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[Robert Griffin III]'s black. He kind of does his thing 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, ESPN (12/13/2012), on "cornball brother" Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III
Black people have achieved freedom from slavery. We continue to beat back Jim Crow. We have persevered through economic turmoil, war, homegrown terrorism (Stand Your Ground, Baby!!!), and George W. Bush. We have gone from illiteracy at the end of the Civil War to a high-school graduation rate of eighty-four percent in 2010 [.pdf]--two percent less than whites. Almost twenty percent of us graduate from college every year. We have achieved in every human endeavor around the world.

It is high time we were granted the ultimate freedom: the freedom to be individuals--the freedom from each other.

The stereotypic persona of black America fashioned by the powers-that-be rings ever more false as time passes. Rob Parker's characterization of Robert Griffin III grates because it perpetuates the worst of what this nation has been. It is ignorant, prejudiced, arrogant, and small.

A life fashioned according to one's own tastes and talents is the pinnacle of achievement. A life lived thus is the essence of "the pursuit of happiness." Such a life defines the word "individual"--a title each and every one of us deserves. It is long past time that we stopped buying stereotypical, "one-size-fits-all" images of each other. I don't just mean that racially; I mean it for every classification used to divide us one from another as Americans and as human beings. Martin Luther King, Jr. wasn't just talking to white people when he said: I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. Black. White. Brown. Yellow. Muslim. Christian. Jew. Atheist. Man. Woman. Gay. Straight. Liberal. Conservative. All those strait-jackets fall away when you take people one-at-a-time. The pursuit of happiness is one of this country's founding principles. Each of us has the right and the responsibility to live our lives as we see fit and each of us deserves to be judged on that and on that alone.

Parker says that Robert Griffin III isn't "down with the cause." I wonder what "cause" Mr. Parker believes that one of the most celebrated, most accomplished young men in the country isn't "down with." I can identify a "cause" that Robert Griffin III and I share: race is not an excuse for anything that you can control. No excuse for bad grades. No excuse for running afoul of the law. No excuse for failing to follow through on commitments. No excuse for failing to make a positive contribution. No excuse for not taking responsibility. No excuse for failing to do your best. That attitude means--more often than not--you are "off to do something else" other than "hang out."

All the racial and sexual and gender and religious "issues" that we're supposed to care about are just distractions from the real problems we face. We are born alone and we die alone. We have the right to fashion our own lives as we see fit.

I've been black all my life. I know how to be black. I don't need anyone to tell me how to do it. Neither does RGIII.

Originally posted to MacDaffy on Thu Dec 13, 2012 at 11:28 PM PST.

Also republished by Black Kos community and Barriers and Bridges.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I saw that (13+ / 0-)

    My reaction was WTF. What has this have to do with anything

  •  lordy RG3 may be a republican (6+ / 0-)

    This may delay his monument down here in DC. Also how dare  he have a white girlfriend ! This bozo is as big a racist as Limbaugh.
    Seems like he has a test on how to be black!

    •  oh, is the problem that he's a Repub? (0+ / 0-)

      If so, 1)that's his right to do that, but 2)given what the Republican party has done to black voting rights over the past 12 years, yeah, I think other people have the right to be suspicious about that.  In other words, use your own voting rights however you want to, but if you're supporting the party that regularly stamps on black people's voting rights, it's fair for other people (including especially other black people) to say WTF?

      That's just my take.

      A thousand Sharkeys are invading a thousand Shires every day across our country.--James Wells

      by SouthernLiberalinMD on Fri Dec 14, 2012 at 09:28:20 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  If I'm not mistaken, it's his Christianity that (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        SouthernLiberalinMD

        likely makes him identify with the party of good Christians (gag). I believe I've seen him kneel, cross himself and point up to god in thanks for god turning his back on the starving children of Somalia and instead helping him be so much better at sports than other people and for all his good fame and fortune.

        Oh, wait, I did.

        Sounds perfect for the republican party.

        OK, the pointing up to god thing is a pet peeve of mine that makes me particularly peevish.

        Vote Tea Party Taliban! Bring the Burqa to America.

        by Pescadero Bill on Fri Dec 14, 2012 at 10:10:35 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  I sense a little haterade in Mr. Parker's comments (24+ / 0-)

    Just sayin'.

    I've heard the "not black enough" bullshit all my life. And I still hate it.

    The Grand Bargain must be stopped at all costs to protect the 99%.

    by cybrestrike on Fri Dec 14, 2012 at 03:55:15 AM PST

  •  I watch ESPN (17+ / 0-)

    for sports - If I want politics or opinion on something other than sports, I can tune into another channel.  

    I'm writin ESPN today voicing my displeasure and also requesting this guy get canned for being a dumb ass with ignorant comments.

    The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only legitimate object of good government. - Thomas Jefferson

    by ctexrep on Fri Dec 14, 2012 at 03:56:23 AM PST

    •  Please, don't get Mr. Parker fired, we need him. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      chicagoblueohio, DvCM

      It wasn't long ago Warren Moon was berating sportscasters for comparing RGIII to other black QB's, just because he is black.
      Now we have the other end of the spectrum where he is not "Black" enough.
      This implies there is a middle ground somewhere for people of color to be "people' and able to make decisions not based on race.
      To work hard at a job without your fellow workers telling you, "You working to hard for the White Man!", and when you get promoted you hear the whispers that you only got the job because of AA.
      When you do make it, you won't have people from the old neighborhood dissing you for forgetting where you came from and not sharing the wealth.
      The broader the spectrum the better, because within that spectral border lies person-hood.

      "If you tell the truth, you won't have to remember anything", Mark Twain

      by Cruzankenny on Fri Dec 14, 2012 at 05:05:25 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Nope. His voice of ignorance shouldn't have a (4+ / 0-)

        national platform to spew from. Who made Parker the decider of who's black? And what the hell is "the cause?"

        Anyway, earlier this year ESPN fired a writer who used a racist headline in a story about then-Knicks bball player Jeremy Lin. Parker needs to join him.

        •  Agree w/you (5+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Hey338Too, Cruzankenny, valion, wwjjd, Mannie

          This piece of excrement had the nerve to say Hank Aaron was a coward 'cause he didn't speak out about Barry Bonds' likely steroid use when approaching the HR record.

          Hank Aaron took more abuse than anyone other than Jackie Robinson when he was passing the HR record of Babe Ruth.  He did it while playing for the only southeastern MLB team at the time, the Atlanta Braves.  He started playing in the remnants of the old Negro Leagues in the 50's.  His whole life was one of true character, grace, & humility, yet Rob Parker said he was a coward.

          Never heard his apology to Hank, 'cause it may have never happened.  But I turn away from ESPN whenever he's on because he is a true embarrassment.

          •  I agree with you Mr. Parker is a piece of shit (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Mannie

            if only because of his treatment of the class act that was Hank Aaron showing up at the ballpark to watch his record be broken. He has many more reasons than this.
            His use of the term "Cornball" has added a new lexicon to racial discussion, but a definition would be appreciated.
            The man is ignorant on a show that pays people to spout ignorant phrases. ESPN went on to show it in their highlights later on.

            "If you tell the truth, you won't have to remember anything", Mark Twain

            by Cruzankenny on Fri Dec 14, 2012 at 07:41:39 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  The only people that make him the 'decider' of (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Mannie

          who's black, are those that let him. I say he is ignorant, but who made me the decider of ignorance?
          First things first. What is the definition of a,"Cornball Brother"? Maybe he's referring to Monsanto and claiming RGIII is GM'd.
          It is still only answerable by the writer of the Jeremy Lin headline whether or not the use of a very common phrase was meant to be racist.

          "If you tell the truth, you won't have to remember anything", Mark Twain

          by Cruzankenny on Fri Dec 14, 2012 at 07:33:30 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  That is ultimate fail. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Mannie

        Next I'll see people here arguing that we don't want to dump Rush.  Seriously, ignorance is ignorance and we should oppose it always and in every form, context and color.

        Certainly from our standpoint, this gives us a sense of momentum -- when the United States has accolades tossed its way, rather than shoes. - PJ Crowley

        by nsfbr on Fri Dec 14, 2012 at 09:13:29 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I don't quite agree with the postulate that all (0+ / 0-)

          ignorance should be fought.
          The phrase,"Give them enough rope to hang themselves", is based on allowing someone to speak authoritatively, but ignorantly, until their own ignorance  condemns them with their own words.
          With every statement Mr. Parker makes in the same vein of his Hank Aaron's courage or RGIII's blackness, the less people will take him seriously.
          His statement about Hank Aaron had already turned me off regarding this man and if there was justification for firing, it was then.
          His diarrhea of the mouth regarding RGIII was nonsense and should be treated as such.
          I still don't know what a "Cornball Brother" is and I wish someone would tell me. Is it like a corn fritter?

          "If you tell the truth, you won't have to remember anything", Mark Twain

          by Cruzankenny on Fri Dec 14, 2012 at 09:37:55 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  How long has RG3 been a black quarterback? (8+ / 0-)

    I guess Parker is showing one can be racist regardlell of skin color

  •  I remember vaguely Jesse Jackson saying something (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mjbleo, JBL55, Mannie

    similar on a hot mic during a commercial break or something, about Barack Obama on MSNBC (saying something similar to what Rob Parker said). It's a shame, for sure. While it would suck to find out RGIII is a registered Republican, he certainly deserves to be judged by the content of his character, which so far seems exemplary.

    •  About Rev. Jackson: I thought at the time that (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      svboston, Mannie

      the hope was that the descendant of former slaves would someday rise to become the first black President, and that that hope was dying a bit hard.  Getting Obama in was a great victory, and at the end of the day it'll do fine, but I understood where some people were coming from on this matter--not that Obama isn't black enough, whatever that means, but he didn't rise from the same history as, say, his wife does. And given the good sense of O's speech on race during the '08 campaign, I doubt he would have any problem seeing both the difference--he's not the descendant of people who suffered slavery, nor Jim Crow, etc.--and the similarity, which is that Barack Obama grew up in the same racist society that his wife did, and has experienced it himself.

      A thousand Sharkeys are invading a thousand Shires every day across our country.--James Wells

      by SouthernLiberalinMD on Fri Dec 14, 2012 at 09:34:05 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Stupid knows no racial boundaries (9+ / 0-)

    Rob Parker gets paid to be stupid on ESPN. That's all I can say about him. Naturally, espn.com has scrubbed the video (or at least in my current befuddled condition I can't find it) because I would have LOVED to hear what Stephen A. Smith was about to say about how stupid Rob Parker was.

    I wonder what Parker will have to say if Colin Kaepernick actually blows up next season.

    -7.75, -8.10; All it takes is security in your own civil rights to make you complacent.

    by Dave in Northridge on Fri Dec 14, 2012 at 04:24:26 AM PST

  •  If we are trying to stop racism in America (11+ / 0-)

    people like Rob Parker actually perpetuate racism by saying things like this.  I'm a Spanish-American woman and I've been told I'm not Chicana enough.  What does that mean?  It really ticks me off and so does this behavior on national TV.  We will never get past our "past" if we continue to categorize people and put up glass walls for them to stand behind.

    being mindful and keepin' it real

    by Raggedy Ann on Fri Dec 14, 2012 at 04:36:49 AM PST

  •  Classy diary . . . (5+ / 0-)

    At some point you have to wonder if ESPN sets up these kinds of controversies for the publicity. I don't know anything about Parker's history, but ESPN had to know what they were getting themselves into with Limbaugh.

    ESPN might make a better approach by cleaning house and putting Macdaffy on their payroll as acting Ombudsman to steer their ship straight.  

    •  Apparently this Parker guy is a troll who does (8+ / 0-)

      something like this every couple of months.

      http://www.sportsgrid.com/...

      There's also the time when Parker was in Detriot and reported/accused then MI State QB now Skins backup QB, Kirk Cousins, of being involved in some huge brawl. Later we learned that he just heard someone say that somebody's cousin was involved and thought it was Cousins--so he reported it. So he's a troll and an idiot.

      There's also the time after a Lions blowout loss when he asked the head coach, whose defensive cordinator was married to his daughter, if he wished she had married someone else. So, actually, he's a troll, an idiot, and a douche.

      •  Turned out Cousins was in CHURCH at the time (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mjbleo, 6ZONite, wwjjd, Mannie

        With his parents!  I remember that well. Cousins is a Tebow clone fer dog's sake!  Being in a fight is about the last thing he'd ever do.   parker should have known that from the start, but he was so eager to take Cousins down a notch for being the way he is that he that he ran with the story.  The two week suspension was the beginning of the end for parker at the Detroit news, which while a shit paper, does have a fairly good sports section.  

        Fitting punishment IMO. Going from the detroit news to working with skip bayless.  Kinda like getting flushed down the toilet into the septic tank.

        A learning experience is one of those things that says, 'You know that thing you just did? Don't do that.' Douglas Adams

        by dougymi on Fri Dec 14, 2012 at 06:38:14 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Along these same lines (7+ / 0-)

    a couple weeks ago, when Allen West did something stupid (Yeah, I know, happens all the time), one of the kossacks of kolor, basically apologized for his stupid existence. As if West represented ALL black people.
    He doesn't. And other black people don't have to own him. And if someone starts bashing West for his bad behavior, as long as it's not attacking him over his skin color, then other black people don't need to defend him.
    Hearing a black commentator raking a black person for not being black enough, that's just wrong.

    If I ran this circus, things would be DIFFERENT!

    by CwV on Fri Dec 14, 2012 at 05:13:50 AM PST

  •  Oddly enough, I really appreciated (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    EdinStPaul, DvCM, mjbleo, Mannie

    Stephen A. Smith tearing Parker a new one over this.  

    Intolerance betrays want of faith in one's cause. - Gandhi

    by SpamNunn on Fri Dec 14, 2012 at 05:25:15 AM PST

  •  Rob Parker = clown ......eom (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mjbleo, Mannie
  •  it's reassuring that we never have to ask if white (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shypuffadder, mjbleo

    folks are "white enough"...

    except maybe bill clinton

    Coming Attraction: "Tea Party II - now with more stupid!"

    by memofromturner on Fri Dec 14, 2012 at 05:58:50 AM PST

  •  Thx for this---knew something happened, but didn't (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mjbleo, Mannie

    know the details of his stupidity.....asshole!!

  •  watching RGIII on the field... (5+ / 0-)

    is nothing short of thrilling. He's a natural in front of the cameras, and always answers stupid questions with grace and humility. He's an awesome person, and to say someone "is not one of us" actually sounds like what WASPs used to say about Jews; they're "not our kind." This guy is a complete and utter toad. "Off to do something else" is playing football with talent and style, and injecting life into a formerly hapless, cringeworthy team.

    Life is a shipwreck. But we must not forget to sing in the lifeboats. — Voltaire

    by agrenadier on Fri Dec 14, 2012 at 06:50:19 AM PST

  •  My son showed a column about this to me (6+ / 0-)

    that discussed the piece on TV. He is a Yahoo Sports regular reader, but I generally stay away from the entire site, so I missed it.

    (Did you have this story link: http://sports.yahoo.com/...) It recaps the whole stupid episode, including Skip Bayless' idiotic comment about RGIII's braids. (I think Bayless is suffering from dementia. He used to be a fairly respected sports columnist in Dallas. Now he's just nuts.)

    I've been a Redskins fan all my life (born in DC), and RGIII is the best quarterback we've had since...I don't know, Joe Theismann? Billy Kilmer? Sonny Jurgensen? I literally jumped up and cheered when I found out that Washington had drafted RGIII. We so needed a decent QB for so long. And he's been amazing.

    I was shaking my head the entire time I was reading that piece. Who was the guy on TV talking about? It didn't seem like he was discussing the same person I see on the football field or in the after-game press conferences. I'm glad to see some pushback like this. I totally didn't (and don't) get the hating on Mr. Griffin.

    If Parker wants something to bitch about, maybe he should start lobbying for the Redskins to change their team name. But he should leave Mr. Griffin alone -- he doesn't need your help. He's busy winning football games.

    "The difference between the right word and the almost-right word is like the difference between lightning and the lightning bug." -- Mark Twain

    by Brooke In Seattle on Fri Dec 14, 2012 at 07:00:01 AM PST

    •  How about Doug Williams? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      CrissieP, Silvia Nightshade

      As the Redskins QB, Williams was the first black quarterback to play in a Super Bowl, and as of Super Bowl XLVI, the only black quarterback to win one.  In addition (according to Wikipedia) "On the day before Super Bowl XXII, Williams had a six-hour root canal surgery performed (under full anaesthetic) to repair an abscess under a dental bridge. The pain of this condition caused him to lose sleep for several days..."

      Per snopes.com (and Michael Wilbon), here are some of the questions Mr. Williams had to answer during the 'Skins run to the Super Bowl:

      "Doug, do you feel like Jackie Robinson?"

      "Doug, would you have been able to handle all of this, especially the black thing, if you had made the Super Bowl a few years back, say, when you were 25?"

      "Doug, has there been much progress in this country since 1970, when the schools you grew up in were finally integrated?"

      "Doug, do you feel because of the black quarterback issue, that the whole country is looking at you and saying, 'Well, what are you going to do?'"

      "Doug, would it be easier if you were the second black quarterback to play in the Super Bowl?"

      "Doug, why haven't you used being the first black quarterback as a personal forum for yourself?"

      "Doug, will America be pulling for the Redskins, or rooting against them because of you?"

      "Doug, what were your reactions to what Jimmy the Greek said?"

      [Note: Two weeks earlier, CBS commentator Jimmy the Greek had been fired for remarking that blacks were better at sports because of slave plantation breeding techniques: "During the slave period, the slave owner would breed his big black with his big woman so that he would have a big black kid — that's where it all started."]

      "Doug, have you been contacted by the Rev. Jesse Jackson or any other black civil rights leaders?"

      "Doug, are you upset about all the questions about your being the first black quarterback in the Super Bowl?"

      Actually, the craziest question of all could have been put to Mark May, a Redskins offensive lineman, who was asked, "How does it feel to block for the first black quarterback in the Super Bowl?" And that was followed closely by a newspaper person from Colorado asking me (Michael Wilbon), "How does it feel to be a black writer covering the first black quarterback in the Super Bowl?"

      Sports reporting sure has come a long way /snark

      I haven't been here long enough to be considered a Kossack, does that mean that I'm just a sack?

      by Hey338Too on Fri Dec 14, 2012 at 08:17:22 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Rob Parker? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CrissieP

    Is it wrong that I have no idea who Rob Parker is?

  •  Thanks for bringing that here. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GoGoGoEverton, Mannie

    Excellent points about people deserving the right to be who they are.

  •  Let me offer a different perspective ... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CrissieP

    First, let me say clearly that I disagree with what Rob Parker said. But, let me talk about the cliche that exists in the NFL about the Black Quarterbacks and how many of them are not given as many chances as other Quarterbacks, because there is the sense that they cannot learn the position and they cannot be the face of the Franchise.

    I live in NC and in the past 18 months or so, we have witnessed the journey of Cam Newton, another Black Quarterback who was a very high draft pick.
    Drafting Cam Newton was not without controversy for the Panthers. Many people in the local media, national media, the fans argued that he couldn't play QB in the league and that he will be the next Jamarcus Russell or Akili Smith. (I don't remember anyone saying he could be the next Ryan Leaf or Tim Couch).
    Cam Newton was finally drafted by the Panthers as #1 overall and all he did in his rookie season was to break Payton Manning Record for yards thrown. He also set new record for touchdowns scored. He won more games in his first season than Manning did. Then everyone thought the skeptics had bought into Cam Newton as a QB and leader of the Panthers franchise. And the expectations were that anything short of a Super Bowl appearance would be a failure. 5 games into the season, the Panthers were 1-5 and people started reminding the rest of America that it is all Cam Newton's fault. They said he will NEVER learned how to play QB, in 5 years he will be out of the league like Vince Young. He is as lazy as Donovan McNabb, He can't read defenses ... The Panthers GM was fired a little later and a very famous commentator on ESPN said the GM was fired because he drafted a guy who will NEVER be like Manning or Brady.
    My main point is this: When things go well, people forget the race of the Quarterback. However, as soon as the team hits a road bump, people will be reminded that Black QBs can't read defenses, can never be as good as their white counter parts, Black QBs are running QBs and how many of them have won SBs? People will question their upbringing, their environments, their family values, their judgement, ... etc. Few will have the guts to bring up the skin color, but a lot of the stereotypes are nothing but code words for race. We have seen it very well with the President as well. This is very sad, but this is unfortunately a reality we still live in.

    •  This is well-written but off topic I think. (0+ / 0-)

      Really good points all...I remember one sportscaster wondering why Tebow wasn't being compared more to Vick, etc, and I think we all knew the answer.

      Still, agreeing with your comments and impressions doesn't justify Parker's comments, or for that matter anyone who takes the attitude that if they're ever judged racially that it means they should withdraw and thereby be DEFINED by that racial judgement...which is the diarist's take too.

  •  Real here, the main problem with (0+ / 0-)

    Parker's comments is just his lack of knowledge of Griffin and basically wondering if Griffin is being "real" or "fake" with himself and his ethnicity.

    Parker's main problem over the last few years is have preconceived. ridiculous notions of athletes with lazy broad statements, whether on LeBron or in this case, Griffin.

    Outside of talking baseball, Parker is really not the voice to get the best comprehensive perspective and opinion on NFL and NBA. He maybe right about some things, but he will be catastrophically wrong and say just frankly a lot of dumb things.

  •  What does this criticism of RGIII mean? (0+ / 0-)

    I don't even get it--is he saying that RGIII is so privileged that he's not there for other black guys? is this some kind of critique of RGIII's solidarity?  is he saying that RGIII isn't using his fame and fortune to help advance the black community (if so, it's a little early to make that assessment, isn't it--dude only just got here).

    Can someone enlighten me as to what this is about?

    A thousand Sharkeys are invading a thousand Shires every day across our country.--James Wells

    by SouthernLiberalinMD on Fri Dec 14, 2012 at 09:25:09 AM PST

  •  My only criticism of RGIII (0+ / 0-)

    is that he needs to stop running.  He is a great runner, and great runners, qb or rb, usually only last a few years.

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