Friday, December 14, 2012

A Cornball Brother?

Excuse me, but I need a little help from my younger, hipper friends. What exactly is a “cornball brother”?

Yesterday, some guy on ESPN named Rob Parker expressed his concerns about Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III, and whether he was REALLY black or merely a “cornball brother”. It seems that Mr. Parker has heard rumors that RGIII is a Republican, and this rumor, when added to the fact of his white fiancée adds up to a suspicion that he might not be “one of us”. This exchange was aired not on some backwoods radio talk show in Texas, but on a national broadcast of the most popular sports television network in America.

The fact that I feel compelled to come to the defense of a member of the Redskins pains me more than you could possibly know. However, when I hear this sort of thing I seriously feel like giving up, like maybe it’s time to walk away from even trying to deal with the subject of race. Why bother?

Think for a minute about what Mr. Parker is suggesting. In Robert Griffin III we have an amazingly gifted athlete, a leader of men, an accomplished student from a fine university, a man of sterling reputation who is universally respected by his peers. But the only thing that Mr. Parker can find to like about him is his braided hairstyle because, “that’s more like a real brother.”

Apparently the reason for Parker’s angst was RGIII’s answer to a question that he had been asked a day before about his race, identity and career. The troublesome answer that set Parker’s racial antenna atwitter was as follows:

For me, you never want to be defined by the color of your skin. You want to be defined by your work ethic, your character, your personality. That’s what I’ve tried to go out and do.”

So, Mr. Parker doesn’t like the fact that RGIII is trying to live out the vision of Martin Luther King.

Would Mr. Parker feel better about RGIII if he had a few arrests under his belt? Would he be more accepting if he didn’t speak with such erudition and perfect grammar? Maybe he would feel more comfortable with him if he were into dog-fighting?

RGIII is not a credit to his race. He is a credit to the human race, especially that fraction of whom play professional sports. There shouldn’t be a father alive who wouldn’t give anything if their sons turned out like Robert Griffin III. But in today’s race culture, he’s not black enough, to the point where he is called a “cornball brother” on national television.

I give up.