Monday night, ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith was invited to give a talk on “The Legacy, History and Impact of the African American Athlete” at the University of South Alabama.
The talk was scheduled as a part of the university’s program offerings during Black History Month. Part of Smith’s talk was specifically addressed to the young black students and attendees in the crowd.
According to a WKRG report, Smith wanted them to know that “racism” is not an excuse for a lack of progress in their lives – because it doesn’t exist for them:
“Racism doesn’t exist. Obviously, I’m lying. Of course it exists, but not for you. See, you don’t have to go to the back of the bus. You’re not denied the opportunity to eat at restaurants, or to enter night clubs, or to patronize businesses. You have the right to vote. You’re not being lynched. You’re not being hung. You’re not going through the trials and tribulations your ancestors recent and far beyond recent, endured so you can sit here today.”
You’re older, you know I’m not talking about you. But youngsters, nobody’s trying to hear that. You need to understand that white folks got problems, too. Some of them can’t pay their bills. Some of them are struggling. Some of them are being denied opportunities. And you need to understand that, because when people are going through their own problems, they are not going to lament what your trials and tribulations are […]
That applies to them too in their world. So if they’re going through that, how could they possibly be sensitive to your trials and tribulations? That doesn’t mean that you don’t go through it from time to time. It doesn’t mean that you don’t have those experiences.
It means that we will not allow you to use it as an excuse.