- Nov 4, 2007
I don’t understand this comparison. Was Dolly Parton somehow profiting for a partnership with a government or entity that was causing the AIDS crisis?Effective activists usually focus their efforts on one or two issues for which they have particular passion, often because of a personal connection to the issue. This is especially true for folks for whom activism isn’t their day job.
I can’t recall a white person ever being criticized for this. For example, I don’t remember anyone, ever, suggesting that Dolly Parton is a hypocrite because she didn’t focus on starving children in Africa alongside her efforts to promote literacy and HIV/AIDS research, or that Leonardo DiCaprio* is a hypocrite for not focusing on women’s rights as much as he focuses on the environment. Which makes sense — it would be stupid to criticize these people for not being engaged with every issue that might be worthy of their attention.
Yet, when a Black man like LeBron decides to make civil rights his cause, there’s suddenly a symphony of voices calling him a hypocrite because he doesn’t also devote himself to addressing an unrelated issue affecting people halfway around the world. It’s a double standard. And it’s not much different than folks who called Martin Luther King** a hypocrite 60 years ago for not focusing on black-on-black crime as much as he focused on Jim Crow.
*-DiCaprio might be criticized for maintaining a lifestyle inconsistent with the concerns he espouses, but that’s different.
**- To state the obvious, school will always be open on LeBron’s birthday. I’m comparing the criticisms (i.e., LeBron’s critics now to MLK’s critics then), not the men being criticized.
I get what you’re saying about how minorities face greater demands for intersectionality than white people, but that’s not what’s happening here. LeBron is hypocritically keeping quiet on an issue and in fact tamping down criticism of China in general in the league solely because it affects his bottom line. Unless you credibly believe he’d make the exact same statements if shoes and basketball weren’t marketable in China.