'Post-Racial' America: Israeli NBA Player Victim of Hate Crime

After being drafted 23rd overall in the first round of the 2009 NBA Draft, Omri Casspi became the first Israeli-born player to ever play in the league. Prior to his rookie season, Casspi, a 6'9 forward, had spent his entire life in Israel, but now a year into his American experience and on the eve of Rosh Hashanah, he's been forced to face the reality that "post-racial" America was just a figment of the liberal media's collective imagination.

KCRA Sacramento reported:

A mural featuring Sacramento Kings small forward Omri Casspi was defaced with a swastika just before an important Jewish holiday.
The mural is near 16th and R streets in midtown Sacramento, about a half-block from Fremont Park.

Casspi, who is Jewish, was raised in Israel and is the only NBA player born in that country.

The vandalism was reported Wednesday morning; the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah begins at sunset Wednesday.

Based on a preliminary investigation, Sacramento police said the vandalism might be investigated as a hate crime.

The front of Casspi's jersey says Kings, and he was definitely treated as such throughout his rookie season -- when he made 31 starts and averaged 10.3 points and 4.5 rebounds in 77 appearances -- as fans all over the country welcomed him with open arms even as they cheered their home teams onto victory. But, an incident of this magnitude demonstrates that hate is still alive and well in this country despite the chants of "kumbaya" that have permeated our nation since "We The People" elected a Black president.

Casspi -- who has spent his offseason as a representative of the NBA to promote peace and teach the game of basketball to children worldwide -- was understandably distraught in the aftermath of this incident, and from his home in Israel, made the following comments: "It's all over the news here," Casspi said. "I'm not shocked but I'm kind of hurt, you know.... It's just crazy that it's 2010 and still there are people who are racist and who hate. That's the only thing that hurts and is a big shock."

Omri's right, it is 2010 and we should expect better out of people from within our society, but while we can be certain that the years will continue to change, we can also be just as certain that we will never be able to control people's thoughts and actions because we don't have access to their minds and hearts. Bigotry, prejudice, racism, and all other forms of hate are unfortunate realities of the human condition, and while most of us will continue to respect and appreciate the melting pot that our great nation has become, there are probably more people among us than we would be able to admit that will unfortunately never willingly share our sentiments.

J.C. Arenas is a frequent contributor to American Thinker and welcomes your comments at jcarenas.com
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