Q: Despite the fact that corruption is commonplace in white-led administrations, black mayors (Ray Nagin, Tony Mack, Kwame Kilpatrick, Sheila Dixon, etc.) seem to get indicted more frequently than whites – interestingly, in almost inverse proportion to how often black coaches get hired in the NFL. Is a similar racial bias at work in both cases?
A: Equating bias in the criminal justice system with the challenges of being a black coach tells us very little about either. We know that the racial bias in arrest and conviction is deeply injurious to our social contract. A white child, black child and my Indian-American child must have faith that the cops are fair, the courts are humane, and the prison guards are respectful. If any of these three are missing, we live in a compromised society. And, alas, we’ve a lot of work to do on all three fronts.
The NFL is entertainment. It is a multi-billion dollar economic machine disguised as a game. The lack of black coaching is akin to the lack of black leadership in corporate America. A. Philip Randolph has the best advice on this matter: Pressure, pressure, pressure them until change arrives. The NFL will only respond to a widespread threat on their largesse. Unless Spike Lee decides to make it his cause, don’t expect too much change in the next few years.