#TeamBlaria, instead of enjoying my vacay aka practicing the Milli Vanilli Girl, You Know It’s True dance in front of my parents’ bathroom mirror, I’m singing rage-filled holiday carols to myself like: “On the second day of Kwanzaa/Blaria sent to ESPN’s Rob Parker/two “sit your black ass down”s and a “fuck you” from the inny (aka internet).” Sure, it’s not as catchy as the orig Twelve Days of Christmas song, but it is what’s in my heart right now. So what exactly did Parker do to get me this riled up? He participated in a roundtable discussion on ESPN’s First Take about Washington Redskins rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III, better known as RG3, who stated that he doesn’t want to be defined solely by his race:
“[Is Robert Griffin III] a brother or is he a cornball brother?…Well, he’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.”
Undoubtedly, this comment and several others during the conversation made things awkward as the the white people on set probably reacted like this:
And then gave Parker a thirty day suspension while Martin Luther King, Jr. did this from his grave:
That’s right, Parker ruined MLK’s cup of dirt Folgers. But in all seriousness, not this shit again. Not this “missing the damn point of MLK’s I Have a Dream Speech” shit again. Not this “saying ill-advised and uninformed comments about race on national television” shit again. And, finally, not this “your blackness doesn’t resemble my definition of blackness, so you’re not sufficiently black enough” shit again. RG3 does not owe anyone an explanation, a dissertation, or any other “ation” so as to alleviate any “concerns” one may have about his blackness, so fuck you.
Look, I’m sure Parker isn’t alone in his opinion about the phenom quarterback, so let’s take a look at the man whose blackness is in question:
RG3 is a 6’2″, 223 lb man, with skin the color dark brown that wouldn’t be out of place in a Bob Ross painting. He is the son of two black parents, who were U.S. Army sergeants. He’s playing football during what is arguably the best time to play the sport as the race of players appears, in certain ways, to matter less and less off and on the field. The Pittsburgh Steelers’ strong safety Troy Polamalu is Samoan and is in multiple national TV commercials; something we probably wouldn’t have seen fifty years ago. The fact that no one cares that Dallas Cowboys QB, Tony Romo, is Mexican is a good sign that we are headed in the right direction when it comes to race and football, except for the position of black quarterback. Seriously, “black quarterback” seems to be its own subsection under Quarterback, which is typically thought of a position for white players even though over 65% of all college QBs are African-American. That percentage significantly drops by the time we get to the NFL, so whether due to race obsession or ignorance, current and former NFLs QBs like Cam Newton, Warren Moon, Kordell Stewart and many others constantly have the adjective “black” wedged into conversation like when I’d jam my size 8 feet into a 7 1/2 shoes because those high heels were on sale. I mean, rarely, if ever, is Romo’s ethnicity mentioned by commentators during his games. Perhaps that’s because Romo looks white. Well, that is not RG3′s situation. And because it’s not, people will endlessly ask and re-ask him about his race as they did during a post-practice new conference. RG3, in response to a question about MLK, said:
“For me, you don’t ever want to be defined by the color of your skin. You want to be defined by your work ethic, the person that you are, your character, your personality. That’s what I’ve tried to go out and do. I am an African-American in America. That will never change. But I don’t have to be defined by that.”
Damn, y’all! That’s the kind of shit that you wanna hear during the Q&A portion of Miss Universe. Nice, succinct, and with a positive message. So while most of us were probably like, “PREACH!,” Parker decided to do the verbal equivalent of pulling off a pair of earrings by saying that “down at the barbershop,” which is code for “real” black dudes, RG3 is considered soft because his fiancée is white, but Parker was quick to say that RG3 is kind of brother-ish because he wears braids: “That’s very urban. Wearing braids is…you’re a brother.” Oh, right! Because we all know that MLK’s totes meant to amend his I Have a Dream speech with, “but for real, for real, y’all, let’s put this dream shit on pause and have a moment of #realtalk. If that nigga got braids, then he’s really black, but if he dates snowflakes, then he’s like that dude on The Big Bang Theory. No, not that dude who was also on David on Roseanne. The other white dude. Sheldon. Yeah. Don’t ask me how I know about The Big Bang Theory. I just know. Peace.”
All kidding aside, at what point is this nonsense going to stop? When are people going to quit trying to keep score about what is a “white” thing to do or what is a “black” thing to do? Not once did Parker say that RG3′s intelligent manner of speaking is “black” or that the way he carries himself with poise and grace is “black.” No, instead it’s because he wears braids, which is fine because, okay, there are plenty of black people who wear braids; however, there are also plenty who don’t wear braids. There are plenty of black people who are intelligent, who behave like upstanding citizens and people like Parker, whether it’s subconscious or not, do not equate such positive and wonderful characteristics and behaviors with being black. And in my eyes, that kind of self-hate is what needs to be under scrutiny not that RG3 isn’t going around, screaming, “IT’S BLACK PEOPLE TIME!” and then doing this:
There needs to come a point where certain black people stop trying to see if others’ measures up to arbitrary standards of blackness that were created by white and black people. And stop calling some blacks “Uncle Tom”s on the down low because how they’re doing blackness isn’t how others are doing it. And stop thinking that it’s fine to spew such negativity and self-hatred towards each other and then be surprised if a white person decides to join in on the fun. I mean, Don Imus is an asshole for saying “nappy headed hoes,” but Parker is cool for acting as if RG3 is suspicious because his future wife is white? It’s all a screwed up way of thinking, no matter whose mouth is spewing such vile, but guess what? If black people keep clowning RG3 for his supposed lack of “blackness,” then certain white people aren’t going to hesitate for a moment and will go, “Hey, if y’all are saying it, then I’m going to as well!” So we must we lead by example. And it’s about time we set a better example. And we can start by saying, “Parker, you’re just as bad as the white commentators who qualify RG3′s as a black quarterback whenever they are discussing his achievements, so fuck you.”
Yes, fuck you, Rob Parker, on the second, third, fourth, and fifth day of Kwanzaa. I mean, the sixth day of Kwanz is New Year’s Eve, so obvs, I don’t have time to be cussing bitches out about complicated issues such as race when I gotta squeeze my tush into my NYE dress after spending this past week gorging macaroons. #Priorities. Anyway, fuck you on the second day of Kwanzaa for saying such dumb ass shit on national television and thinking that people were going to co-sign like it was a quality FHA loan. Fuck you on the third day of Kwanzaa for not celebrating black people who refuse to be defined by stereotypes. For not being happy and proud that black people are more than the stereotypes that society has labeled us with. And for maybe for thinking or believing, even if it’s just a little bit, that black people are no more than their stereotypes. Fuck you on the fourth day of Kwanzaa for not understanding that yes, you and I may be black, but we are human beings first and if you don’t get that, then you are part of the problem. And fuck you on the fifth day of Kwanzaa for thinking that you are the judge, jury, and executioner on what it means to be black and how to be black. You’re not. You’re just a human being. And so is RG3. And so am I. Above everything else, we are human beings. Above RG3′s braided course hair, above my indignation at your ignorance, above your ill-conceived notions of what is whiteness and blackness, above the color of e’erybody’s skin. We are human beings.