NBA player Kyle Korver wrote a must-read essay on what he's learned about white privilege in America.

Kyle Korver's thoughtful essay on race—and his role as a white man in today's America—is a must read.

Utah Jazz basketball player Kyle Korver is making waves with his Players Tribune essay in which he lays out what he's learned about race and racism and his personal role in it all.

Korver starts with his reaction in 2015 to finding out that the NYPD had arrested his black teammate and friend, Thabo Sefolosha—and broken his leg in the process. Sefolosha was eventually found not guilty on all charges and the city of New York paid him $4 million in a wrongful arrest settlement.


Korver describes how his initial response to news of the incident has gnawed at him:

"On the morning I found out that Thabo had been arrested, want to know what my first thought was? About my friend and teammate? My first thought was: What was Thabo doing out at a club on a back-to-back??

Yeah. Not, How’s he doing? Not, What happened during the arrest?? Not, Something seems off with this story. Nothing like that. Before I knew the full story, and before I’d even had the chance to talk to Thabo….. I sort of blamed Thabo.

I thought, Well, if I’d been in Thabo’s shoes, out at a club late at night, the police wouldn’t have arrested me. Not unless I was doing something wrong.

Cringe.

It’s not like it was a conscious thought. It was pure reflex — the first thing to pop into my head."

So begins Korver's deep dive into his own unconscious biases, his burgeoning awareness of his own privilege as a white man, and his growing understanding of the racism so many of his teammates and other people of color constantly deal with. His essay represents a thoughtful, honest example of the kind of self-analysis white Americans need to undertake to uproot the racism enmeshed in our country's foundation.

It really needs to be read in its entirety. Slowly. Without a lens of defensiveness or fragility, if possible.

Korver doesn't say anything about racism that black people haven't said forever. But seeing the journey of a white American's consciousness may help others on their own path.

In a perfect world, all white Americans would listen when chorus after chorus of black Americans tell us how they experience racism. In a perfect world, the voices of people of color would be listened to, heard, and believed.

Obviously, we don't live in a perfect world. Hopefully, Korver's voice will reach people who need to see an example of what learning to be an ally looks like. Perhaps his eloquent explanation of how his understanding has evolved will help other white Americans ask themselves hard questions about their own privilege and racial blind spots.

For example, Korver points out how simply having the ability to ignore or blow off race issues is a form of privilege that many of us don't think about. White Americans have the choice to opt in or out of grappling with racism. People of color have no choice but to deal with it, day in and day out.

Korver also explains that subtle racism—the kind we see all the time but don't always recognize—needs to be tackled just as much as blatant racism:

"As disgraceful as it is that we have to deal with racist hecklers in NBA arenas in 2019? The truth is, you could argue that that kind of racism is 'easier' to deal with.

Because at least in those cases, the racism is loud and clear. There’s no ambiguity — not in the act itself, and thankfully not in the response: we throw the guy out of the building, and then we ban him for life.

But in many ways the more dangerous form of racism isn’t that loud and stupid kind. It isn’t the kind that announces itself when it walks into the arena. It’s the quiet and subtle kind. The kind that almost hides itself in plain view. It’s the person who does and says all the 'right' things in public: They’re perfectly friendly when they meet a person of color. They’re very polite. But in private? Well….. they sort of wish that everyone would stop making everything 'about race' all the time.

It’s the kind of racism that can seem almost invisible — which is one of the main reasons why it’s allowed to persist."

Again, this is the same thing black folks have been saying over and over and over again. When are we going to listen?

Predictably, Korver's essay irked defensive white folks who ironically prove his point. But most responses have been enthusiastically supportive.

Some people just aren't going to get it, no matter how well all of this is explained. Cue the "white guilt" (which is directly addressed in the essay, by the way) and "no such thing as white privilege" (literally the point of the essay), along with "enough with the victimhood" and "SJW-virtue-signaling-PC-nonsense" commenters.

But thankfully, those voices are being drowned out by the ones that matter most. And yes, some voices actually carry more weight in discussions about racism—namely the people who live it, day in and day out.

LeBron James, Korver's former teammate on the Cleveland Cavaliers, shared his essay with the comment, "Salute my brother!! Means a lot. And like you said I hope people listen, just open your ears and listen."

Dwyane Wade of the Miami Heat offered a simple "Thank you."

Speaker and writer Exavier Pope praised Korver for the example he is setting:

As did Chicago Bears defensive tackle Akiem Hicks:

These issues need to be brought to light over and over again until everyone who needs to see them starts seeing them. As writer Doyin Richards wrote when he shared the post on Facebook, "This article from Kyle Korver (a white NBA player) is phenomenal and should be required reading for all white people."

Seriously, let's all read the essay. Twice. Then let's get busy doing the vital work that needs to be done.

Leah Menzies/TikTok

Leah Menzies had no idea her deceased mother was her boyfriend's kindergarten teacher.

When you start dating the love of your life, you want to share it with the people closest to you. Sadly, 18-year-old Leah Menzies couldn't do that. Her mother died when she was 7, so she would never have the chance to meet the young woman's boyfriend, Thomas McLeodd. But by a twist of fate, it turns out Thomas had already met Leah's mom when he was just 3 years old. Leah's mom was Thomas' kindergarten teacher.

The couple, who have been dating for seven months, made this realization during a visit to McCleodd's house. When Menzies went to meet his family for the first time, his mom (in true mom fashion) insisted on showing her a picture of him making a goofy face. When they brought out the picture, McLeodd recognized the face of his teacher as that of his girlfriend's mother.

Menzies posted about the realization moment on TikTok. "Me thinking my mum (who died when I was 7) will never meet my future boyfriend," she wrote on the video. The video shows her and McLeodd together, then flashes to the kindergarten class picture.

“He opens this album and then suddenly, he’s like, ‘Oh my God. Oh my God — over and over again,” Menzies told TODAY. “I couldn’t figure out why he was being so dramatic.”

Obviously, Menzies is taking great comfort in knowing that even though her mother is no longer here, they can still maintain a connection. I know how important it was for me to have my mom accept my partner, and there would definitely be something missing if she wasn't here to share in my joy. It's also really incredible to know that Menzies' mother had a hand in making McLeodd the person he is today, even if it was only a small part.

@speccylee

Found out through this photo in his photo album. A moment straight out of a movie 🥲

♬ iris - 🫶

“It’s incredible that that she knew him," Menzies said. "What gets me is that she was standing with my future boyfriend and she had no idea.”

Since he was only 3, McLeodd has no actual memory of Menzies' mother. But his own mother remembers her as “kind and really gentle.”

The TikTok has understandably gone viral and the comments are so sweet and positive.

"No the chills I got omggg."

"This is the cutest thing I have watched."

"It’s as if she remembered some significance about him and sent him to you. Love fate 😍✨"

In the caption of the video, she said that discovering the connection between her boyfriend and her mom was "straight out of a movie." And if you're into romantic comedies, you're definitely nodding along right now.

Menzies and McLeodd made a follow-up TikTok to address everyone's positive response to their initial video and it's just as sweet. The young couple sits together and addresses some of the questions they noticed pop up. People were confused that they kept saying McLeodd was in kindergarten but only 3 years old when he was in Menzies' mother's class. The couple is Australian and Menzies explained that it's the equivalent of American preschool.

They also clarified that although they went to high school together and kind of knew of the other's existence, they didn't really get to know each other until they started dating seven months ago. So no, they truly had no idea that her mother was his teacher. Menzies revealed that she "didn't actually know that my mum taught at kindergarten."

"I just knew she was a teacher," she explained.

She made him act out his reaction to seeing the photo, saying he was "speechless," and when she looked at the photo she started crying. McLeodd recognized her mother because of the pictures Menzies keeps in her room. Cue the "awws," because this is so cute, I'm kvelling.

Photo by Heather Mount on Unsplash

Actions speak far louder than words.

It never fails. After a tragic mass shooting, social media is filled with posts offering thoughts and prayers. Politicians give long-winded speeches on the chamber floor or at press conferences asking Americans to do the thing they’ve been repeatedly trained to do after tragedy: offer heartfelt thoughts and prayers. When no real solution or plan of action is put forth to stop these senseless incidents from occurring so frequently in a country that considers itself a world leader, one has to wonder when we will be honest with ourselves about that very intangible automatic phrase.

Comedian Anthony Jeselnik brilliantly summed up what "thoughts and prayers" truly mean. In a 1.5-minute clip, Jeselnik talks about victims' priorities being that of survival and not wondering if they’re trending at that moment. The crowd laughs as he mimics the actions of well-meaning social media users offering thoughts and prayers after another mass shooting. He goes on to explain how the act of performatively offering thoughts and prayers to victims and their families really pulls the focus onto the author of the social media post and away from the event. In the short clip he expertly expresses how being performative on social media doesn’t typically equate to action that will help victims or enact long-term change.

Of course, this isn’t to say that thoughts and prayers aren’t welcomed or shouldn’t be shared. According to Rabbi Jack Moline "prayer without action is just noise." In a world where mass shootings are so common that a video clip from 2015 is still relevant, it's clear that more than thoughts and prayers are needed. It's important to examine what you’re doing outside of offering thoughts and prayers on social media. In another several years, hopefully this video clip won’t be as relevant, but at this rate it’s hard to see it any differently.

Moricz was banned from speaking up about LGBTQ topics. He found a brilliant workaround.

Senior class president Zander Moricz was given a fair warning: If he used his graduation speech to criticize the “Don’t Say Gay” law, then his microphone would be shut off immediately.

Moricz had been receiving a lot of attention for his LGBTQ activism prior to the ceremony. Moricz, an openly gay student at Pine View School for the Gifted in Florida, also organized student walkouts in protest and is the youngest public plaintiff in the state suing over the law formally known as the Parental Rights in Education law, which prohibits the discussion of sexual orientation or gender identity in grades K-3.

Though well beyond third grade, Moricz nevertheless was also banned from speaking up about the law, gender or sexuality. The 18-year-old tweeted, “I am the first openly-gay Class President in my school’s history–this censorship seems to show that they want me to be the last.”

However, during his speech, Moricz still delivered a powerful message about identity. Even if he did have to use a clever metaphor to do it.

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