President calls it right on hoops ‘issue’

President Obama answered criticisms last week about his basketball game perfectly when confronted during an NBC interview about hosting a basketball game that included no women.

According to The New York Times, women’s advocates and liberal bloggers criticized Obama for hosting the high-level game without including female players.

For once, the practitioners’ collectivist group identity politics were treated as they should be €“ given the brush-off.

“I don’t think it sends any kind of message or signal whatsoever,” was Obama’s response.

According to the Times story, women on the White House staff responded with a collective eye-roll to the criticisms leveled by women’s advocates and liberal bloggers.

Supposedly, the fact that the president likes to play hoops with friends who are guys represents some underlying problem with sexism within the Obama Administration, a place where women are present but apparently do not have the same influence as men €“ because they weren’t invited to join a basketball game.

“That is just part of the culture here that I am excluded from,” said one woman regarding sports at the White House. “And I don’t care.”

She had recently been part of a baby shower among White House staff, and no men were invited.

Also in the news over the weekend, a Saudi journalist was sentenced to 60 lashes after being charged with involvement in a TV show in which a man publicly talked about sex, according to an Associated Press story. She apparently did not work on the episode but the judge handed down the sentence anyway as a “deterrent.”

Already petty, the story underscores the whininess of our homegrown struggle against oppression.

Perhaps we can lay feminist extremism to rest.

Perhaps the president could take a cue from this and apply the same message in similar areas.

Regarding his election as the first “black” president of the United States, it would be so much more productive in improving race relations to say, “I don’t think it sends any kind of message or signal whatsoever.”

In a photo from the game, the only black man was the president; but obviously that doesn’t really mean anything or send any kind of message.

Race issues have been on so many tongues for the past year, especially on-line, but a lot of this is just blather over nothing.

Some of us may have problems with some of the president’s policies and agenda, but his skin color is not an issue and should not be for any American.

Now is a good time to leave bigotry behind and live up to the notion articulated by Martin Luther King Jr.: “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.

“I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood.”

This is the real meaning of tolerance and equality of rights among men, spoken at a time when it was dangerous to be black, when blacks in many places literally were second-class citizens.

This is the uniting message the president could and should deliver. His skin color gives him a unique opportunity to deliver it successfully (which is a pertinent and appropriate discussion of his skin color, by the way). His experience on the court could help him underscore this idea effectively.

Perhaps we can stop worrying about how many Latinas are members of the Supreme Court, how many firefighters on the department are minorities, how many black men attend this college or that, how many women are members of the police force,

whether a police officer responding to a report of suspicious circumstances was racist or whether women get to play basketball with the president.

Perhaps the people of the United States can stop looking for messages and signals where none exist.