Cable programming today often seems to cater to race-baiting or race-loaded interviews from the left. Whether it is Toure challenging the ability of white journalists to understand the Martin murder or anchors questioning the “blackness” of African-American Republicans, it has become weirdly acceptable to discuss the “blackness” of celebrities. Now ESPN allowed a panelist to explore the blackness of Redskin quarterback Robert Griffin III with columnist and ESPN analyst Rob Parker insisting, “my question, which is just a straight honest question, is [Griffin] a brother, or is he a cornball brother?” Parker then brought up that Griffin has a white fiancée and could be a Republican as raising such troubling questions of blackness. The anchor then followed up with another African American panelist who wisely demurred at the question.
While I am a Bears fan, I have a great deal of respect for Robert Griffin III. That respect goes beyond is amazing athletic abilities. I have a number of friends who have run into Griffin with their kids. On every occasion, Griffin was an incredible gentleman and role model. In one case, my friend and her young son were at a swimming pool at a hotel when Griffin and his fiancée appeared. Griffin proceeded to spend 15 minutes throwing a ball with her son who was about to burst with excitement. He is, to put it simply, clearly a good man and not just a great football player.
Parker was entirely comfortable holding forth on what constitutes genuine blackness. He explains that “I keep hearing these things. We all know he has a white fiancée. There was all this talk about he’s a Republican.”here is the exchange:
Rob Parker: “But my question, which is just a straight, honest question, is: Is he a brother or is he a cornball brother?”
Cari Champion: “What does that mean?”
Skip Bayless: “Explain that.”
Parker: “He’s not real. OK, he’s black, he kind of does the 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, like, the guy you want to hang out with because he’s off to something else.
Champion: “Why is that your question?”
Parker: “Well because that’s just how I want to find out about him. I don’t know because I keep hearing these things. We all know he has a white fiancée. There was all this talk about how he’s a Republican, which, I don’t really care, there’s no information at all. I’m just trying to dig deeper into why he has an issue. Because we did find out with Tiger Woods. Tiger Woods was like, I’ve got black skin but don’t call me black.”
While ESPN deals with the backlash and expresses concern, this is a problem across the cable news system where networks routinely get a “black perspective” from commentators and reporters who raise “questions” about the blackness of celebrities and politicians.
In this case, Parker’s concern is heightened by the race of Griffin’s fiancée and that fact that he might be a Republican while adding that of course “there’s no information [about that] at all. I’m just trying to dig deeper as to why he has an issue.” The “issue” appears to be a black man who would vote Republican.
Source: USA Today