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“Do You Play Basketball?”

Mr. Black is at a bar.  The bartender, noticing Mr. Black is tall and looks athletic, asks Mr. Black “Do you play basketball?”

Mr. Black is buying something at a store.  He gets to the cash register, purchases in hand.  The cashier sees him and asks, “Do you play basketball?”

Mr. Black comes to a meeting at work.  A member of Mr. Black’s department who has not met Mr. Black before notices him and asks, “Do you play basketball?” Mr. Black is a college-educated, experienced human being, working in a high-tech field. 

He comes from a bad part of Philadelphia.  He struggled to cope with coming from a broken family, staying out of trouble, and becoming something.

He finished college only because he got lucky enough to get a scholarship, and he still had to work a job after school to make ends meet. 

He has taken that start and used it to break out of the cycle of poverty to become someone worth looking up to.

But he isn’t a basketball player. 

Mr. Black is angry that the only thing most people see is a tall African-American man who looks thin and athletic – therefore he must be a basketball player.  That’s the only thing that makes sense, right?…

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