AN OLD BASKETBALL COACH’S EXISTENTIAL DIAGNOSIS OF RACISM

As a general rule, basketball coaches have a single focus: to coach/teach the team to excel. Great coaches are outstanding in creating the team environment of commitment to unity, positive mental attitudes, and strong moral character.

Yet it is rare for a coach to wade, let alone take a deep dive, into the controversial systemic racism. However, systemic racism is real and not just talk. It is a horrible human disease which must be confronted at all levels. My 78-year life experience has shaped me to seek the symptom of a problem which leads to uncovering the root problem.

Let me use the human body to explain the symptom and root problems. When an injury occurs, the body part with the most intense pain will mask the more serious injury. I experienced this while falling recently on a winter day, causing my thumb to be dislocated. Both my thumb and wrist were badly bruised, taking about 15 minutes to get my thumb back in place. In three or four days, the muscles in my grin and backside exceeded the thumb and wrist pain. These parts of my body were much more difficult to heal.

I see systemic racism like my thumb. Although being a terrible atrocity and evil, I believe it is only a symptom of a far deeper problem. Diagnosing its symptom will bring to light the root existential diagnosis.

When the symptom of any problem is the focus, it will reappear time and time again. Thus, history repeats itself over and over again. The present-day racial issues are a repeat of the 1960s. Check out those years; they were ugly and violent. 

Since the beginning of civilization, this worldwide ugly phenomenon of systemic racism has been a human condition problem. The root problem is systemic selfishness. The solution is one person at a time becoming a brother or sister to another. The solution is not destroying civilization or a person.

Personally, that solution begins with me. I need to lead my life in its joy and love of people, seeing them as children created by God.

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