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Former Wildcat Dwane Casey asks what has changed in America?

(David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images)

(David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images)

54 years later, Dwane Casey is wondering if anything has changed.

Even though he was born just across the border in Indiana, the current coach of the Detroit Pistons spent the majority of his childhood growing up in rural Kentucky. While living there, he says he experienced endless racism and constant fear. At the young of age eight years old, Casey felt invisible as a black child attending a predominantly white school. Now he wonders if his own son, who is currently eight years old, will have to undergo the same injustices that he did over half a century ago.

On Saturday, Casey spoke out on the protests that have been scattered throughout the United States in a statement released by the Pistons:

“Fifty-four years ago I was an eight-year-old boy living in rural Kentucky when the schools were desegregated.  I walked into a white school where I was not wanted nor welcomed.  At that time there were no cell phones to record my treatment, no cable news stations with 24/7 coverage, no social media to record the reality of the situation or offer support nor condemnation.  But I can remember exactly how I felt as an eight-year-old child.  I felt helpless.  I felt as if I was neither seen, nor heard, nor understood.  As I have watched the events unfold in the days following the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, a city where I coached and once called home, I see how many people continue to feel those same feelings – helpless, frustrated, invisible, angry.

I understand the outrage because it seems the list continues to grow: Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd.  The injustices continue to mount and nothing seems to be changing.

Fifty-four years later, my son is now eight years old and I look at the world he is growing up in and wonder, how much has really changed? How often is he judged on sight?  Is he growing up in a world where he is seen, and heard, and understood?  Does he feel helpless?  Will he be treated like George Floyd or Ahmaud Abrey?  What have we really done in the last 54 years to make his eight-year-old world better than mine was?  We all have to be and do better.

We have to change the way we see and hear each other.  We have to work together to find solutions to make the justice system just.  Black, white and brown people have to work together to find new answers.   The only way we can stop the systemic problems that people of color have faced all our lives is through honesty and transparency.  We have to understand why people are at their limit at this moment.  It takes empathy, in its truest form.  It takes a culture shift, it takes action.  Let’s stop the injustice now.  Let’s not allow another generation to continue to live in a world where they are treated as unequal.  Now is the time for real change.”

Casey was a key member of Kentucky’s 1978 National Championship team and later became a well-respected assistant coach and top recruiter for the ‘Cats in the late ’80s. He was the head coach of the Minnesota Timberwolves – located in Minneapolis, where George Floyd was recently murdered by police which sparked the nationwide protests – from 2005-07. In Detroit, where Casey currently coaches the Pistons, protests have continued throughout the weekend.

Article written by Zack Geoghegan

Covering all things NBA and UK Hoops. Follow me on Twitter: @ZGeogheganKSR

58 Comments for Former Wildcat Dwane Casey asks what has changed in America?

  1. truebluefootballfan
    11:44 am May 31, 2020 Permalink

    This article and his comments are garbage. Ppl of all races with his mindset and the ppl posting articles like this are why racism even still exist. He’s casting judgement on our entire country bc of his experience when ppl that grew up in the same community don’t share the same views and you like most journalists are just adding fuel to the fire….

    • WildcatCam
      1:01 pm May 31, 2020 Permalink

      Just no, true blue.

    • satcheluk
      9:18 pm June 1, 2020 Permalink

      I find it hard to believe that someone who posts a comment like this isn’t racist.

  2. Youngcat25
    12:30 pm May 31, 2020 Permalink

    If you are that triggered by Casey’s view then you have some internal problems you need to tend to. I agree with Casey. I see no evidence of him judging.

    • 859bornandraised
      12:37 pm May 31, 2020 Permalink

      I totally agree with you youngcat25

  3. WKY Cat
    12:36 pm May 31, 2020 Permalink

    The country has come a long ways in the last 54 years concerning racism. Yes racism still exists but to imply we haven’t progressed is being disingenuous.

    • TPACAT
      12:56 pm May 31, 2020 Permalink

      They’ll never let it die, WKY. There’s a whole industry built around it and, by acknowledging progress, they think it diminishes what’s left to be done…

    • WildcatCam
      1:03 pm May 31, 2020 Permalink

      Who are you to combat the truth of a black man in this country? Stop.

    • TPACAT
      1:26 pm May 31, 2020 Permalink

      I don’t know about WKY, but I’m a non-racist American who never owned a slave and who’s own people were oppressed by others during the course of history (as can said to be true of every other race at some point in history or another)…

    • just a guy
      10:09 am June 1, 2020 Permalink

      I have no doubt Casey experienced this. 54 yo it was common, but I’ll also bet his son does not. When I was 8 we didn’t hang out with blacks and they didn’t hang out with us. My 8 yo son has several black friends from his school and hangs out A LOT. Times have improved dramatically in 50 years, if you don’t think so you need a history lesson. Incidents like Floyd now happen in this country 5-10 times a year. In 1960 it happened 5-10 times a week.

  4. Sully
    12:37 pm May 31, 2020 Permalink

    Man, trueblue. You need to check yourself. Spend one day in a black man’s skin and then you can comment from a more learned place. You and I really have no idea what it is like to go through life knowing you are a second-class citizen in some people’s eyes simply because of the color your skin. And knowing that a lot of people hate you, simply because you are a black person. You were born white by luck of the draw. Casey is saying we can all do better. A good message.

    • just a guy
      10:12 am June 1, 2020 Permalink

      Born white by luck? What about born dirt poor white. You don’t think those people are not called white trash, and judged unfairly. Not every white person was born to wealth and entitlement. I get Floyd was a murder, and I support the anger toward it, but to lump all white people into a group that’s never been oppressed is just as racist.

  5. whack0001
    12:55 pm May 31, 2020 Permalink

    I think what irritates people is that this problem is made out to be caused only by whites, like racism is inherent to whites and only perpetuated by whites. A white kid in an inner city, majority black school and environment is just as likely to experience “endless racism and constant fear”. That doesn’t make it ok and both sides should work together to end it.

    • WKY Cat
      1:35 pm May 31, 2020 Permalink

      I’m white and experienced exactly that in school. Most in my school hated me and it definitely showed. But my best friend was black and other black friends tried to protect me from being discriminated against. School is only on facet of life though. You can’t wrap everyone by skin color. Racism definitely exists and we all have to do our part to continue to do better.

    • just a guy
      10:14 am June 1, 2020 Permalink

      You both are correct

  6. T-Town Cat
    12:58 pm May 31, 2020 Permalink

    Coming from a man that makes $7MM per year to coach basketball and has been a multi-millionaire since he sued Emery for $6.9MM 30 years ago. It’s tough how much he has been oppressed and held down by this racist society.

    • WildcatCam
      1:01 pm May 31, 2020 Permalink

      Hatred don’t care about how much money I make…believe that.

  7. WildcatCam
    1:00 pm May 31, 2020 Permalink

    Working at one of those inner city schools, I can tell you that is mostly false, surprisingly. The white and black kids mix very well here and are very close friends in and out of school, I’m grateful to see that.

    • whack0001
      1:26 pm May 31, 2020 Permalink

      That’s great but that’s just your experience. I’m sure there are some black kids that were accepted and had great experiences in rural white communities.

  8. Southky
    1:02 pm May 31, 2020 Permalink

    Whack0001 is spot on. Racism exists in all colors. There will unfortunately be pockets of racism as long as there are people. Some people are ignorant or unlearned in all races. If you are white try walking around in any major inner city by yourself around midnight. Sadly not everyone wants racism to die. Some will use it to play the victim. Politicians will use it to pander votes. The media will use it to bolster ratings. But mostly racism is an issue of ignorance in all races and colors.

    • 4everUKBlue
      6:46 am June 1, 2020 Permalink

      The flames of racism are constantly being fanned, it’s another way to keep us divided and fighting amongst ourselves. The powers that should not be would be in big trouble if we were to stand united instead of falling divided. When will people wake up to all the tactics being used against us to distract and divide us? They’ll be rolling out plandemic II in the fall, Bill Gates is already talking about it.

    • just a guy
      10:20 am June 1, 2020 Permalink

      Racism does exist. It’s as strong as ever. And our politicians want it that way. One man was killed in Minnesota and its “white cops are racist against blanks”. Did anyone see the Black cop on scene that day defend Floyd? Did he ever walk over and say come on man that’s enough?? Did the Asian cop help, or did he push back the crowd screaming and turn his back? Yep that white cop was a total douche and I pray he pays for his sin. But does that mean all white cops hate blacks? If you watch CNN you’ll think so

    1:28 pm May 31, 2020 Permalink

    So there you go, whack, straight from WlidcatCam, only whites are racist…

  10. Rob
    2:01 pm May 31, 2020 Permalink

    As long as people continue to have hatred and evil in their hearts things will never change.

  11. Joe DBBK
    2:25 pm May 31, 2020 Permalink

    “No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background or his religion. People learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” –Nelson Mandela

    • 4everUKBlue
      6:48 am June 1, 2020 Permalink

      We are being programmed to hate, if you want someone to hate make it the rulers and controllers of the world. Those are the people who want us to hate each other.

  12. sammydog
    3:37 pm May 31, 2020 Permalink

    I never post on here. I am a 73yr old white woman. I think when my generation dies off, we will then see if progress has been made in many issues that plague our country. The younger generations have had much different life experiences. There values are different. Their ambitions are different. The things that give them pleasure are different. It is their world now and I like what I see in them. Although I won’t be here to see it, I am hopeful the world will be a better place.

  13. jahanc2uky
    3:38 pm May 31, 2020 Permalink

    Wow look at that another athlete/sports figure/leader of a community says there is a problem…. okay for the 90% of us that agree, can you use your public status to give us a SOLUTION? Is anyone else tired of people saying there is a problem without a solution?

  14. RealCatsFan
    4:44 pm May 31, 2020 Permalink

    People here saying that racism against whites exist, and I don’t doubt it in certain situations, but how many white people truly need to worry about being stopped by the police and have it escalate into a situation where your life is in jeopardy? Until you can understand that, we really can’t put ourselves in their shoes. I have two teenagers, and I have always been hopeful that they will not have their world view tainted by racism. I grew up in the 70’s, and racism was everywhere, in plain sight. Progress has been made, but we still have a ways to go. I am hopeful that my kids will someday see a better world, but some members of my own generation are sadly doing their best to set that back.

    • whack0001
      5:46 pm May 31, 2020 Permalink

      Considering around twice as many whites are killed by cops than blacks I’d say it’s just as legitimate of a worry for whites than blacks.

    • WKY Cat
      6:32 pm May 31, 2020 Permalink

      Realcatsfan…..I’ll assume you are addressing me. Racism is racism. You can’t pick out one situation like you did to justify a point. I understand racism toward blacks is much more widespread but it happens to many people in many situations.

    • dukeisking
      8:28 pm May 31, 2020 Permalink

      Amazing to see these some of these comments. Most of you folks commenting have never been outside of Kentucky which is in itself 20 years behind the times. Please experience living in a major metropolis as oppose to most of the small town places and mindset that exist inside of the commonwealth. They always say if the world end today hope you live in Kentucky b/c that state is 20 years behind!!!!

    • Bluehender
      9:47 pm May 31, 2020 Permalink

      dukesucks…we can all agree on that..the whole country

    • 4everUKBlue
      6:35 am June 1, 2020 Permalink

      @dukeisfukingstupid, what does it say about a fan of another program who gets his pleasure from trolling another fanbase? It is you who is 20 years behind, grow the fuk up clown.

  15. DavidP19
    5:34 pm May 31, 2020 Permalink

    Looother and Ned T. … I thank God that neither I, nor my children, will ever have to deal with the likes of you. I feel sorry for those who are unfortunate enough to be of similar mind.

    • chris gettelfinger is not walking through that door
      6:12 pm May 31, 2020 Permalink

      Looother is always trolling so ignore him. Ned T.’s comment on the other hand is obviously way over the line.

  16. Swizzle
    5:37 pm May 31, 2020 Permalink

    If you have to ask if anything has changed in 54 years, you’re a dumbass.

  17. chris gettelfinger is not walking through that door
    6:09 pm May 31, 2020 Permalink

    Fifty-ish years ago I was a six-year-old boy living in Lexington, Kentucky in the almost all black housing project. I walked into the mostly black Ashland Elementary School where I was not wanted nor welcomed. At that time there were no cell phones to record my treatment, no cable news stations with 24/7 coverage, no social media to record the reality of the situation or offer support nor condemnation. But I can remember exactly how I felt as a six-year-old child. I felt helpless. I felt as if I was neither seen, nor heard, nor understood. The same was true for my siblings.

    I didn’t make that up. Fights were a regular occurrence at school and in the project, and they were often based in race. The black kid who was my friend one day was telling me he was going to beat me up the next, only to impress his black friends. The goal on the school bus for black kids sometimes was to harass a new kid, usually white, until they didn’t want to ride the bus anymore. I remember how relieved I was when we moved out of the project and across town to a school that was more, yes, white. The number of fights for me were far less. I’m only stating a fact. I can’t speak for all kids there.

    I wasn’t perfect in all this, and I’m not perfect now. Someone above asked for a solution, and there is only one:
    “But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.”
    ??Galatians? ?3:25-29? ?ESV??

    • chris gettelfinger is not walking through that door
      7:54 pm May 31, 2020 Permalink

      BTW, none of this is to diminish what happened to Casey. It’s just that racism is often a 2 way street.

    • 4everUKBlue
      6:37 am June 1, 2020 Permalink

      We are all slaves, most don’t realize it yet, but it won’t be much longer before it’s staring us all in the face.

    • chris gettelfinger is not walking through that door
      7:53 pm May 31, 2020 Permalink

      That’s the other thing I forgot to add. Professional rioters/looters are a big part of this.

  18. SADmaninKy
    8:35 pm May 31, 2020 Permalink

    Amen to all of the above, Mr. Gettelfinger!

    • chris gettelfinger is not walking through that door
      9:04 pm May 31, 2020 Permalink

      Thanks, and I don’t want people to think I want to fan any flames here. Rather, I want to put out the fires of racism, but only Christ can do that. I am outraged at both the killing of Mr. Floyd AND the rioting, looting, and violence going on now. So many think we have to pick a side.

  19. WildcatCam
    11:40 pm May 31, 2020 Permalink

    Gettlefinger, for every 1 of your situations, there’s thousands of the opposite. It’s unfortunate that you had to endure that, it truly is.

    Racism can definitely go from any ethnicity to another, that’s not debatable. It’s fact. What’s also fact, is that black people and other people of color still suffer from oppression. That’s what you and anyone who refuses to acknowledge the atrocities of our nation against people of color can’t speak on.

    There is inherent privelege as a white person. It’s not your fault, it’s not bad, it’s a product of the culture hundreds of years ago. But the adverse effects of that, are that if one group is privileged, others aren’t. Privileged doesn’t simply mean someone didn’t struggle…but it does mean that their skin color didn’t contribute to their struggle.

    If someone can’t see that, it’s because there’s no desire to see that and be part of the solution.

  20. chardun20
    1:45 am June 1, 2020 Permalink

    Ned T, you speak strong words behind the internet. It’s people like you are part of the problem. You call the man a racist name while acting racism doesn’t exist. Why is it when people bring up racism, some people get so angry and pretend racism doesn’t exist.

  21. kuhlkat
    3:56 am June 1, 2020 Permalink

    In todays world blacks are more racists than whites. They use the racism from the past to walk around with a chip on their shoulder and blame whitey for everything. Todays whites shouldnt have to pay for our ancestors sins.

  22. mcp157
    6:27 am June 1, 2020 Permalink

    54 years ago Mr. Casey would not be coaching the Detroit Pistons and the cop in Minneapolis probably would not be charged with murder. Things have changed, it’s just not close to perfect. Doubt if it ever will be but all people and races have to keep trying.

  23. Bluebloodtoo
    6:47 am June 1, 2020 Permalink

    There have absolutely been improvements and changes made, but it’s not done yet.

  24. bbn606
    8:13 am June 1, 2020 Permalink

    Just another divisive comment. I don’t think he wants to go back to the 60s.

  25. Irwin R. Fletcher
    8:30 am June 1, 2020 Permalink

    WHY IN THE HELL DO I READ THE COMMENTS?!?! So much ignorance in my home state…. I guess I’ll continue watching the Cats from my couch, even after COVID eventually passes. I can’t imagine having to sit next to some of you in Commonwealth.

  26. MrPioneer
    8:57 am June 1, 2020 Permalink

    If you disagree with Casey’s comments or question the validity of them, you are showing your true colors. Oh and by the way, reverse racism does not exist.

    • whack0001
      9:37 am June 1, 2020 Permalink

      If you think reverse racism does not exist you are showing YOUR true colors. Don’t use this “racism can only come from a position of power” argument because that is completely made up nonsense.

    • chris gettelfinger is not walking through that door
      10:12 am June 1, 2020 Permalink

      Mr. Pioneer, I don’t question at all his statements regarding what happened to him as a child. But it’s like mcp157 said above. “54 years ago Mr. Casey would not be coaching the Detroit Pistons and the cop in Minneapolis probably would not be charged with murder. Things have changed, it’s just not close to perfect. Doubt if it ever will be but all people and races have to keep trying.”

      It is the PC definition of racism that says reverse racism does not exist, but the PC definition is wrong. Racism is defined as “A belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race”. Humans are humans, and humans of all races are capable of those attitudes.

      I again say that the only thing that can change hearts & minds is Christ. Have a blessed day.

    • just a guy
      10:31 am June 1, 2020 Permalink

      MrPioneer. I hope you realize that saying only whites are racist, and blacks can’t be racist is….wait for it…..racist! You’re judging a color of skin population based solely on their skin. That sir is the definition of racist.

  27. TPACAT
    7:11 pm June 1, 2020 Permalink

    The concept of white privilege is total and utter B.S.. It’s an artificial construct created by leftist quote “intellectuals” designed to make white people feel guilty for being white! I for one will never bow to this ridiculous notion. Like I said above, I never owned a slave. I have no white guilt whatsoever and I damn sure earned my “privilege”…