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Monthly Archives: December 2012

We, black folks, are a strange lot. Rob Parker’s recent remarks on ESPN about Robert Griffin, III (or RG3) is a stark reminder of this idea. Refer to this short clip.

Basically, Parker argues that because RG3 does not do things characteristic of blacks then he is not a member of the black community.  I would be eager to hear what characteristics a black person must have to be considered a ‘card carrying member’ of the black race. According to Parker, RG3 is not “down with us.” Parker’s facts are the following: RG3 recently proposed to his fiance who is white; and allegedly, RG3 aligns himself with the Republican Party.  For RG3’s personal choices, Parker has dubbed RG3 a ‘cornball brother.’  I have never heard of this phrase but contextual clues suggest that Parker is saying that RG3 is a ‘sell out’ or a ‘Uncle Tom.’ I was labeled a ‘Uncle Tom’ because allegedly, I talked and dressed white. My daughter who attended a predominantly white high school was accused of ‘talking white’ by black kids bussed in from the city. Parker and others like him are guilty of what blacks have accused others of doing for years: stereotyping. This is all so ironic and quite sad. Blacks are individuals and it is unfair to try to fit every black person into a rigid mold. That would be quite boring. It is absurd to think that all blacks should conform to a certain idea of what blackness is. By the way, can someone define blackness for me? All of this foolishness reminds me of blacks who criticized Gabby for her ‘unkept’ hair. Never mind that she was participating in a sport that made her sweat. Never mind that she was on the biggest stage of her young life; that would make anyone sweat. All of this reminds me of Dr. John McWhorter and his book, “Losing the Race: Self-Sabotage in Black America.” As the title suggests, McWhorter argues that we, black folks, sabotage ourselves through such things as belonging to the cult of anti-intellectualism (sadly this is true of many Americans) and the cult of victimization (declaring we are the ‘victim’ when a little effort is called for).

I often tell my student athletes, “transcend your stereotypes.” Thank you RG3 for being your own person. Thank you RG3 for being a thinker; thank you RG3 for breaking stereotypes that many whites and others have had of black athletes. Thank you RG3 for transcending what most people often think of athletes. Rob Parker’s remarks sabotage black folks, yet again. It seems to me that Mr. Parker wants to maintain some stereotypes? No thank you Rob Parker. Personally, I wonder – aren’t there more important things for black folks to worry about than someone’s dating and party affiliation choices? Eradicating poverty is more important. Lobbying for tighter gun control in light of what happened in Newtown, CT is more important. Serving as conduits to give all Americans access to education and affordable health care is more important.

Parker’s comments make me what to holler! Someone please issue Rob Parker a gag order!