Message to Donovan Mitchell:
Keep enlightening our community, man. Speak your mind, get the message out about the progress that still needs to be made regarding racial justice and the lack thereof in this community, in this country, in this world.
That deficit vexes us, still.
Do it on social media, do it with spoken words, do it person-to-person, do it in essay form, do it with the example you set with your actions.
We need it. All of us.
Do it for Utah.
And if you get blowback, bring it even more.
It has nothing to do with basketball, but because of basketball, your profile is high enough to make a difference at a level that rises above others. If anyone tells you they won’t be a fan of yours anymore because of your strong feelings, that person needs to hear you more than most.
If people hadn’t noticed, you’ve done some of this already — with a lot of support and some dissent from responders. When you posted the “free-ish” call on Instagram, referring to the progress in racial issues from the time of emancipation on, progress that is too slow, that still needs to be made, most folks get it. Some have a problem with you, a multi-millionaire NBA player, crying out for more freedom, claiming, rather ignorantly, that you are more free, with all your talent and opportunity, all your cash, than they are with their low-paying wage.
What rather remarkably some of those people don’t get is that you are speaking for a section of our society that has not benefited from some of the same privileges that others have. Far too often, blacks in this country and in this community haven’t been treated equally. In some cases, they’ve suffered horrific injustices, institutionally speaking.
You know this — and are attempting to make it better.
Good on you.
Anybody who’s been paying attention, anyone who is willing to listen, anyone with an open mind and an open heart and open eyes, knows this, as well. Or should know it.
But … even that group needs to go on learning about how that knowledge can be best applied and utilized for the greater good. And that’s the majority around here.
The ignorant haters likely are going to go on hating — and there may be little that can be done for them. They do exist right here in our city and state. Just like you, Donovan, everyone should be allowed and enabled to express their opinion — but the room given for those who hate and encourage hate … well, there may be no penetrating that degree of thickness, that amount of stupidity.
The majority, though, can improve, want to improve. We can understand better and act better, can become more aware of changes that need to be made, can insist upon those changes — in schools, in the workplace, in social settings, in every setting, in our institutions, top to bottom, in an arena known around the NBA for its passion, but also for some racist comments from the crowd.
We need to learn, Donovan. Every one of us. We need to have it riveted into our heads that ignorance is no excuse, that malice is pathetic. Assigning negative value to race is nothing short of that. Sad, sorry, uncivilized, inhuman.
Go on, then, Donovan. Use your name, your voice, your position, your experience, your wisdom, your background, your concern to talk about what needs to be talked about — even if it makes some people uneasy or hauls them out of their comfort zone.
God knows, we need the hauling.
GORDON MONSON hosts “The Big Show” with Jake Scott weekdays from 2-7 p.m. on 97.5 FM and 1280 AM The Zone, which is owned by the parent company that owns the Utah Jazz.