A week ago, Lancaster High School walked out of the George W. Solis Gymnasium with a questionable 80-67 victory over the Runnin’ Indians of Waxahachie.
When the commotion started and reality set in, the majority of whites in the crowd had migrated to a safe distance near the middle of the gymnasium bleachers. The large majority of the mob rushing to see the action was black.
When Lancaster’s black security officer pulled the pin on the pepper spray canister to disperse the arguing crowd, it was the eyes and lungs of black fans that felt the burn.
The fact the players may have been robbed of their God-given right to play the remaining two minutes of basketball and attempt to craft the biggest upset of the Texas basketball season is a sobering thought.
The realization that the black race may have been set back several steps on that night may be a much more somber one.
Unlike the streets of Detroit, Michigan, Memphis, Tennessee, Oakland, California and Baltimore Maryland — the four most dangerous cities in the U.S. according to a recent report by Forbes magazine — the cities of Waxahachie and Lancaster don’t crack the top 500.
The four previously named cities are sprawling metropolises with population numbers surging past 300,000. The combined populations of Waxahachie (31,000) and Lancaster (38,000) don’t combine to make a third of that number.
Texas, in fact, is one of the most profitable states in the U.S. and one that survived the recession of 2008.
Texas actually increased in terms of growth of gross domestic product, employment, personal income, state tax collections and consumer spending while the rest of the nation bemoaned their economic distress.
Why is this information important? Why is it necessary to compare some of the most dangerous areas in the world, cities where crime soars and high school graduation rates plummet, to the little cities of Waxahachie and Lancaster?
Because for a 30-minute span of time, the ignorant and mindless violence that occurred in Baltimore and Memphis began to rear its ugly head somewhere it has no business.
And for half an hour, regardless of the city, the hard work of social activists like Martin Luther King, Marcus Garvey, Rosa Parks and Angela Davis was dragged through the mud.
Then this, all before the month dedicated to the race’s enlightenment.
Regardless of where players, parents and coaches laid their head that night, both cities’ black populations took a stutter-step backward.
Be it a black or an African-American, as recently as 42 years ago, in 1966, a person in Waxahachie wouldn’t have had the educational opportunities they do now.
According to a 2010 United States Census Bureau, Waxahachie has a higher percentage of blacks (12.9) than the average of the state of Texas (11.8) and a higher median household income ($54,858) than the Texas average ($51,900).
Waxahachie is far from the hood.
So far in fact, that four black student athletes with 3.3 or better GPA’s signed National Letters of Intent — some with scholarships — to nationally accredited institutions of higher education.
The city of Waxahachie has even had two black mayors — George Brown and Chuck Beatty — in the last 30 years.
In Waxahachie, the sports of basketball and football aren’t the best way for a player to get out of the hood. Not like they are in Baltimore, the Bronx and Chicago, areas known for the most heinous crimes and gangland territory wars.
They’re a tool for getting into college and producing options and bridges for young, promising lives.
The faster we realize that unalienable fact, the more we’ll be able to emulate those names we proudly mention during the month of February.