Marcus Smart, the Oklahoma State star basketball player who shoved Jeff Orr, a fan in the stands near by, was reportedly told to ‘Go back to Africa’ by so-called Texas Tech “Superfan” Orr, leading to Smart’s outburst and push at the Ok State, Texas Tech Game last night.
You can see what happened here:
In Austrialian rules football, Adam Goodes was called a racist name by a 13-year-old-girl from the stands. Goodes pointed to her, and the stadium security had her removed. That’s the way it should have been for Jeff Orr, who’s old enough to be that girl’s father.
Telling someone black to ‘go back to Africa,’ is just about like calling them nigger, but without the obvious initial sting – still, it’s close. It’s not something you hear said to anyone white, Latino, or anything else. I don’t care how many rappers use the term, or what color the rapper is, I hate it – both the n-word and the ‘back to Africa’ taunt. But telling me to go back to some place I never really came from is worse in my book.
It’s not that there’s something wrong with Africa, so don’t try and change the subject from the one you don’t want to deal with. I’m talking about the historically-constant messages to blacks in America that we’re not American. Look at how some right-wing-nuts seized on the totally false idea that President Obama was born in Kenya. It was their way of saying that Obama wasn’t really an American.
It reminds me of when I was six years old in Chicago. It was 1968, and civil rights protests were in full bloom around America. At that time, there was some idea floated by militants called the “Back to Africa” movement. I recall being in our kitchen and fearful that someone was going to come and make us move to Africa. I told my Mom that I was from Chicago.
The idea that I’m foreign to America because I’m black was and is one that I totally hate, even today – and I don’t care what color the person is who throws the idea at me. It’s like calling me a nigger – it makes me mad.
I can see why Marcus Smart got into Jeff Orr’s face. Orr’s lucky Smart didn’t punch his lights out. Still, part of me wishes Smart did knock him silly – it would have sent a message loud and clear that the Orr’s of the World will not be tolerated.