Regarding the Aug. 27 article “Naomi Osaka withdraws from Western & Southern Open semifinals as part of protest against racial injustice,” she joined a long list of professional athletes who have used their platforms to bring attention to matters pertaining to police brutality in the United States. While such gestures can indeed be beneficial, the tone and messaging being employed does nothing to help advance the causes of police reform and justice.
Naomi Osaka used bombastic and inappropriate language in her statement, claiming that African Americans are experiencing “genocide” in the United States. Such rhetoric is in no way helpful as it exaggerates what is happening and outright lies about the situation in America. Police brutality in the United States is indeed a problem, one that urgently needs to be addressed. But making hysterical and outlandish claims doesn’t help facilitate legislation or reform. Claiming that African Americans, a group that stands at around 37 million individuals, are being ethnically cleansed and exterminated is deeply offensive and abhorrent. Osaka using her status and prestige to utter such drivel is highly inappropriate and unprofessional. Perhaps she should read up on the Holocaust or what happened in Darfur to better understand what constitutes an actual genocide.
The issue of police brutality in America is a complex one, one that needs to be examined with nuance and a level head. Racial injustice is another issue that needs to be honestly and thoroughly discussed. Both matters will require patience and fortitude to tackle, traits that Osaka and the other athletes jumping on this virtue signaling bandwagon surely lack. We need peacemakers and bridge builders to mend the United States, not celebrities preaching asinine messages via social media platforms.