Memo to Kyrie Irving: You Are Acting Like an Ambassador of Ignorance, Clown for the Oppressor, and Objective Promoter of a Slave Mentality

June 18, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper |


“Oppressed people who are unable or unwilling to confront reality as it actually is, are condemned to remain enslaved and oppressed.”

—Bob Avakian, BAsics 4:1

Kyrie Irving has now tripled down on his previous remarks that the Earth is flat. In a recent interview he wiggled around when asked to state his view outright. But when the interviewer confronted him with the fact that a sixth grade class in Ohio refused to believe that the Earth is round because of Irving, he just laughed.

You say, “I am—a generational leader.” Yes, unfortunately—and you are leading people in exactly the wrong direction, with very bad consequences. Here’s three ways you are wrong, Kyrie Irving, and serving the oppressor.

First, the Earth is round, OK?! Humanity has known this for centuries, since the time people studied the nighttime skies. They figured out that the curved shadow of Earth on the moon during a lunar eclipse was caused by the roundness of the Earth. A round Earth is also the reason ships appear and disappear over the horizon and why if you sail on a ship from America to Africa or fly a plane across the Earth, you don’t fall off the edge!

Beyond that, people have used the evidence they could find to draw conclusions, first through observations of the motions of the stars, then through telescopes and calculations, and finally through direct social practice to prove that the Earth is round and rotates around the sun. They tested their ideas against reality and learned more through that. Every independent line of evidence confirms and mutually reinforces this. People literally paid with their lives for this kind of knowledge—Giordano Bruno was burnt alive by the Catholic Church in 1600 for advocating that the Earth revolves around the sun rather than an Earth-centric universe, because this knowledge contradicted the Bible. Contrary to what you say, Kyrie Irving, there is no credible scientist today who says that the Earth is flat and no, history does NOT show that “our biggest scholars” thought that.

Second, you are badly misleading people about how knowledge is gained. You make excuses for pushing this wrong and ignorant idea by saying, “I wanted to open up the conversation, like, ‘Hey man, do your own research for what you want to believe in.’ Our educational system is flawed. History has been changed throughout so much time.”

But the question is NOT doing the research to back up “what you want to believe in.” You might want to believe that a daily tablespoon of vinegar will stop cancer because you don’t want to undergo a painful treatment, but if you really want to get well you need to know the truth whether “you want to believe in” it or not. Again, the question is NOT doing the research to back up “what you want to believe in,” but to learn what IS true, both the directly observable and known facts and what reflects the underlying workings confirmed by evidence.

Luckily, there is a way to find out the truth—the scientific method. And everyone can access this method. Bob Avakian has broken this down in a way that everyone can understand in “Two Very Different Leaps”—go here to read it. And Ardea Skybreak goes at this from another angle in her book The Science of Evolution and the Myth of Creationism, especially this section.

You might “want to believe,” Kyrie, like Kanye West does, that “400 years of slavery sounds an awful lot like a choice.” But the evidence—the records of slave revolts, the actual written accounts by slave masters themselves, and so on prove that a) slavery was brutally enforced, and b) people in fact DID rebel against it, especially when they saw an opening to really strike a blow.

You have smuggled in one element of truth in what you say to sweeten up your poison. It is true that “our educational system is flawed.” In fact, that understates it—“our” educational system is controlled by the oppressor and consistently promotes upside down interpretations of the evidence in order to back up that system of exploitation and oppression. It systematically denies and keeps people from critical thinking and a scientific approach to the world and society.

But the correct response to that is not to use it as a justification to promote asinine ignorance and “know-nothingism” in the form of questioning scientific truths that are both hard learned and hard fought. The correct response—from people both within and outside that educational system who truly want to get at the truth—has been to fight hard to bring to light the actual truth based on the actual evidence.

Contrary to what you say, history—the past of human society—has not changed. But our understanding of history has changed as more facts have come to light, and as people have come to more deeply understand the underlying dynamics and essential aspects of different periods. Different “frameworks” of understanding contend over what is truly correct, especially during times of big social changes. Reactionaries, white supremacists, deluded pop stars, and bootlickers may argue, for example, that slavery was not so bad, that it was not connected to capitalism, and that the legacy of slavery has no relevance to today—but the evidence belies this. Much of this was only brought to light with the basic scientific understanding of how history changes that was first developed by Karl Marx—historical materialism. It was further fought out and deepened, especially over the past 60 years since the Black liberation struggle of the 1960s, and the understanding of both the many-sided depth of the legacy of slavery and the whole history of the oppression of Black people, as well as how this can be truly overcome, has been developed by Bob Avakian.1

But the history itself—what really happened, the facts of the matter so to speak—has NOT changed. What HAS changed is the depth of the scientific understanding that has been developed and is now available... to those willing to “go there.” To use the fact that our understanding of history changes and develops to now say we can’t know anything for sure—as you are doing, Kyrie—is to do a grave disservice to the masses who badly need this knowledge and the scientific method... and to do a big favor to the oppressors who rely on ignorance and superstition—on mental shackles—to keep people in physical chains.

Finally, by promoting the idea people can’t know or be certain of any truths, you contribute to paralyzing them from acting on what they actually do and can know! This is especially dangerous and harmful, given your influence on Black and Latino youth, for whom this system has no future. Do you really want to be complicit in discouraging and effectively denying masses of people knowledge of science and a scientific method? How can you question and resist if you can’t tell what is really true?

To put it bluntly: you are promoting a slave mentality, whether you intend it or not.

Right now, that serves the agenda of Trump and Pence and their education secretary Betsy DeVos—far better than they ever could themselves. You are using your credibility among oppressed youth to promote exactly the Bible-thumping ignorance these vicious oppressors want to promote. For all your bullshit about “stimulating people to think,” you are backing up the modern-day master as surely as a Black overseer whipping a slave for daring to read did back in the day.

1. For example, see Communism and Jeffersonian Democracy, Birds Cannot Give Rise to Crocodiles, But Humanity Can Soar Beyond the Horizon (Part 1, Part 2), THE NEW COMMUNISM, Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, and many other works.  [back]

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