‘What description can I find for this generation? It is like children shouting to each other as they sit in the market place:
“We played the pipes for you, and you wouldn’t dance;
we sang dirges, and you wouldn’t be mourners.”
‘For John came, neither eating nor drinking, and they say, “He is possessed.” The Son of Man came, eating and drinking, and they say, “Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.” Yet wisdom has been proved right by her actions.’
-- Matthew 11:16 - 19
Foolishness. This morning one of the first things I read was Rob Parker's statement that the Washington Redskins quarterback, Robert Griffin III (better known as RGIII), is "not one of us."
“Is he a brother, or is he a cornball brother?” Parker wondered. “"He's not real. Okay, he's black, he kind of does the 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, like, the guy you want to hang out with because he's off to something else. We all know he has a white fiancee. There was all this talk about how he's a Republican ... Tiger Woods was like, 'I've got black skin but don't call me black.'"
Parker's comments come from RGII's statements when asked about race - which is a stupid question. RGIII showed great intelligence, saying:
“Whenever you can relate to the population of the team that you play for, I think it makes it that much more special,” Griffin said. “I don’t play too much into the color game, because I don’t want to be the best African American quarterback, I want to be the best quarterback.
“But to the fans, and to the fans who think that way and look at me as an African American, it’s important that I succeed, not only for this team, but for them,” he continued. “Because it gives them that motivation, that hey, you know, an African American went out and played quarterback for my Washington Redskins. So I appreciate that; I don’t ever downplay anything like that. Whoever I can go out every week and motivate to do better and to try to go after their dreams, I’m up for that.”
“I am [aware] of how race is relevant to [some fans]. I don’t ignore it,” Griffin said Wednesday. “I try not to be defined by it, but I understand different perspectives and how people view different things. So I understand they’re excited their quarterback is an African American. I play with a lot of pride, a lot of character, a lot of heart. So I understand that, and I appreciate them for being fans.”
And . . .
“For me, you don’t ever want to be defined by the color of your skin,” Griffin said. “You want to be defined by your work ethic, the person that you are, your character, your personality. That’s what I strive [for]. I am an African American, in America, and that will never change. But I don’t have to be defined by that.”
|Robert Griffin III|
“Now that’s different,” Parker said. “To me, that’s very urban and makes you feel like…wearing braids, you’re a brother. You’re a brother if you’ve got braids on.”
So Parker can reduce RGIII's "Blackness" to his choice of hair style. I suppose by following Parker's logic, someone like Michael Vick is really a "brother" for dog fighting and doing time for that.
They played the pipes for you, RGIII, but you wouldn't dance - you were asked about race and your statements, which echo the sentiments of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. - were not a valid answer. Your race must be your defining and absolute factor, just as others choose to define solely themselves by ethnicity, sexual orientation, or gender. Media types like Rob Parker are to shallow to grasp anything beyond a one-dimensional figure - do not confuse them with wisdom, lest they turn on you and call you "possessed," a "glutton," a "drunkard," or "cornball brother."
Parker owes RGIII an apology. ESPN owes RGIII an apology as well - and a pink slip for Parker.