Imagine sharing a loaf of bread with someone who is hungry. Meanwhile, another person with bread is whispering behind you that your compassion isn't authentic, because, after all, you didn't actually invent bread.
Sounds silly? Petty? Because it is.
Former basketball great Jalen Rose stands 6 feet 8 inches, but he made himself appear small this week by continually pointing out that LeBron James isn't the first athlete to open a school. James' I Promise School opened Monday to serve low-income and at-risk students in his hometown of Akron, Ohio.
What we know is that black students don't have enough access to quality schools. We know nationally that less than 60 percent of black boys graduate on time. While a lot of us in education circles are calling for a full-court press on educational inequity, apparently there are some who would prefer to snipe at people doing the work.
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Interestingly, Jalen acknowledges that the situation is dire: "In the United States, the quality of your education is determined by your zip code."
Great, Jalen. That's a fact. A brutally oppressive fact that is especially prevalent in the lives of students of color. We appreciate that you have also built a school (something that you highlighted repeatedly during your ill-advised rant). We appreciate anyone, athlete or otherwise, committed to supporting students in their communities — even you, Jalen.
But chill, bruh.
Although we don't know if the school LeBron built will bring about sustained outcomes, I'm very happy for the students of Akron and deeply appreciative of what James does in his hometown. It's consistent with his other socially and racially conscious acts. The I Promise school is built on a foundation that demonstrates the school as a community revitalization effort. Perhaps Pennsylvania's legislators are paying attention. Never mind.
While we shouldn't have to wait for entertainers to open schools, which constitutionally are the responsibility of state governments, we applaud efforts to provide more access to our students. May more folks with means lean in heavily on the issue of educational injustice.
Shade not necessary.