Dunk 'Em, Donovan | Private Eye | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly
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News » Private Eye

Dunk 'Em, Donovan

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Over the past couple of years, Twitter, notorious as a bottom feeder when it comes to common decency among fellow users, became an even worse environment from which to make positive assessments of the human race. Trump made us all worse in the forums of public discourse—everything about him was an indictment of what we were as citizens of the USA. Can any of you recall a single time he had something positive to say about someone? Or, if he did lavish praise on someone, how much time elapsed before he went full circle and trashed them at a later date?

Not just people but movements, policies and structures. Trump—the nearly never smiling Trump—took potshots at everything, and people cheered him for it. Unreal. Thus, he gets the blame for what Twitter became during his administration—an even darker cesspool. Everything that was wrong with Twitter, went the tome, reflected how Trump was allowed to behave on Twitter. It was he, the pundits believed, who ruined social media for the rest of us.

I don't remember if I ever thought that myself, but even if so, I discovered another trash pot today, and Trump had nothing to do with it. As bad as Twitter is, you oughta see KSL's Facebook page. Yikes!

The unwashed may not know that Utah Jazz star Donovan Mitchell recently let it be known that if he were welcomed, he would like to spend time with Utah legislators and policymakers to discuss Critical Race Theory (CRT). Seems like a fine, genuine gesture to me, especially given that in over 125 years or so of statehood, Utah has had less than half a dozen African Americans serve in the Utah House or Senate. But, no, Donovan has no business talking race, says KSL Facebook.

It didn't take long for Utah to show its preferred color. People started griping that a basketball player should stick to basketball, or they'd stop watching basketball. They said he should not feel oppressed, because—he's a millionaire. They said he doesn't know what he's talking about—unlike local hero Burgess Owens, Utah's 4th District congressman, who does. Note: Mitchell never said he was oppressed, nor did he reveal his politics or bias, but yeah, an African American speak up in Utah? That doesn't sit well.

Yet, it remains a certifiable fact: Utah has a racist history (which Utahns would know if stories of such were allowed into the Utah learning curriculum). Despite a growing number of Utahns mindfully and mightily doing all they can to change that course, a great number of our neighbors want Utah to return to the day after Indigenous Utahns were erased from the equation.

Burgess Owens offered up his version of damage control, saying he'd be happy to talk to Mitchell (put him in his place) because, "Donovan, I'm a fan. I believe you're a genuine person. I do disagree with you politically. If you're open to a discussion on race and the politicizing of it by the media during election years, I'd love to have that."

Owens is my representative, but he's a one-liner about race, just saying over and over that he grew up in the Jim Crow South. The same people who say Donovan should sit down because he's a professional athlete give former NFLer Owens a hall pass. For my money, I'd rather hear what Owens' predecessor, former Congresswoman Mia Love, has to say—instead of Owens, any day.

Just break down his comment to Mitchell. He first butters Mitchell up and validates him (why would anyone doubt Mitchell is "genuine"?). But he eliminates Mitchell from the conversation altogether—a political head fake—by changing the subject to blaming the media for politicizing racial matters. The media is indeed politicizing CRT—on Fox News, where Owens makes a second income.

Here's hoping that Critical Honesty Theory also becomes a thing. Yeah, you, Burgess. Here's also hoping Mitchell gets his voice heard. He lives here, he's one of us.

Send comments to john@cityweekly.net.