I'll Take Nipsey Hussle Over the Race Hustle Any Day

ALPERN AT LARGE--One of the stupidest, knee-jerk tweet-wars President Trump has ever leaped into was that with Lakers star LeBron James, who like the recently slain Grammy-nominated rapper Nipsey Hussle has given a great deal back to the inner city and truly cares about his fellow Americans, black or otherwise. 

Mr. James said it very well when too many black Americans (if you wish, use the term African-American, although I agree with President Teddy Roosevelt, who opposed the hyphenated-American titles) hate those who made it out of the inner city. Both LeBron James and the fatally-shot Nipsey Hussle cared, and did and will have lived their lives caring. 

And I care. Most of you care. We should all care. 

Hence my outrage at Eric Holder, the man who gunned down Nipsey Hussle. We need heroes of all colors, and Nipsey Hussle was such a hero.  

South Los Angeles needs redevelopment--and like Harlem, does NOT just need blatant gentrification that thrusts black Americans outside the neighborhoods they call home. There's something about gentrification that shoves black Americans aside that reminds me of how we treated Native Americans during the 18900's. 

Nipsey Hussle was born Ermias Joseph Asghedom and he spoke to his upbringing in the "hood" and thereby earned the adoration of his neighbors and fans . As with LeBron James of NBA fame, Nipsey Hussle's music brought another hero to the forefront of American culture. 

People need heroes. Magic Johnson didn't succeed with running the Lakers, but his work ethic and heart has made him one of my all-time heroes and role models. As with LeBron James, I don't give a rip about things said or tweeted that I might not agree with...as much as whether or not that person cares. 

Eric Holder (not the divisive, race-baiting former attorney general), who shot Nipsey Hussle, has much to answer for. The only good thing I can think of about Hussle's senseless, horrible slaying is that it might highlight and further his life's efforts in ways he couldn't do in life. 

That said, I truly wish Hussle had lived. We need more heroes. 

We've had a black President elected twice...I helped elect him into office.  

We've had an Expo Light Rail Line go through neighborhoods of multiple ethnicities and had the opportunity to bring those neighborhoods together...and I gave up more time and money and effort than I can possibly remember. 

I'm a dermatologist...I know the subtle differences between skin color, and know more than most how trivial they are compared to the human minds and spirits living in their skin...and among my favorite years of practice was when I worked for three medical groups led by African-American physicians, and who were leaders who inspired nothing but loyalty. 

I am NOT a fan of race-hustlers, though, and I really don't care who I infuriate when I include Reverend Al Sharpton in that list of race-hustlers. Ditto for Reverend Jesse Jackson--have Jackson and Sharpton done a few things that were helpful for the country? Sure.  

But as with the "other Eric Holder" who was formerly attorney general (the name is purely coincidental, of course, so please ignore the name issue), they hurt the country by far more than they ever helped it.  

Black Americans, and Brown Americans, and All Americans, do best when they emphasize the "we're the same as you" approach that brought progress to our nation. 

Race-hustling and divisiveness hurts black Americans the most in this modern era when it comes from self-proclaimed "black leaders" like Sharpton and Jackson...and I've heard the ire from young black Americans against those two, and the ilk who wish to follow in their footsteps to make a living, to know that All Americans know con artists when they see them. 

Furthermore, these con artists only provide fuel for the fire from Neanderthal-Racial Bigots who still lurk out there...and proof of that is KKK-Grand Duke-Wacko David Duke now finding a new gal-pal in the race/religion-baiting Ilhan Omar of the House of Representatives. These clowns offer nothing but trouble. 

Hussle was no con artist, and he never made it "about him". I salute LeBron James, and Magic Johnson, and Charles Barkley, and all Americans of all colors who find themselves in the position of being a hero and role model when they really never asked for it.  

We need more Nipsey Hussles, and fewer people who will gun down and slay the innocent. Hussle probably never grew up thinking he's be a hero and role model, but he lived and died as one. 

Here's to hoping we can live up to what his life's effort was all about. 


(CityWatch Columnist, Kenneth S. Alpern, M.D, is a dermatologist who has served in clinics in Los Angeles, Orange, and Riverside Counties, and is a proud husband and father to two cherished children and a wonderful wife. He is also a Westside Village Zone Director and Board member of the Mar Vista Community Council (MVCC), previously co-chaired its Outreach Committee, and currently is Co-Chair of both its MVCC Transportation/Infrastructure and Planning Committees. He was co-chair of the CD11 Transportation Advisory Committee and chaired the nonprofit Transit Coalition and can be reached at alpern@marvista.org. He also co-chairs the grassroots Friends of the Green Line at www.fogl.us. The views expressed in this article are solely those of Dr. Alpern.)