Monday, January 15, 2007

Represent

















"True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar; it comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring."

I was watching a Heat game last week and recoiled a bit at Jason Williams' nickname of White Chocolate. No one questions it by now but think for a second: how racist is that? A white person is good at an activity in which, traditionally, African-Americans have dominated, and that role in the game defines him more than anything else. What if an African-American were really good at finance or public speaking or conservative politics? (As many are.) Would it be okay to call a guy like that Chocolate Milk? I doubt that would be acceptable.

Then it occurred to me how petty and inconsequential Jason Williams' nickname is. When I think of what Martin Luther King accomplished and the real, institutionalized racism that people only a generation before me had to endure, the racial issues I examine don't matter at all. Oh, a washed-up comedian said the N-word? People used to say it on every street corner. Oh, elements of music are becoming minstrel showy? That term used to carry real weight and humiliation, not money.

Yes, racism is still alive and well. And yes, it's dangerous to idolize men the way America has Dr. King. Think for a second though about how the world has changed for the better in the past forty years. All the bullshit white people come up with on this holiday (insert any quotation by my stepdad today) seems worth it. There isn't much else I can say about King that wouldn't seem like a cliche, and that's probably a good measure of what he meant to this country and the world.

Martin Luther King- "I Have a Dream" (mp3)

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

jason williams isn't good at basketball though, the nigga doesn't even start. he's called white chocolate because of his style, not his skill. not to mention, listen to the motherfucker talk sometime. white chocolate is appropriate

it's the same stupid thing that goes into calling bill clinton the first black president. filling in stereotypes.

i totally agree with the main point of this entry though. just had to nitpick with the introduction.

MT said...

I'm not even responding to the first comment, that's like me finishing this program and relegating myself to appearances on Quite Frankly, nickname "Swirl Man".

You're right though, and I'm worried perhaps that before any more progress can be made, we'll have to see the emergence of some figure such as Dr. King rather than people simply carrying his mission further. But, that's the doomsday prophet in me. That and I miss eloquence and thoughtfullness in leaders, all Bush jokes aside, when was the last time you saw someone in a position of power that inspired awe?

Finally, I got online for Saint's tickets this morning. 5 minutes. Sold out. In my mind, there's a 10 page list of things ticketmaster can do to my taint. I'm writing it in class.

Anonymous said...

The idea behind my comment is that the jason william's nickname stems from the fact that he's has tattoos, a flamboyant style of play, and a certain way of talking. With that in mind, exactly which race does the term "white chocolate" insult.

I don't want to take away from the main point of the blog entry, but come the fuck on. Jason Williams is not excelling at basketball.

Bryan said...

Anon,

Be a man, leave your name.

Stop pretending you can think. "White Chocolate" refers to the fact that he's a white boy who can do that which is reserved for black men, whether that be basketball, or "the way he talks". It insults both whites and blacks, because it presumes that qualities are based on race.

If there is any karma in the world, your white daughters will procreate with black men.

B

Anonymous said...

Jason Williams isn't the only white basketball player and he damn sure isn't the best white basketball player.

Is it so hard to realize he has his name because he plays more like Iverson than Kevin Mchale? You won't see people calling Adam Morrison "white chocolate"

Anonymous said...

I mean, like I originally said, I'm nitpicking because whether the name "white chocolate" portrays a positive black stereotype (being good at basketball... give me a fuckin break, Williams a one time circus act)or a negative one (flamboyancy, tattoos, me-first play style) it's still inherently rooted in something we shouldn't encourage.

It just annoys me to see white people play the race card. STEVE NASH is a white man that is good at basketball, but no one looks at him and thinks "white chocolate."

MT said...

All pretentiousness aside, the way you put it in the last statement is right. The problem with what you first said:

"he's called white chocolate because of his style, not his skill. not to mention, listen to the motherfucker talk sometime. white chocolate is appropriate"

That origin still applies under what Hardness was claiming in his post even moreso. Instead of merely being applied to a trade, we're then claiming that the name works on a level of the way the guy behaves not only as a player, but as a person. That was the deal.

Back to pretentious, I'm going Derridian on the phrase "r@#e c@rd". Just a decision I felt like making.