Friday, September 8, 2023

Deion Sanders, as U of Colorado football coach, and Fani Wills, as a Georgia prosecutor, shine new light on the impact of strong and gifted Blacks in American life

Deion Sanders and Fani T. Willis

Deion Sanders (coaching) and Fani T. Willis (law) occupy prominent places in two very different sectors of the American economy. But longtime Alabama attorney Donald Watkins says, on many levels, they are the two most important Black public figures of the past 40 years.

Sanders took over a University of Colorado football team that went 1-11 last year and opened the 2023 season with a 45-42 victory over Texas Christian University (TCU), which was the national runner-up to Georgia in 2022. The Buffaloes will try to make their record 2-0 in 2023 when they play host to the University of Nebraska at 11 .m. (central time) on Saturday.

Willis, the district attorney for Fulton County, GA, is prosecuting one of the most important criminal cases in U.S. history -- the Georgia election-interference case against former president Donald Trump. Under the headline "Deion Sanders and Fani Willis Exude Confidence, Competence, and Courage," Watkins writes:

Deion Sanders and Fani T. Willis exude a level of confidence, competence, and courage I have not seen in Black public figures in nearly four decades. They are African-Americans who are using their confidence, brainpower, and courage to dominate the field of play within their respective professions.

I have known plenty of highly competent Black public figures in my lifetime. However, only a handful of them had the confidence and courage of Callie House, Marcus Garvey, Billie Holiday, Jackie Robinson, Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, Muhammad Ali, Maya Angelou, Maynard Jackson, Marion Barry, Adam Clayton Powell, Thurgood Marshall, Malcolm X, and other Blacks who changed the fabric of American life and culture in a permanent and positive way.

All of the Black public figures who were agents for positive change in America were hated in their time by many White Americans for simply displaying their brilliance with confidence and courage.

When he was assassinated in 1968, 75% of white Americans disliked Martin Luther King, Jr. Today, Dr. King is a national hero.

Sanders and Willis already have faced criticism, and more undoubtedly will come their way. But in a short time, they have shined a spotlight on the impact gifted and strong Black Americans can have in the public arena. Writes Watkins:

Deion Sanders and Fani Willis have joined a small but elite class of highly competent Black public figures who also possess the confidence and courage to be true to themselves and true to their people, even when it displeases many White Americans.

Deion Sanders and Fani Willis are not seeking to be liked by everybody. However, they are commanding everybody’s respect based upon their consistent display of confidence, superior intellectual acumen, and attainment of outstanding results in their respective professions.

In other words, Deion Sanders and Fani Willis are letting their work speak for them. Both are showcasing their awesome brainpower to a nation that is only accustomed to seeing Black achievement that flows from the impressive athleticism of sports figures and the outstanding singing and dancing abilities of entertainers.

Deion Sanders and Fani Willis have experienced severe criticism for having the audacity to demonstrate exceptional confidence and superior brainpower in venues where blacks have had only recent and limited opportunities to showcase their knowledge, skills, and abilities.

Sanders' and Willis' confidence, high level of competence, and undeniable courage makes those who are the guardians of the status quo in America feel very uncomfortable.

In some cases, this combination of personal attributes makes Deion Sanders and Fani Willis the subject of hate campaigns and racially motivated death threats. They handle both negative circumstances well.

Sanders and Willis have shown no sign of fear or timidity in their public activities, and that separates them from some accomplished Black professionals, Watkins says:

Deion Sanders and Fani Willis stand in stark contrast to many Black professionals who share these same attributes. Most of those Blacks lead miserable double lives where their confidence and competence can be displayed to fellow Blacks in private, but not to Whites --out of fear that it will offend them or make them uncomfortable.

In many instances, those scared and timid Blacks voluntarily and needlessly subjugate themselves to lesser qualified Whites solely for the purpose of gaining social acceptance within White society.

Deion Sanders and Fani Willis have never embraced the “go along to get along” mentality that has transformed far too many gifted and talented Black professionals into neutered and spaded eunuchs who are paraded around in White society like house pets.

Furthermore, Dion Sanders and Fani Willis have never renounced their "blackness" to fit within a "Negrophobic" White society’s profile of an “acceptable” Black person. the way Clarence Thomas, Ben Carson, Herschel Walker, Tiger Woods, and Tim Scott have done.

To me and millions of Americans of color like me, Deion Sanders and Fani Willis represent a much-needed break from the growing disease of gratuitous subservience that has infected America’s Black community.

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