May 16, 2011 by staff
Donovan Mcnabb, Last week, the boxer Bernard Hopkins made headlines not for its fight against Jean Pascal on May 21, but his comments about NFL quarterback, Donovan McNabb. Hopkins asked blackness of McNabb, McNabb said, “He has a tan. That’s all.”
During the acclaimed documentary that tells Fab Five recruiting class of 1991 Michigan, Jalen Rose and Jimmy King spoke of how they thought all to the U.S. Grant Hill was an “Uncle Tom” when they played duke. Unlike Hopkins, Rosa and King were freshmen in college when they formed their opinions about the black of Grant Hill and have since recanted their statements are not representative of the way you see things as adults. Exposure and maturity has a way to change one’s perspective.
Some of this is just a matter of class differences that anyone can relate to. It is not unusual for whites in poor communities or working-class harbor some resentment of the white upper-middle class. People who come from blue-collar funds often refer to their white-collar counterparts as “soft.” Questioning another man’s “machismo” is a male ritual has been going on since the beginning of time. Referring to someone as a “soft” because of a perceived privileged education is just another iteration of this ritual.
Part of what Hopkins, King and Rose expressed was that they felt McNabb and Hill, respectively, are – were – “soft” because of his middle-class education. If they had used the word “smooth” to describe their feelings, probably would have gone largely unnoticed. However, its poor, but the deliberate choice to go one step further by also questioning McNabb and the blackness of Hill issued what was a very private abyss, but real, between the black poor and middle class.
Having spent the first part of my life in the slums and working class, now I understand how isolated they were from the middle-class existence in which I live today. At that time I rarely went out socially with a radius of 10 miles from my neighborhood exclusively black. When I went to other areas, mostly black. We went by bus to schools in white neighborhoods that were firmly middle class, but not necessarily welcome they’re after school.
The lack of exposure and the diversity that comes from growing up in a poor or working class black neighborhood can shape the way black people see themselves and others. If everyone you know and have access to are black and poor people what does that say to a young or immature mind about people who are black? How is one view about themselves and other people who resemble you? If we’re lucky, we grow, our world expands and into our people, how diverse they really are and ourselves. If we are unlucky, we engage in the kind of self-hatred that results in the labeling of blacks who achieve is not really black. Your logic dictates that if you speak proper English or get good grades in school, cannot be black, because only whites do.
I was 14 when I met my first true middle class, a black friend and work righteousness (nicknamed O). O and I are still friends today. His family lived in an all black community with beautiful custom homes. As expected, the mother, or was the first of the parents of my friend who once asked me what I wanted to be. I never asked why there was not even considered me.
I have to admit, because I came from a tough neighborhood, assuming that I was athletically superior to all the guys who eventually become friends in the neighborhood of O. I thought they were a bit “soft” compared to what I was accustomed. That was probably an illusion on my part. Athletic superiority was the greatest virtue of a teenager could have in my neighborhood.
I’ll tell you this. I never felt anything below an immense pride in seeing black people living in the way they lived. I never felt a hint of jealousy or envy of what their parents had achieved. The kindness, respect, inclusion, and genuine concern of the parents I was O, and other families in this neighborhood had an impact on me that is still with me today.
I never would have happened to them as “Uncle Tom” or “not as black as me,” because of its call state media. I knew from talking to them that what I was seeing was the culmination of years of hard work by parents of O and previous generations. Even more impressive, his parents were the setting for their children to continue to build from where they left off. Equally important is the proud son of hardworking parents who allowed me to see them as equals, despite their condition.
Donovan McNabb and Grant Hill are the products of large families who are representing themselves, their families and their race so that the ignorant, selfish and Bernard Hopkins will never understand. While Hopkins boxing prowess has allowed him to travel the world and achieve the wealth that he probably never thought possible, his mind apparently still lives in the secluded neighborhood that grew it in.
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