I hate the term “Black Quarterback”.
So as you can imagine, I am equally annoyed by the phrase “White Running Back”.
Every white running back is compared to Mike Alsott, every white wide receiver is Wes Welker and if you are a white cornerback you are Jason Sehorn.
It is lazy journalism.
The latest journalist to be fall into the trap is Scott Petrak from the Chronic-Telegram Elyra, OH who thinks that it is a relevant topic.
He’d be the NFL’s first white running back to reach 1,000 since Craig James in 1985. The Browns have never had a white rusher reach a grand.
There’s no denying his race has helped his popularity among a segment of the fan base. You can call it close-minded or human nature, but it’s a fact that some people relate better to people who look like them.
Danny Woodhead has become a cult hero in New England, in part because he’s 5-foot-9 and in part because he’s white. Toby Gerhart was the NCAA’s leading rusher in 2009 but some scouts speculated he fell to the second round because he’s white.
Here is what Hillis had to say about it:
“I’m a human just like everybody else is a human,” he said. “I don’t think race really matters. Guys on this team look at me as a person, not as an image or a race.”
Here is the problem: it isn’t that what Mr. Petrak is saying is incorrect. There are people in the world who still see things in black and white. But articles like these just pushes us toward the stereotypes not away from it.
You know why I like Danny Woodhead? Because he is good, the same way I like LeSean McCoy. I don’t care if they are black, white and Avatar, if you are good I respect your skills. I don’t like a player more or less because he is black or white.
Hillis just wants to be seen as a running back, not a white running back. Just like Donovan McNabb wants to be seen as a quarterback not a black quarterback.
The only way we can kill these perceptions is not feed into them, because it is a controversial story.
Respect Hillis’ season for being great, not extraordinary because of his skin color.