege gives him the opportunity to say or text freely that gun rights should only be given to one group of people.
What the quarterback didn’t realize is that black people make up the second-highest percentage of gun owners in this country, behind whites, and have equal freedoms to exercise their 2nd Amendment rights. Combined Hispanics and blacks make up a larger percentage per capita of gun owners than white people.
But even putting these socioeconomic factors aside, Fromm’s beliefs are not only discriminatory — they are life-threatening.
Did he not see Ahmaud Arbery’s life taken away by two white gun owners?
Arbery’s killers were Greg McMichael and his son Travis McMichael. The elder McMichael was an investigator with the Glynn County District Attorney’s office for almost 25 years. Travis McMichael allegedly called Arbery a “Fucking N——“ when they shot him.
Would they be a part of Fromm’s so-called “elite” class?
“I am extremely sorry that I chose to use the words ‘elite white people’ in a text message,” Fromm wrote in his statement of apology. “There’s no excuse for that word choice and sentiment. While it was poor my heart is not.”
Fromm’s apology makes him only the latest to seek redemption after a week of white athletes apologizing for insensitive comments in the wake of George Floyd’s killing.
“Now more than ever is the time for support and togetherness and I stand against racism 100%,” Fromm wrote. “I promise to commit myself to being a part of the solution in this country.”
The Bills also released a statement on Thursday to address the situation surrounding their rookie quarterback.
“He was wrong and he admitted it to us,” the team said. “We don’t condone what he said ... We will continue to work with Jake on the responsibilities of being a Buffalo Bill on and off the field. “
No matter how many statements or apologies made by athletes like Fromm, few will ever forget their blatant disregard for the lives of others. It seems impossible to be able to hide behind a veil of white privilege when you compete in a sport that is majority black every single day.
But athletes like Fromm continue to show us the benefits of their white privilege. It’s still too easy to ignore the issues faced by their teammates — and people who look like their teammates.
Fromm’s comments illustrate just how intentional white privilege and racism can be. These people know the system is built for them and they don’t have a problem exploiting every other community to keep it that way.
Saying these things is no accident. Fromm and others like him know exactly what they are doing.