The Jonathan Martin Situation Sheds Light on “Being Black/Acting White” Issue
Remember these comments from Rob Parker?
These are not unusual comments in the black community. Listen to closely to Parker’s questions and comments about RG3.
“Is he a brother or is he a cornball brother?”
“He’s not down for the cause.”
“He’s not really one of us.”
“He’s kind of black, but not the guy you really want to hang out with.”
“We all know he has a white fiancee.”
“He’s braids are very urban, so that’s different, you are a brother.”
In our society really being considered “black” is like applying for a job. You date white women, you speak clearly, you like to read? You can’t work for African-American INC, but the braids almost got you in. But, we do have positions for you at Cornball Brothers Enterprises or Uncle Tom Industries.
When you hear from anonymous Dolphins players that they saw Richie Incognito as more black than Jonathan Martin, that speaks to a greater societal issue. A society that expects black people to act, speak and live a certain way. The stereotypes are so overwhelmingly negative, when a white person is perceived as “Acting Black” it is said with disdain. It is associated with trashy, hood, ratchet, criminal and slutty behavior.
Don’t believe me? Do a quick Google Search of “Miley Cyrus Acting Black”. It isn’t pretty. Sadly, it isn’t just white people who are pushing these stereotypes, it is our black community that seems to embrace these same stereotypes. While “acting black” is looked down upon with mainstream society “acting white” can get you ostracized you in the black community.
What is disturbing is “acting white” behavior is considered anything that doesn’t fit “being black” stereotypes. It promotes a mob mentality and takes away individualism, because at our core our race is just a color, not who we are. The peer pressure within the black community to be “black enough” sadly makes people feel bad for just being themselves. People are literally frightened to speak their mind in fear of being exposed.
The black community routinely opens their arms to white people who they perceive to be in their fraternity of “blackness” (Justin Timberlake, Bill Clinton, Robin Thicke, Johnny Manziel are a few examples) and while slandering those who they don’t deem black enough (Tiger Woods, RG3, Chris Bosh and etc). It was black people who came up with the “racial draft”, “black card” and “hood passes”. But, then there is this outrage when a Dolphins player, who is just following the trend of society, do the same with Richie Incognito by calling him an “Honorary Black Guy”. That is hypocrisy at the highest levels.
Only Jonathan Martin, Richie Incognito and the Dolphins know what was going on in their locker room. But what is clear is that the locker room thought Martin was weird (they even nicknamed him the Big Weirdo). Why did they think he was weird? Because he was smart? Because he was sensitive? Because his personality didn’t fit what they believe a black guy should be?
I wake up each day, look in the mirror and see a black guy. I don’t have to act black, I don’t have to define my blackness and I don’t have to prove I am black enough for anyone. You can’t change the fact you are black, trust me there are enough reminders in our society that you don’t have to go out of your way to prove how black you are. I started BlackSportsOnline because you shouldn’t fear saying you are black, but to break the stereotypes of black sports online media couldn’t cover or crossover to the mainstream. Because some of those same stereotypes that exist in society, exist in media and I wanted to expose that. But, I was never going to “act” a certain way to appease any person or race.
You shouldn’t feel ashamed if you are educated, you like Seinfeld (my 3rd favorite show of all-time) or like mayonnaise on your sandwiches. You shouldn’t be ostracized because you like white women or you are a Republican. You shouldn’t be bullied because you don’t want to be called a nigger. You shouldn’t be called a cornball brother because you want to be judge as a quarterback and not a “BLACK QUARTERBACK”.
You control your life, don’t let others dictate who you should be.
Part of the problem of the black community is we are divided among ourselves because we have been brainwashed to believe we have to be act a certain way to be accepted not just by whites, but also blacks. It becomes a no-win situation and you can lose your identity in the process.
The NFL culture is a different beast. Sports in general are filled with alpha males, who are taught from an early age to dominate their opposition. Bullying in sports is accepted, if you really take time to think about it. What impresses us the most when we watch a basketball game? When something like this happens.
Aggression is rewarded, we love big hits, we get annoyed when the NFL tries to curtail taunting and celebration dances. The language you hear at games would be considered R-Rated and I am being kind. Cyber bullies are running wild and those people are celebrated on social media as they become “Twitter Famous”.
If you think what happened to Martin is unusual you would be wrong, making it public is what was unusual.
These issues go way deeper than Jonathan Martin and Richie Incognito and the seeds of ignorance was sowed way before anyone who is reading this was born.
You want to stop bullying, hazing, harassment, racism, sexism, homophobia and all the other things that hold us back as society? It starts with looking in the mirror and eliminating the ignorance and hypocrisy in your own life.