When President Obama won a historic victory in 2008 and rode to the White House garnering more than 90-percent of the black vote, many wrote off African Americans’ overwhelming support of President Obama as just a black thing.

Despite many being proud to see the first African American man in the nation’s highest office, voting Democrat isn’t new for black folks and President Obama enjoyed the same support most Dems receive. But many, especially Obama’s detractors, chalked it up to folks voting along racial lines and supporting the President because he is black.

But was it?

Recently, sports commentator Skip Bayless waded into the racial waters when he said that he hoped promising rookie Quarterback Robert Griffin III would get a fair shake by Washington Redskin fans despite being a black man playing for a team whose fans are majority white.

Black QBs in the league have faced an uphill battle for years. In the past many teams were slow to give black quarterbacks a chance, often times funneling them into other positions on the field. Quarterbacks have always been seen as “smart” and able to handle the ever-changing conditions on the field, and it was once thought that black men didn’t possess the mental fortitude to handle such a job. Sadly, much of that sentiment still carries over to today. Black QBs are often touted for their speed, agility, and athleticism, not their on-the-field intelligence and critical thinking skills. But does race really matter to fans?

Bayless thinks so. After Griffin, the reining Heisman Trophy winner, turned in a lackluster preseason performance, Bayless—who has been critical of the Redskins for drafting backup QB Kirk Cousins, who is white—said that he hoped Redskin fans wouldn’t turn on Griffin and “root for the white guy,” Cousins, instead.

“I’m going to throw it out there. You also have the black-white dynamic and the majority of Redskins fans are white. And it’s just human nature, if you’re white to root for the white guy,” Bayless argued. “It just happens in sports. Just like the black community will root for the black quarterback. I’m for the black guy. I’m just saying, I don’t like the dynamic for RG3. It could stunt his growth in the NFL.”

While Bayless’ comments may not be PC, they got me to thinking. Is there something inside of us that makes us root for those who share our same skin tone?

I think back to the Olympics and the overwhelming pride most of us felt watching Gabby Douglas go for gold. While it certainly was a great win for team U.S.A., it also made the hearts of black folks swell to see Douglas make history. I wonder if we would have been so pro-U.S.A. had Aly Raisman been standing atop that podium instead.

What do you think…when all things are even, do we tend to root for people who share our race or ethnicity? Speak on it! 

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  • …and I would never support Clarence Thomas or Condolizza Rice if they would have ran for that matter. It’s mostly rooting for the historically disadvantaged

  • S.

    How can you even seriously ask this question given our history?

    Maybe, if White people weren’t such a$$h*les to people of color from the start, we wouldn’t feel the need to cheer people on because they share the same skin color

    I understand why disenfranchised American “minorities” root for people who look like them and other minorities but why don’t overly-privileged White Americans root for the underdog? Because they are greedy and self-centered narcissists who have internalized racism

    But we’ve internalized racism too but it’s had the opposite effect. More often than not, we tend to root for the “white guy” or the “white girl”. It happens subconsciously mostly. We have, almost, a knee-jerk desire to see the White person do well and “win”. Doesn’t matter how many times or how harshly White people have screwed us over, we just can’t seem to dislike them fully

    I see this fascination with White people too often in the Black community to fully agree with Skip Bayless. Let’s be honest… White people are unashamedly and unnaturally biased toward themselves and history has show that their bias is often dangerous

  • Egypt

    I think rooting for people of your own race is a natural response, especially considering the long history of discrimination among people of color.

    It’s nothing wrong with being proud of your own people. But I agree I can totally see where this may cause concern, especially when there’s black-white dynamic. I think it depends on the intention.