Wednesday, April 26, 2006

One More Post About Race, Then I'll Shut Up (Maybe)

Some excerpts from Rick Telander's column in today's Chicago Sun-Times:

" was with distress that I read Dwyane Wade's comment about teammate Udonis Haslem's tossing of his mouthguard at a ref in Game 2 of the Bulls-Heat series.

'I don't think he would do nothing like that intentionally,' Wade said.

The sentiment's fine.

I mean the grammar.

The double negative, harmless as it seems -- maybe used for effect, maybe not -- connected in my mind for an instant the depressing bridge between the tenuous, alluring fame of black male stars in professional sports and the reality of the failing young black male in American society.

...getting smart is too often ridiculed by black youths as 'acting white.'

Dwyane Wade always has seemed like a good sort, and his heart and talent are unquestioned.

But I can't help wondering about the message he and his peers give to scholastically impoverished kids, simply by doing things as apparently inconsequential as speaking incorrectly."

An open letter to Rick Telander:

Dear Rick,
You're a fucking asshole. How many columns have you done about Dwyane Wade donating money to his old high school here in Chicago, Richards High? What about the scoreboard he bought for the school? What about all of the other things he does for the community that I don't know about but you could easily discover if you felt like doing some actual Goddamn journalism? What about the fact that he married the mother of his children while in college at Marquette University and is one of very few sports superstars of any color under the age of 25 raising a family as a married man? What about his complete lack of a criminal record, or lack of embarrassing acts on or off the court, or lack of arrogance when dealing with the public, or lack of the potty mouth owned by people like me? This man is as much of a positive role model as arguably any other black athlete alive today. What the fuck would motivate you to tear him down because he used a double negative in an interview? What is your fucking problem?? Pretend for one second that you had never ran a positive column about Cal Ripken, Jr., and then when you finally decide to address him, it's to rip him because you saw him spit on the field. You would never do that, would you? Neither you nor any one of your white colleagues would EVER look at a white star athlete with a reputation as a great guy and say, "Boy, this guy did something small that showed his imperfections...I need to crucify him in my column for that." It would never happen. But you have no qualms doing that to Dwyane Wade. He's not one of you, so it's no big deal. You may not think you have anything in common with James Earl Ray or the lynchers in the South from the early and mid 1900s, Rick, but since you want to compare Wade using a double negative to the "failing young black male in American society," whatever that means, I'll compare you to the coward racists of the past: You can't see a good, hardworking, successful black person as just a person because that would mean true equality, which scares the shit out of you. So, just like Ray and the lynchers, you find a weakness in that strong black person and attack it, and you keep telling yourself that it's right and it's necessary because the blacks deserve it. You're a piece of shit, your column is birdcage liner, and you have no balls if you haven't taken this sentiment you feel right to Wade's face and confronted him with it, but I'm guessing you haven't because you know how ignorant it is.

And who are these black youths you hang around who think that getting smart is "acting white?" Because that sounds suspiciously like a stereotype with no actual basis, spewed not by anyone you've actually heard but by the voices in your little head.

In closing: Fuck off.


GrizzBabe said...

I think you should copy this post, paste it in an email and send it to Mr. Telander.

You're right, Dwayne Wade is one of the good guys and doesn't deserve this criticism. That being said, this is another example of why we, as a people, have to learn when to use the King's English and when to pull out our ebonics. Black people are judged by the way they talk much, much more so than white people. It's highly unfair but that is the society we live in and until it changes, we are forced to play by the rules.

Dre said...

You read my mind, GrizzBabe. I did copy and paste this post last night and e-mail it to the paper's inbox, re: Telander's Coulmn 4/26. To not do so would have made me as big of a coward as Telander for not having the cajones to say some bullshit like this to Wade's face, which I guarantee he wouldn't do. And I agree that blacks are criticized for their grammar skillz much more than whites, but I guess I don't think much of it because if blacks spoke perfect English, whites would find something else to pick on until we became a clone of them and finally stopped being so damn different. So it's not really the issue to me.

Anonymous said...

You talk about langauge? If that isn't the pot calling the kettle black! What is a cajone? Thanks.

Is that Italian slang?

Dre said...

Spanish for "testicular fortitude." And thank you for your comments.