‘Should I say something or just let it go?’
It can be difficult to confront a total stranger in public. It’s easy to psych ourselves out by thinking “it’s none of my business” or “I don’t want to be confrontational.” Even retired 14-year NBA veteran Stephen Jackson wasn’t sure how to approach the situation when he overheard strangers making racist comments at the gym.
“So I just got out of my workout,” Jackson said in a video he posted to Instagram. “And some older white man was talking about the gorilla that got shot at the zoo, right? And I’m just sitting up working out, I’m not paying no attention. And the older white man says, ‘What? They shot Serena? Oh, Serena got shot?’ and started laughing.”
The racist was referring to tennis phenom Serena Williams and compared her to Harambe, the gorilla who was tragically shot at the Cincinnati Zoo last weekend. Williams’ muscular physique has led her to an unbelievable 21 Grand Slam victories, but has also made her a target for racism and sexist attacks. “Should I say something or should I just let that go?” Jackson asked himself.
Jackson approached the man in the gym. “I straight up told old boy, ‘I heard ya, and it’s wrong.’ He tried to apologize and say it’s just a joke. Ain’t no joke,” Jackson said in the Instagram video. “Serena don’t look like a gorilla, and none of us do. With that being said, that shit ain’t cool; I had to address it. I’m far from being racist because I love everybody, but I felt like I had to say something...you never know who’s listening.” And who was listening? Stephen Jackson, a six-foot eight-inch former NBA forward. After Jackson’s words to the wise, it’s safe to assume the racist at the gym will think twice before he spouts off again.
Here’s Jackson’s video:
A video posted by Stephen Jackson (@stak5pa) on