Why is “blackness” always up for debate? Soledad O’Brien addressed the complexities of racial identity in her documentary, “Who Is Black In America?” and days later, ESPN correspondent Rob Parker came under fire for chiding Washington Redskins Quarterback Robert Griffin III (RG3) for not being black enough.

When asked about race and how it impacts his public image, RG III had this to say:

“I am an African-American in America. That will never change. But I don’t have to be defined by that. […] We always try to find similarities in life, no matter what it is so they’re going to try to put you in a box with other African-American quarterbacks – Vick, Newton, Randall Cunningham, Warren Moon […] That’s the goal. Just to go out and not try to prove anybody wrong but just let your talents speak for themselves.”

Rob Parker responded by questioning Parker’s “blackness”:

“We keep hearing this so it makes me wonder deeper about him. I’ve talked to some people in Washington D.C. My question, which is just a straight, honest question, is he a brother or is he a cornball brother. […] He’s black, but he’s not really down with the cause […] He’s kind of black, but He’s not really the guy you want to hang out with. He’s off to something else. We all know he has a white fiancee. People always talk about how he’s Republican. There’s no information at all. I’m just trying to dig deeper into why he has an issue.”

Parker’s comments define blackness by a host of arbitrary qualifiers like political affiliation and the skin color of who you choose to love. This happens too often in our communities. It’s as if there’s an imaginary list of characteristics every black person must adopt; and once you step out of that box, you’re viewed as a sellout or in Parker’s words, a “cornball brother.”

Black people are not a monolith. A man should be able to vote for the Republican party, marry outside his race and desire to be judged on his talent alone without being considered a traitor to the race and culture. Parker’s words are not only offensive to Griffin, but they limit us as a race of people with varied interests, beliefs and behaviors.

What are your thoughts on Rob Parker’s comments on Robert Griffin III, Clutchettes?

  • http://gravatar.com/jamesfrmphilly jamesfrmphilly

    cut rob some slack……he’s not that smart

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  • http://gravatar.com/missinformation7 Ms. Information

    Half of the negroes in the NFL have white fiances..lol…not gonna defend him…

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    • http://valsotherblog.wordpress.com Val

      Lol. Actually I read somewhere a while ago that the majority of married Black professional athletes are married to Black women. I think it just seems like most are with White women because several high profile athletes are.

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    • Pseudonym

      Yep! And seeing them adds fuel to the fire.

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    • http://gravatar.com/missinformation7 Ms. Information

      ooooohh….that is GOOD to know sis! They pump it like it is the thing to do….

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    • No

      I’m sorry but I am not buying that one bit but if it makes you feel better.

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    • http://gravatar.com/ravsmith78 Ravi

      The truth definitely makes me feel better. There is no basis to say that most married black players have white wives.

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    • ?

      You got a link for that?

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    • Lol

      I don’t think anyone’s cared enough to ever take a survey. Lol

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    • http://valsotherblog.wordpress.com Val

      @No

      “Among Black professional athletes, Lamar Odom, Tiger Woods, and Kobe Bryant are in the minority. Seventy-two percent marry a Black woman.” Essence Magazine

      Here’s the link; http://www.essence.com/2011/08/15/real-talk-are-you-giving-up-on-black-love/

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  • http://valsotherblog.wordpress.com Val

    This sort of thing happens in many communities other than the Black community. Most minority groups with histories of oppression deal with these sorts of issues. You should have heard the stuff Jews were saying about facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg when he married an Asian woman. It’s not just us.

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    • LALA

      The issue with Mark Zuckerberg is not analogous. In the Jewish faith, one’s status as a Jew goes through the mother, so when a Jewish man married a non-Jewish woman (and, in this case a RICH Jewish man), that represents the loss of a family from the Jewish faith b/c their children and grandchildren and great grandchildren will not be Jewish. Even the blogs about Zuckerberg and his non-Jewish wife were about how to keep Jews in the faith (and, more importantly but not explicitly stated, RICH Jews in the faith so they can hope to get some of that facebook money). This “corny brotha” nonsense does not do the same, especially since his children will be considered “black” in the USA [biting tongue to not go into anti-“USA one-drop rule” tirade].

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    • http://gravatar.com/honeybfly1980 Isis

      His children won’t be black

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    • http://valsotherblog.wordpress.com Val

      @LALA

      Are you serious? I’ve read a lot of stuff about Zuckerberg and his wife that had nothing to do with their children not being considered Jewish. I’m talking just out and out racist things coming from Jews.

      It’s amazing how many people try to make certain pathologies ‘a Black thing’ while they pretend that everyone else is just so rational.

      Here is a link that talks about the racist Jewish reaction to thier marriage;

      http://www.interfaithfamily.com/blog/iff/general/mark-zuckerberg-is-not-in-love-with-a-stereotype/

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  • Chrissy

    Wow. I am said that black people feel you are not being black when you act intelligent and marry outside of your race. I have so much respect for RG, he seems level headed. Hopefully he will not try to prove that he is down or black enough by doing something stupid (i.e. fighting pit bulls, shooting his girlfriend, getting drunk and driving, father mutilple kids with diffrent women, etc.) Lord please help our race.

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  • Britt

    If Rob Parker wants to insinuate that just because RG3 has a white fiancee, then he’s not considered black enough, then he should apply that theory to the other pro athletes who are with white women. RG3 is definitely not the first black athlete to be with a white woman and he certainly won’t be the last. Why single him out? This just shows that people will always find something to criticize you about. If they can’t criticize your career, it’ll be your personal life.

    Also, Rob Parker is from Queens, NY and went to Columbia University. He should know that black people are not monolithic.

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    • KayKay

      Maybe he took issue with RG3 speaking for his blackness like it’s his goal to “escape” it.

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    • http://gravatar.com/honeybfly1980 Isis

      Exactly!!!!

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