Journalist Laura Ingraham rebuked the King, LeBron James for “talking politics” during a car interview with fellow rider and basketball superstar Kevin Durant and ESPN hostess, Cari Champion. Her chastisement to his commentary came around mid-February 2020, about a month before the Coronavirus breakout.

            I have not written an Op Ed or essay in over a year. Partly, because nothing moved me, and I wanted to hear from others if anything was worthy of social interest from another voice other than mine.

            After reflecting on the NBA and WNBA postponing Playoff games to draw light to yet another video of an unarmed Black man being shot in the back seven times by White police officer in Kenosha, Wisconsin, I began to reconsider Ingraham’s scolding of “Shut up and dribble.”

            James’ commentary made reference to President Trump not caring for the common man and woman and how he had fanned the flames of division and hatred—“the numero uno job in the USA, is that of the President, Donald Trump; he does not understand people; it [he] is laughable and scary.”

            Ingraham’s Primetime Fox rebuttal to what she deemed were “unintelligible,” “ungrammatical,” “unwise,” and “unqualified” critiquing of USA politicians especially the Commander-in-Chief, and out of line for professional athletes as well as proof that highly paid “Black” basketball players should just “shut up and dribble.” Ingraham said she was not interested in political advice from “someone who gets paid $100 million a year to bounce a ball.”

            I wrote an article a few years ago, “Who is monitoring the Fourth Estate.” I suggested that the fourth estate, historically speaking, is that allotropic entity of print and visual media as well as every outlet that publishes information about persons, places, things, and that the Fourth Estate was intended to observe and report on the other three branches of governance—Executive, Legislative and Judicial. If, therefore, the Fourth Estate does a good job, it might help foster a more just process of checks and balances and accountability within our organic processes of social-economic-political life.

            One of my professors during my Conflict Analysis and Resolution Ph. D. matriculation asked, “What about bias?” As we pondered our Dissertation proposals and neared the end of our classes, his query and subsequent discussion suggested that every scientific effort like car interviews and TV host editorials are motivated by research, respondent, or reporter bias. Every human being sees life from his or her Standpoint (Hegel, Dorothy Smith, Patricia Collins), Horizon (Husserl, Habermas, Gadamer), or perspective and intersubjective vantagepoint     .

I am aghast at her assertion, but  not surprised. The present conditions of postponements, the Republican Convention and its pandering of fear, xenophobia, and MAGA discourse reminds me that America has been telling Black and non-White folk to “Shut up” since it brought Africans here in 1619; designated them as 3/5th of a human being (1787 Constitutional Convention compromise); Dred Scott Supreme court case (1857) which said, “a  Black man’s right are not required to be respected by a White person”; the Reconstruction Act (1867) and subsequent abandonment by Federal presence and influence that facilitated making America what it had been by fomenting the Jim Crow era and Black codes. Perhaps, Ingraham was expressing misplaced anger because White females just got Suffrage in 1920. If so, how ironic that she would tell Black men to muzzle their First Amendment rights and just do your job—entertain us, but do not expose, embarrass, or dare calls us to accountability.  

It is both strange and usual that I have not heard anything from Ingraham concerning these videos of unarmed Black men, women, and children being shot by White policeman who use their voice to defend themselves with erroneous dribbling of ungrammatical, unintelligible and irrational explanations for what they did.

“Shut up” is dismissive and disrespectful. The irony of this, in light of sports postponements and the disinformation of MAGA rhetoric from the GOP Convention, is that America has been telling non-White folk to do that for decades. Japanese Internment facilities (Executive Order 9066, 1942-45); the Washington Football team’s recent sexual harassment scandal rekindles what the USA has told Native Indians since the first Thanksgiving in return for Native American’s hospitality; the need to revote the Civil Rights and Voting Right Acts indicates the reluctance of White American leadership to live the true meaning of its creed, “We a hold these truths that ALL men…” In other words, USA history, President Trump, and Laura Ingraham refuse to see and hear non-Whites crying for justice. We have never been against the flag, military, or police. Rather, they continue to reverberate the USA’s historical responses with “shut up”, yet pull yourself up even though I have my knee on your neck and if you make a “threatening” moves, I will shoot you dead  because I am God in America, your judge and juror, and the Captain of your fate.

I now believe that like the Middle Ages persecution, such as the Inquisition or Waldenses, drew blood that became Protestant Reformation seed, so “Shut up and dribble” has become seed for today’s protests and future efforts to effect righteousness rolling down like waters and justice as a mighty stream. I did not like to hear what Ingraham and USA history has been saying, however, what they meant for evil has been used as raw material to motivate Black Lives Matter, Me Too, Sports postponement, me writing again, and whatever God choreographies from unexpected places and persons who refuse to shut up. Thank you Laura Ingraham for your biased opinion that has spring boarded James, the NBA, NHL, and whomever to lift up their voice like trumpets, gotten Joe and Jane Citizen out in the streets as well as shaken the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial branches of government, and shown an international spotlight on the USA as “His [God’s] truth is marching on and nothing but the truth will set us free.