As debate rages on about the Eric Garner decision, one particular act of protest has caught massive amounts of attention: LeBron James and other athletes wearing “I Can’t Breathe” shirts on the court. Geraldo Rivera, a Fox News pundit, joined the chorus of many detractors who were not impressed by the gesture.
Geraldo argued that the “I Can’t Breathe” shirt was not helpful, as it did not address the endemic problems that cause such violence. Rivera suggested that LeBron could be more effective if he sent a different message to his community.
“I wondered to myself, what if LeBron James instead had a shirt that said ‘Be a Better Father to Your Son’ or ‘Raise Your Children’?”
Geraldo continued to express that the problems currently being faced by the black community are their own doing. Poor family structure and a victimization mentality, says Rivera, are the issues that truly prevent the black community from overcoming its issues with law enforcement. Geraldo believes that this is a problem which has followed the black community through their history in America. The black community, says Rivera, suffers from a “victimization mentality.”
“It’s easy to demonstrate and be outraged when we are the victims. ‘Look what we are doing to us rather than what we are doing to ourselves.’ There’s a kind of urban suicide happening here that has to be dealt with.”
Responses to Rivera’s claims on social media were largely negative. One poster pointed out statistical information that discounts Geraldo’s claim that black fathers are less present than their other racial counterparts. He also complained that Rivera’s statement about LeBron’s “I Can’t Breathe” shirt was not based on his own personal interaction with the black community.
Geraldo has definitely taken note of the negative backlash, but that doesn’t mean he’s reneged in his opinion of James’ choice in clothing. Rivera took to Facebook Friday to defend his speech on the show. In the post, Geraldo reiterated that he felt the black community is ignoring the real problems with their own community. Instead of casting blame, they need to focus on their biggest pitfalls, says Rivera.
“I understand how the issue of young black men being killed by cops has touched a deep nerve. But if all the fatal police encounters in the country were suddenly to disappear would there by fewer urban families in crisis? Fewer children being raised without the benefit of a father in the home?… My beef with LeBron and the others is they have not in any meaningful way embraced the issue of the disintegration and dysfunction in the urban family, which is resulting in far more pain to the community than the cops are.”
What did you think about Geraldo Rivera’s comments about LeBron James’ “I Can’t Breathe” shirt?
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