A few years ago, I relayed the following experience:
Multiculturalists would tell the four year-old boy in the photo that he was being white-washed. They would tell the 40 year old blogger hammering this post out on his keyboard, that he is a twinkie: White on the inside, yellow on the out. If I were black, maybe I’d be an Uncle Tom and a sellout. I spent 6 years of my college time living with two of my teammates, who were brothers. They also happened to be middle-class black, from Alburqurque. One day, a student asked Greg, the younger brother, if he had been to any ASU meetings, lately. He replied that, “Yeah, we’ve been out there; we compete there sometimes.” (My roommates and I were on the gymnastics team- the older brother, Chainey, eventually making the ’96 U.S. Olympic Team). The guy who asked Greg the question just shook his head and thought my roommate was so out of touch because Greg thought he meant had he been to Arizona State University; but what he really was asking is, had Greg attended any African Student Union group meetings.
Those two former roommates are now very successful doctors, upper middle class, in solid marriages with beautiful children.
In wake of the recent Bleacher Report that charged some in the Seahawks locker room didn’t think quarterback Russell Wilson was “black enough”, his teammates have denied that allegation. In addition, outspoken Charles Barkley weighed into the controversy:
The fact that Wilson’s “blackness” was even questioned struck a nerve with former NBA star Charles Barkley, who was asked about the situation on a Philadelphia radio show last week.
“There are a lot of black people who are unintelligent, who don’t have success––it’s best to knock a successful black person down if they’re intelligent, they speak well, they do well in school, and they’re successful,” Barkley said on WIP Radio last Thursday.
The Basketball Hall of Famer elaborated on those comments Monday at a media day for TNT’s Inside the NBA.
“What I said was, it’s a dirty secret in the black community unless you’re a thug or got a criminal record or just a jackass, some people don’t think you’re black enough,” Barkley said. “It’s a dirty little secret in our community. I want black kids [to know] we can be strong, intelligent. We just tell kids if you’re doing good in school, you’re acting white. If you speak intelligently, you’re acting white. That’s bull[expletive]. That’s one of the reasons we as a group, us black people, are struggling. We don’t have great respect for each other.”
Barkley said that he hadn’t gone on the show prepared to speak on the topic, but that the hosts brought it up in conjunction with the Wilson story.
“The question was asked. I talked about it in my last book. One of the problems in our black community is us, not white folks, other black folks. It just happened to come up because the Russell Wilson thing just broke. It’s not something I hadn’t said before. I don’t know why people took it national last week. You don’t have to be a thug or unintelligent. You’re supposed to do great academically. You’re supposed to speak correctly. You don’t have to have street cred. I tell people, ‘We’re the only group where if you have a criminal record it makes you more black.’ It’s ridiculous.”
Charles Barkley’s defense of Russell Wilson has done more to implode the issue than it has done to further the conversation about personal identity within the black community. Barkley stated: “We’re brainwashed to thinking if you’re not a thug or an idiot, you’re not black enough.”
Charles Barkley’s own statement proves the falsity of his argument. There are a lot of black Americans that thinks he is a traitor to his race, which devalues his race card, and would still call him a thug because of his “hold no punches” attitude. I can’t fathom how many blacks think he is an idiot.
Those are not the qualifying factors for blackness. Beyonce is not judged as less than black because she isn’t a thug or idiot. Neither is Kerry Washington, Jill Scott, or Oprah Winfrey. They are all intelligent, successful black women. Why isn’t their blackness questioned? Is it because that definition only applies to black men? Then explain the assault on color correctness witnessed by Stacy Dash and Crystal Wright.
Black America doesn’t question Barack Obama about his blackness. Nor do they question Cornel West, Al Sharpton, or Van Jones. They are intelligent, successful black men. Why isn’t their blackness questioned? Why do Hermain Cain, Allen West, and Tim Scott require a black litmus test?
Hint: It has nothing to do with race.
Russell Wilson came from a two-parent home. He had a quality education because his parents had the economic ability to choose an excellent school district. Wilson attended college based on skill, not affirmative action. Oh, and he likes to tweet out Bible verses to his twitter followers.
Russell Wilson is the antithesis of the progressive format to success. His parents didn’t rely on government to raise their children. His parents had the option of school choice. He worked to keep his grades up and build his football skills. And to top it off, he has the nerve to thank God for his success.
These are things progressives hate, not black America.
Hat tip to Michael Medved Show for the following find:
Remember the Cosby Show?
It had to represent race in a way that enabled audience members to feel good enough about themselves, sometimes for different and contradictory reasons, that they reliably returned every week, ready to attend to the ads of the corporations that paid hundreds of thousands of dollars a minute for access. By the time the show finished its first season on NBC in 1985, it deftly had won admission into millions of segregated European American homes.
Cosby’s popularity and skill was surely crucial to its success, but significant too was a critical aspect of his persona-he never raged or despaired. No doubt for many the show’s goodwill carried with it some acceptance for African Americans, a GUESS WHO’S COMING TO DINNER? for the Reagan years. Yet as several critics have noted, the price paid by the makers of TFIE COSBY SHOW for its jumbo audience was clear: silence on racism. “To have confronted the audience” about racism “would have been commercial suicide,” says Justin Lewis, who has studied viewer responses to the program (164). An active supporter of progressive politics, Cosby acknowledges that COSBY did not mention racism for fear of alienating white viewers (Graham). “I agree with critics who say it doesn’t do enough,” he says. “But the people who’re viewing it are having a ball with it” (Christon 45). Yet in what seems both cause and effect of cultural productions such as THE COSBY SHOW, polls show that most U.S. whites “no longer feel blacks are discriminated against in the schools, the job market and the courts” (Brownstein Ml).
For myself, the Show wasn’t about “white-washing” the racial divide. It was about obliterating seeing them as a “black” family and promoting them as a successful one. As Morgan Freeman expressed it on 60 Minutes when asked how do we get rid of racism: “Stop talking about it.” Quit pointing out a person’s ethnicity as the primary defining, driving characteristic.
Bill Cosby several years ago:
‘They’re standing on the corner and they can’t speak English. I can’t even talk the way these people talk…
Why you ain’t
Where you is
What he drive
Where he stay
Where he work
Who you be…
And I blamed the kid until I heard the mother talk.
And then I heard the father talk.
Everybody knows it’s important to speak English except these knuckleheads. You can’t be a doctor with that kind of crap coming out of your mouth.
In fact, you will never get any kind of job making a decent living. People marched and were hit in the face with rocks to get an education, and now we’ve got these knuckleheads walking around.
The lower economic people are not holding up their end in this deal.
These people are not parenting. They are buying things for kids. $500 sneakers for what??
And they won’t spend $200 for Hooked on Phonics.
I am talking about these people who cry when their son is standing there in an orange suit.
Where were you when he was 2??
Where were you when he was 12??
Where were you when he was 18 and how come you didn’t know that he had a pistol??
And where is the father?? Or, who is his father?
People putting their clothes on backward, isn’t that a sign of something gone wrong?
People with their hats on backward, pants down around the crack, isn’t that a sign of something?
Or, are you waiting for Jesus to pull his pants up?
Isn’t it a sign of something when she has her dress all the way up and got all type of needles [piercing] going through her body?
What part of Africa did this come from??
We are not Africans. Those people are not Africans. They don’t know a thing about Africa .
With names like Shaniqua, Taliqua and Mohammed and all of that crap, and all of them are in jail.
Brown or black versus the Board of Education is no longer the white person’s problem.
We have got to take the neighborhood back.
People used to be ashamed. Today, a woman has eight children with eight different ‘husbands’ — or men or whatever you call them now.
We have millionaire football players who cannot read.
We have million-dollar basketball players who can’t write two paragraphs.
We, as black folks have to do a better job. Someone working at Wal- Mart with seven kids… you are hurting us.
We have to start holding each other to a higher standard.
We cannot blame the white people any longer.
Read in greater detail, Dr. Bill Cosby’s speech at the 50th Anniversary commemoration of the Brown vs Topeka Board of Education Supreme Court Decision
My feelings are assimilation over multiculturalism. Shared values and culture. Tolerance and dialogue for differences.
Democrats and liberals are race-fixated. They cannot get past seeing and identifying people through the color of their skin. The charge that the GOP and conservatives are racist is nothing short of slander. Conservatives are the ones who are judging others through content of character. Both sides are capable of stereotyping, prejudice, and generalizing (like I just did in this very paragraph). Whether based upon skin color, ethnicity, religion, political affiliation, economic class, neighborhood, state or country of origin, musical tastes, dress, etc.
As a side not, it’s kind of funny how some liberals do want to blur the lines, though, when it comes to gender differences and promote that gender should be defined as a state of mind as opposed to anatomical tools you are physically equipped with, from birth.
What good does it do us when we divide ourselves into “the black community”, “white culture”, “Asian solidarity”? Can we self-segregate and still consider ourselves a melting pot blend of “One people” AND celebrate our diversity? “Out of many, One”?
Yes, racism will always be alive in America (just as it will be, all over the globe). But it will especially stay alive because we are constantly “having that dialogue” and talking about it; picking at that scab, highlighting, underscoring, boldening, exclamation marking obsessing over it.
I do remember a moment where I did literally stare at myself in the mirror, as a child becoming self-aware that I was physically “different” from just about everyone I saw around me and on television, at the time:
My earliest memory of being race-conscious, was one day when I was about 4 or 5 living in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. My mom took me to check out Tinkerbell Kindergarten. It must have been an open-house or something. I went out on the playground where two boys were playing on the monkey bars. They basically told me to go away and I couldn’t play there with them; they used racial slurs to reject me. Back then, children used to take their thumbs to stretch the corners out to mock those with “slant eyes”. I don’t see kids doing that these days. It was one of those experiences that began to shape my consciousness that there was something physically different about me from other “Americans”; that I didn’t physically resemble Robert Conrad. And I began to take a closer look in the mirror, to see what others were seeing that I had failed to see.