I was pretty sure Robert Griffin III was an African American. Come to find out, he’s not. Oh, he might look the part, and he might have African-American parents and grandparents. But none of that counts. That just makes him ostensibly, not authentically, black.
What counts, according to ESPN analyst Rob Parker, the self-appointed genuine article of American blackness, is whether or not Griffin is “down with the cause.” If he’s not, Parker says, then “he’s not one of us.” To Parker, Griffin can’t be “down with the cause” because he went to Baylor, a Baptist university; he has a white fiancée; and he might have voted Republican. To Parker, that makes Griffin “a cornball brother.” You know, “kind of black,” in Parkerspeak.
If Parker is right, then real blackness comes from immersing oneself in leftist group think, from marrying only racially suitable women, and from going to racially suitable colleges, which sounds very familiar. It used to be that racists were known by the way they insisted on black men marrying only suitable black women. It used to be that black men, if they went to college at all, had to go to approved colleges. Folks who talked like that worked for the KKK. Now they work for ESPN. How the voice of the KKK became the measure of authentic blackness I do not know.
Racists like Parker don’t get it. They don’t recognize or value the heroic example of folks like Griffin, who acquire an impressive skill set, who get a good education, who accomplish great things, who serve God faithfully, and who fall in love with, and win the heart of, the woman of their dreams. That’s an example, that’s a cause, any young American, of whatever ethnic or racial background, will find inspiring and instructive.
Apparently none of that registers with Parker, who thinks that real blackness is a political orientation.
If it is, then our first black president wasn’t Barack Obama. It was Bill Clinton.