Boise, Idaho – Still Racist?

Boise, Idaho has a long lived, storied history of perceived racism from United States citizens throughout our great country. I personally, am originally from Grand Rapids, Michigan the home of our late President Gerald R. Ford. I grew up in a place where my mother was pitcher for our neighborhood softball team referred to as the ghetto all-stars. I am African-American and graduated from Mountain Home High School in Idaho where I played for former Olympic Basketball great Ed Palubinskas.

Boise, Idaho…well, let’s start by saying its definitely a territory of very few African-Americans, but oh man, are there a lot of Hispanics, well just speaking with regards to any other race besides Caucasians throughout the state of Idaho. Cheering abruptly for the Boise State University Broncos, these days, is what it’ all about, as far as the Boiseans are concerned. Revenue, revenue, revenue!

Lots of dollars are generated for the community of Boise and the “White Collar” guys of Boise’s corporate world, of which I get “stares and glares” from at the local Boise Family YMCA on a daily basis. Go figure, I look like the very same kids at the skilled positions of Boise State Football and Boise State University Basketball, that they (whites) cheer for on a weekly basis. Oh, forbid the cheering is due to money being wagered or won after victories, or influenced by the alcoholic stimulation of a few cans of Coors Light!

Regardless, it goes without saying, I spend my fair share of time at Boise State University and I personally, do not see congratulatory hand shakes or appreciative gestures being given by community citizens to African-American players ever. I cannot remember the last time I heard former Boise State University and NBA players, Chris Child’s name on the radio or news, and he’s a multi-millionaire! I guess no one in Boise, has ever gotten a hand-out from him…even just a little…say, $500,000 to $1,000,000!

The fact that community melting pots of visitors and local traffic like the Boise Public Library, Boise’s Main Post Office, and even get this…the local media, including television (KTVB Channel 7, KIVI Channel 6, and KBCI Channel 2), radio and print, do not employ African-Americans on a consistent basis, worries me to some extent. The reason being, one would conclude, that African-Americans are either turning down job offers from these organizations (a means of earning a living) or simply not being offered the positions in the first place (that’s so 1960-ish)! I would be willing to bet $11,000,000 that job offers made to African American kids in college during their internships or after, would be received with welcome arms as a way to provide for themselves and their families, regardless of whether the position is located in predominantly “white” Boise, Idaho. In other words, the jobs are not being offered and definitely not interviews. The last time I saw an African-American reporting the news in Boise, I think Milli Vanilli was still perceived as REAL!

Either way Racism stems from the dinner tables of ignorance. By generations of ignorant people who have simply not seen enough Martin Luther King Jr.s, Harriet Tubmans, Jackie Robinsons, and oh yeah…Barack Obama our Nation’s First Black President. Please, just one time, give me the opportunity to see an African-American news reporter or journalist. Please, just one time, give me the chance to see a former black Boise State Athlete featured on the radio (instead of some ‘half-way’ from Fruitland, Idaho that I’ve seen at a local sporting events puttin down 8 beers and then driving his wife and kids home), please, just one time, give me the chance to give my postal order to an African-American at the Boise Local Post Office.

Get this…I have not sat in the Boise YMCA’s Local Hot Tub with over 5 different African-Americans (the catch is, I’ve been a member for nearly a decade, and I’m in the hot-tub 3-4 days/wk)! In other words, we (African-Americans), are still foreign to Boiseans, still less to Boiseans, still un-President-like to Boiseans, still…is Boise still racist?

I can’t help but imagine if Boise State senior, “Bush” Hamdan who’s real name is something like Jibran (Arabic), were not benched in favor of the Freshman Quarterback Kellen Moore, if ticket sales or the number of wins would have dropped. In other words, with Boise State’s Football schedule…my grandmother could have played quarterback and led them to the Rose Bowl! Why not give an ethical endorsement of sorts to a senior (even though his name is from the roots of Islam). I thought, when he changed his name to “BUSH” they’d surely give him the nod…NOT!!!

How bout’ when African-American quarterback Nate Sparks of Boise State (also during his senior year) was benched in favor of a sophomore who led the team to what anyone could have done based on their schedule. In other words, it always seems to be a rally cry for “whites” of Boise in terms of who gets cold shouldered for the position of quarterback at Boise State University. You can’t tell me that the ethical responsibility to justly treat our communities beloved athletes is being adhered to at Boise State University. Listening to conversations throughout Boise; my take is that so many Boiseans are forgetting that, these are kids! Some of the comments I here at local venues showing the games on television are absurd!

Let’s not forget the turn-out when Barack Obama came to Boise’s Taco Bell Arena. Oh man, I was there, on that cold, cold, cold morning. Husbands of wives who’d gotten them out of warm beds during the early A.M hours of the morning were “Ticked Off” to say the least. None-the-less, they stood there, in line for a very lengthy time. In fact by the time I got to the doors, my fingers felt like a frozen snicker bar when it’s the only thing in the freezer with no company!

Everyone hip-hop-hoorayin, takin pictures, smilin, laughin, shakin hands like crazy. Oh yeah…Obama lost the State of Idaho by the 2nd largest margin of any State in America (the fron-runner was Utah and trust me, Boiseans almost seem envious of that)!

Is Boise still racist? Ask African-Americans with college degrees who’ve applied for bank teller positions in Boise, only to find white kids or even Hispanic (anything but African-American) with GED’s received the position; ask African-Americans with college degrees who’ve applied for basic production jobs at Micron Technology or Hewlett Packard, only to find white kids or even Hispanics (anything but African-American) with GED’s received the position (that’s so 1960-ish); ask African-Americans with college degrees who’ve applied for basic entry level jobs at even temporary services, only to find white kids or even Hispanics (anything but African-American) with GED’s (and in some cases not even a ‘green-card!’) received the position (that’s so 1960-ish); ask African-Americans with college degrees who’ve applied for basic entry level telemarketing jobs at local Boise Telephone companies etc., only to find white kids or even Hispanics (anything but African-American) with GED’s received the position (that’s so 1960-ish); well… it’s a good thing Idaho only represents 4 electorals during presidential elections, or Barack wouldn’t be in! And that brings me to this…why was there such a huge turnout for a man who no one in Idaho seemingly voted for? Is he that attractive (that’s so 1960-ish)? Is he that creative (that’s so 1960-ish)? Is he that assertive (that’s so 1960-ish)? Is he our nation’s 1st Black President married to our nations very, very, very first AFRICAN-AMERICAN FIRST LADY (that’s so…2009)?

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