Monday, March 21, 2011

This Jalen Rose-Grant Hill thing is still going strong. An interesting point from Ethan Strauss, a writer for ESPN:
I’m indicting my fellow white writers here. When sports spawn racial controversies, our conveyor belt churns out one of the two responses:

1. LeBarryBrondsism: “I’m mad at a black athlete and race is NOT a factor here! I know that because I’m incensed enough to speak out on this issue. Race couldn't have influenced my aggrieved opinion because then I’d feel icky, possibly guilty, maybe even introspective. Too angry for that! So don’t play any tricky 'race card' games with my head!”

2. Bunker (Grant) Hill: “This is a very, very, sensitive topic. I’m too frightened to publicly speak on the matter. Maybe I’ll say the wrong thing? Oh wow, I know what to do! I won’t take sides, and I won’t posit opinions. Instead, I’ll sagely bellow, 'These are very important issues and we need a rich debate!' The declaration will be followed by the medieval trumpet noise that kicks off all great jousts.Then, I’ll stop paying attention save for retweeting columns from pontificating black journalists.”

So, white sports writers live in a world where race is either “not a factor,” or not worth commenting on. It’s a much easier planet to navigate, no? But, the path of least resistance rarely helps anybody save for maybe the path taker.
Grant Hill was Wrong []


  1. That's just an excuse. Only the close minded will look at a negatve opinion about an athlete and think it is only a matter of race.

  2. I think both Hill and Rose are justified in their beliefs. Hill's response was eloquent of course, but perhaps he feels extra defensive b/c during his time as a young black youth, he didn't receive support from other young black youths since they couldn't relate to his life of a 2-parent middle class home that values high education.

    Rose's viewpoints during his youth likely represents the viewpoints of most young black youths unfortunately and so we cannot blame him for being honest about it. It will do the country good to not pick a right or wrong, but to start dissecting what society is still doing to perpetuate such stereotypes. Perception is a powerful thing. The ones who edited the documentary may be the most responsible in being the least socially responsible.

  3. With respect to Hill and Rose, it seems like a nice time to come after your post about identity. When a lot of this situation was taking place as kids to twenties, it’s hard to really understand your place, much less try to understand someone else's position. Even later in life it can be hard to manage. Even apart from something as large as race; you could even see it in families. There is so much tension in there, you think they could make a film about it...oh wait they did.

    When it comes to many white reporters, the situation feels like a “no man’s land” of WWI. It’s a place they don’t want to be. They write about sports, because that’s what they know. If they cared about race relations they would probably be in sociology or anthropology. If you posit something in about race, it’s because you are a sports reporter who happens to care about race. Also there probably is a feeling for most that if they do bring it up, they will be dismissed and told they have no idea what they are talking about. The best they could maybe do is to retweet some story about a black sportswriter pontificating about it, because that’s the best they can come up with for a voice for themselves that seems to hold some credibility.


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