When Will it End?
By Todd A. Smith
Although not a rarity in football anymore, the Black quarterback is still a rather new phenomenon.
As a community, African Americans once celebrated our heroes, but now it seems as if excellence is not good enough for some of our own people who insist on all people who look like them, living their life by their arrogant standards and not how they want to live it.
ESPN contributor Rob Parker was recently fired for questioning the “Blackness” of Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III (RG3). Parker referred to Griffin as a “cornball brother” for being engaged to a White woman, allegedly voting Republican and wanting to be judged by his accomplishments on the field, not by the color of his skin.
“Well, he’s Black, he kind of does his thing,” Rob Parker said in a debate with “First Take” co-host Skip Bayless. “But he’s not really down with the cause; he’s not one of us. He’s kind of Black. But he’s not really the guy you’d really want to hang out with because he’s off to do something else.”
Rob Parker’s comments caused an immediate uproar on social media, with the sports commentator initially standing up for his controversial opinion. He later apologized for the remarks.
While all are welcome to their opinion, controversial or not, Rob Parker’s comments represent a larger problem within the Black community that is not addressed enough.
That problem is the notion that only a certain segment of the Black community can determine what it means to be authentically Black and if anyone does not live up to their expectations they are fraudulent in some way, and therefore not real.
Griffin’s desire to be judged by the content of his character and not by the color of his skin is something that our ancestors died for.
RG3’s desire is no different than the desires of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and based on Rob Parker’s theory, that would have made King and every other icon of the Civil Rights Movement a “cornball brother” as well.
Based on Rob Parker’s own criteria, he himself could be seen as “kind of Black” and “not one of us” too because his actions only lead to the same crabs in the bucket mentality that has held Black people down for generations.
Unfortunately for the sake of the African American community, it is not the White man holding RG3 down; it is his own so-called brothers and sisters who are actually no more than house slaves doing the slave masters dirty work for them.
No one has a monopoly on the Black experience. There is no one Black voice. And thankfully, people like Rob Parker will have one less platform to spew division and jealousy within the Black community.
Griffin allegedly voting Republican makes him Black, because Black people died so that he could vote for any political party of his choosing.
The 2011 Heisman Trophy winner being engaged to a White woman makes him Black, because the fact that he is free to fall in love with the woman of his choosing is a true manifestation of what the Civil Rights Movement was all about.
And RG3 wanting to be judged by his merit is a true manifestation of how far the Black quarterback has come in this country, which is what we hoped for when Williams won Super Bowl MVP in 1988.
What is not Black is another “brother” trying to pull him back down into the bucket once he has made it to the top.
That is simply the work of the enemy, and Black people who do that need to open their eyes and realize which side of the fence they are actually on. Unfortunately for them, it is not the side of progress and true racial equality.