Not Tavis, Not Reverends Al or Jesse, but a sports reporter out of Kansas City will lead Black folk to the promised land.
Or, at the very least, save us from rap music.
At face value, Jason Whitlock appears to be a very intelligent, thoughtful, and charismatic individual genuinely concerned with the Black American crisis. His platform for reaching the masses has not been through protest or pulpit, but through the sports pages. From playoffs to unwanted pregnancy, lewd touchdown celebrations to lewd rap lyrics, Whitlock had it pretty much covered.
But even ‘Big Sexy’ can get ugly.
For a while now, Whitlock has a had a running feud with Hip-Hop culture, particularly its music. He has referred to rappers as thugs, coons, and bojanglers on a regular basis, and has even gone far enough to refer to specific rap artists as “the Black KKK.” Now he’s set his sights on the Don Imus situation, and the heavy involvement of Rev. Al Sharpton and Rev. Jesse Jackson.
In a recent interview on MSNBC, Whitlock referred to Sharpton and Jackson as “terrorists,” and accused them of “starting fires and creating divisiveness” with their involvement in this incident, and in the Duke lacrosse scandal. Not an outrageous claim in the least bit, but from a man who was fired from ESPN after criticizing a fellow African-American broadcaster in Michael Irvin, and an African-American sportswriter in Scoop Jackson, well, you know what they say about kettles and that pesky color-complex they can have.
Whitlock has made a career on analyzing, dissecting and elaborating on points that go against the general consensus. Anyone can be a contrarian, but it takes a special talent to make a living off of it. Now its putting him at the national forefront as a leading voice on America’s Racial Problem. While Jason Whitlock is a master at eliciting thought and emotion at the same time, what he has not mastered is giving considerable thought to his own arguments, particularly in regards to the hip-hop culture and the generations living in it.
Much of Whitlock’s angst against Hip-Hop is that there is little to no responsibility in its misogynistic and violent lyrics. Bitches and hoes, gatts and blow, that all a young brother knows in the African-American community, according to Whitlock. Single moms, delinquent dads? Yep, that’s hip-hop’s fault. More Black men in jail than in college? Yeah, mixtapes have been known to have an adverse affect on decision making and SAT preparation.
But what about the deeper lying aspects of these problems? They don’t call pimping and hoeing the world’s oldest profession for nothing. Materialism and greed? Mostly American ideals that our folks just happened to pick up when we didn’t have much else going for us between slavery and Ronald Reagan. Broken households, a lack of value on education and a reliance on crime? Institutionalized for much longer than it hasn’t been. Surely no one can expect hundreds of years to be undone with less than 50 years of “equal rights.”
Or maybe we’re supposed to.
While Whitlock’s perspective is easily understood, and can even draw a certain level of acceptance, it’s completely unfounded, and he’s smart enough to know that. In his position, with his level of experience, I’m sure he knows that he’s vainly rallying against symptoms, and not actual problems. As a football aficionado, I’m quite certain he wouldn’t look at a quarterback with a broken wrist throwing interceptions, and say he’s unable to read coverages. So why is it so simple to assign blame of the crisis of our culture to one singular aspect? Oh, I know, because it comes on TV and makes millions of dollars.
Something I’m sure Whitlock wouldn’t mind doing.
Could you really blame Whitlock if he found a path to getting some of that action, particularly if the folks mostly interested in his views are nervous, conservative White folks willing to pay him to keep it up? Interestingly enough, rappers and coons have probably made more money off shucking and jiving and have fed more folks through their buffooning then he ever will criticizing them.
Let’s face it, Whitlock is capitalizing off this moment in the sun like no other. I’m not saying his views are totally wrong, I’m as conservative a brother as there is for someone who uses the term “n*gga,” and listens to rap music. But I’m smart enough to know that in the blame game, nobody wins. I’m not making excuses for hip-hop and the problems that it has with denigrating women, worshiping material acquisition and celebrating violence. But if Italians don’t have to worry about Tony Soprano representing them, and Jewish brothers and sisters don’t have to worry about Larry David representing them, I’m not tripping off anyone who looks at me and hears “Straight Outta Compton” in their minds.
I respect Jason Whitlock’s attempt at trying to help our people. He deserves attention because, in a distinct and peculiar way, he’s just trying to help. Still, you wouldn’t walk up to a screaming child and call it a Sambo for being so loud. The problems he is addressing as the ills of the Black community are symptomatic of a true American crisis, and his brash and undeveloped approach to discussing it makes him as big a terrorist as Rev. Al.
A big, media-sexy terrorist.