The mistreatment of the Black athlete is one of the most unique forms of harassment in society.
Not only are these individuals subjected to the racism associated with being a Black person in America, but they must also deal with the irrational criticism that comes with being a public figure. Not to mention, today’s Black athletes are living in a social media era that makes everyone easily accessible to the hate that any loser can spill at a moment’s notice.
When these things collide, the picture usually isn’t pretty. We saw it with Ohio State’s E.J. Liddell after their loss to Oral Roberts in the first round and now Illinois’ Kofi Cockburn is receiving racist messages on his Instagram account after the Illini lost to Loyola Chicago in the round of 32.
Messages like these aren’t new for Black people especially ones that play on national television every few days, but the fact that we still have to have these conversations about racism and valuing people as human beings in 2021 is absurd.
I and many other Black people are tired of having to address racism to our athletes, our public figures, our family, and our friends. For Cockburn to have to deal with this level of bigotry because of a game is disgusting. These athletes have literally put their lives on the line to play in the midst of COVID, and this is what they receive?
There’s nothing right about what Liddell and Cockburn have had to go through in this NCAA tournament. I’m sure they aren’t alone but they have chosen to make their mistreatment public. I’m glad that they decided to put these messages out so people can understand how far that we still have to go in society.
Everyone should share love with people, it isn’t that hard.