Controversy and Rob Parker are no strangers to one another.
The racially-charged comments by ESPN’s now-suspended commentator concerning Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III‘s (RG3’s) “blackness” raise, yet again (sigh), the decades-old question of why is it that blacks like Parker have the expectation that blacks like Griffin are supposed, if not obligated, to think, act, and conduct themselves in a certain manner simply and only because they are black?
As a bloc, blacks are the only ethnic group in America that consistently ascribes to this cookie-cutter ethos – and we do so of our own volition – not some external coercion or force (other than family tradition, perhaps).
Parker is merely the latest in a long history of tangible examples of a prevailing mindset among black liberals, the genesis of which can be traced to the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s but, more recently, has been heavily influenced by black liberation theology, particularly as it is espoused by some of its more radical proponents, like Jeremiah Wright, with its obsessive emphasis on racial identity, as the overarching factor in determining whether or not a black person is “legitimately” black.
It’s like holding cheerleader auditions for racists.
This “race test” is only one of multiple tollgates a “black” person must navigate in order to pass “Go” and collect his 200 dollars. Or, as Wright would no doubt put it, his long-overdue 40 acres and a mule.
In their benevolence, condescending as it is, once you’ve been so blessed by blacks like Parker as to advance beyond the skin color “eye test” round, you are then put through to the second-round where your “ideological identity” is evaluated and affirmed (or not). In this stage, your political, theological, social and cultural perspectives must all must fall in line with black elitists like Parker, and those of his ilk who, with only the best interests of their race in mind, of course, have taken it upon themselves to establish for the rest of us an ethnic framework for what it means to be “truly” black; a template which is formulated within a social-justice construct which dictates that a black person can be legitimately black only if he or she has been directly involved in or have an affinity for “the struggle“, a label used frequently by black social liberals like Parker as code for the economic plight of blacks in America, brought on, of course, by the oppression of blacks by racist, colonial white Europeans from as far back as when the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock in 1620.
Sound familiar? It should, because there’s another well-known black man not named Robert Griffin III but who, like him, also resides in Washington D.C. and espouses the same anti-colonialist worldview as Parker.
But, I digress…
There is a strange irony in that the zealotry that Parker so proudly exhibits in calling out Griffin III on the basis of his aesthetic blackness, seems less apparent as it relates to his athletic blackness, which is an historical apothegm applied to blacks who can run fast and jump high, is it not? So, in that context, Parker seems quite convinced that Griffin is, in fact, black.
This question of “blackness” is one which black conservatives, like myself, have had to deal with for years. Being referred to as “cornball brother”, “Uncle Tom” and “sellout”, are common occurrences for us. We are used to this kind of idiocy from myopic, plantation-minded racists like Parker. Nevertheless, it is no less disheartening that blacks who are of a more liberal or progressive view continue to partition conservative blacks outside of the mainstream of “black America”, and for no other reason than that we’ve chosen to exercise the ideological and political freedom and independence for which our ancestors sacrificed so much.
This freedom was an all-encompassing deliverance from every form of slavery – physical and ideological. The Emancipation Proclamation was not limited to only the uninhibited goings and comings of blacks across county or state lines, it encompassed the free and universal exchange of ideas, perspectives and philosophies, regardless of the degree to which they might differ from one another. And yet, the philosophy that is black liberalism demands that “certain” blacks surrender their ideological individualism in exchange for a monolithic, race-based paradigm that is centered on hate, anger and revenge.
That Rob Parker holds to this “black like me” perspective places him in the same category as the slaveholders of the 1860s who, because they were black, expected their “property” to behave in such a way as they were programmed to behave. Or, as Frederick Douglass rightly stated, “Slaves are generally expected to sing as well as work.” When you think about it, this “singing” of which Douglass speaks is exactly what Parker is demanding of Robert Griffin III. The only difference is Parker’s “song” is not the sound of old Negro spirituals sung in the heat of the day while picking cotton on some plantation somewhere, but an entire life lived in accordance with Parker’s subjective definition of what it means for Griffin III to be “down” (black).
Simply put, blacks like Rob Parker are no different from Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson or the tens of millions of other black liberals in America who mirror the exact same mindset – just another angry black person who has bought into the lie that America favors only those who are white and rich, and that commonality of skin color should equate to commonality in every other aspect of life – which is yet another reason why I despise the term “black community”, because having my race in common with you is of absolutely no importance to me when you and I aren’t even on the same page spiritually, theologically or philosophically.
It is laughable to me that people like Parker continue to exalt their race as being such a significant factor in their human existence, when he had absolutely nothing to do with being black in the first place.
“But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” – 1 Samuel 16:7 (NASB)
Though I wholeheartedly applaud ESPN for disciplining Rob Parker, unless his heart is somehow exposed to and, consequently, regenerated by the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, when he returns from his suspension he will do so no doubt as an apologetic and contrite racist, but still a racist nonetheless.