I imagine that there is an undiscovered ancient text penned by one of the lesser-known apostles that recounts the life of Yeshua from a unique perspective. And, according to the Gospel of Antwan, when the disciples passed out plates of whiting and hush puppies to the multitude that showed up at Jesus’ open-invitation fish fry, one uninvited Caucasian looked at the meal and replied:
“Yea, though I praise the miracle of the Son of Man, I cannot help but inquire: Why does thou not provide any tartar sauce?”
This biblical lesson serves to illustrate one undying fact. Whether one feeds 5,000 from a Captain D’s individual meal or offers universal health care to an entire nation, if you are a man of color, some people will find a way to criticize your efforts.
The latest example of this phenomenon is LeBron James’ I Promise School. The newly-minted institution that seeks to address the educational needs for at-risk students in Akron, Ohio has been praised by educators, sports fans and the general public. It is a living example of how the combination of public funds and philanthropy can impact lives on a large scale.
The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that, because I Promise is a public school, the Akron School district will pay between 50 percent and 75 percent of the costs to run the school. The LeBron James Foundation has pledged to spend $2 million annually once the school is up and running, but district officials estimate that the school will cost about $8 million dollars to run.
Aside from derogatory comments made by the current commander-in-chief, who attended private schools all his life, this revelation inspired a newfound joy among ‘small government,’ MAGA hat-wearers who have desperately searched for a reason to denigrate Lebron’s efforts.
Yep. LeBron and educators implemented a plan to raise the education level for Akron’s neediest students and the only thing the haters could find to complain about is the cost to taxpayers.
But are they correct?
To be clear, taxpayers will not have to pay more money because of the I Promise School. Akron Public Schools projected a balanced budget for the upcoming school year and the Beacon Journal reports a positive financial forecast. A review of the local tax rates that fund city schools show no increase from 2017 to 2018.
Aside from the regular school budget, funds from The LeBron James Family Foundation will cover “about a fifth of the school’s total costs,” explains the Plain Dealer, noting that the money will come from “the district’s regular budget, covered mostly by shifting students, teachers and money from other schools.”
It looks as if the I Promise school will receive a 20 percent boost in revenue from James’ own efforts to cover the programs that offer resources to students who need them. Yes, the taxpayers of Akron will partially foot the bill for the school. But they will be paying the same amount they paid last year, when there was no I Promise school. The only difference between now and then is that students will have a state-of-the-art-facility thanks mostly to Lebron James.
So why the hullabaloo?
You know why.
It’s for the same reason people loved the progressive idea of the Affordable Care Act but hated Obamacare. It’s why America needed a leader who was strong enough to stand up to Russia until Trump publicly curled up in Putin’s lap like a newborn kitten. It’s why football enthusiasts fast forwarded through the national anthem until they noticed Colin Kaepernick kneeling.
Because a black man did it.
Or, as it says in the third book of the Gospel of Antwan:
16. And the homie told them: ‘Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.’ And the scribe said unto him:
17. ‘But what if my neighbor’s black?’ Then it doesn’t count, right?’
Thus sayeth Antwan.