On the bright side, this is slightly less distasteful than Big Sexy comparing himself to Rosa Parks. Newsday’s Neil Best observes the ongoing controversy surrounding Jason Whitlock’s coverage of All-Star Weekend and critique of “the Black KKK”.
“I don’t know if I’m trying to get people stirred up with this issue as much as I am trying to initiate a dialogue in the black community about a real problem,” Whitlock said. “Some things we’ve come to accept as normal are just unacceptable.”
That is provocative stuff, and predictably has caused Whitlock grief, particularly from black readers who have called him “a sellout” and worse.
At least he has leeway to explore such subjects as a black journalist, something a white columnist could not have done. Right?
Oops. Turns out that assumption is one of his pet peeves. Whitlock cited his columnist role model, the late Mike Royko, who was white.
“He’d write whatever the hell he wanted whenever the hell he wanted about anybody,” Whitlock said. “I’ve clearly established I’m going to address racial issues whenever I feel like it.”
As usual, Whitlock is unapologetic, as in this response to those who are unhappy with him for allegedly furthering stereotypes in his columns.
“How come no one says, ‘Hey, these guys putting out their ignorant-ass videos and this music, they are confirming every stereotype white racists might have?'” he said.
“And they’re doing it on a much bigger scale than I am.”
(UPDATE : The Philadelphia Inquirer’s David Aldridge weighed in on the matter in Sunday’s paper, and he’s got a thing or two to say about tarring an entire group with the same brush.
Let’s get real: “gangbangers” is code for young black men. Many writers have twisted themselves into pretzels saying they weren’t talking about race when they described their fears, but it is hard to recall reading such angst about drunk and menacing white people at Mardi Gras or in Fort Lauderdale during spring break.
I wish more young black men weren’t so seduced by the worst of hip-hop culture: the misogyny, the glamorization of selling drugs and drinking, the indifference to formal education. I wish VH1 could find better depictions of black life than crackhead singers and illiterate sex-crazed fools. But I don’t know – and neither do any of the writers and bloggers – if a group of young black man approaching in cornrows and baggy jeans are thieves or pre-med students at Penn.
To assume either possibility is to be prejudiced. Period.