It is almost too much to keep up with. Over a period of roughly a week, there were three separate affronts on Black people. Let us begin with the first and most blatantly racist one. New York Post writer Phil Mushnick opined on a possible name change for the Brooklyn Nets. In addition to that he wrote that the cheerleaders should be called the “Brooklyn B–hes” While we all know this was meant to garner attention, it worked. Now the ever so enlightened Forbes magazine came to the defense of Mr. Mushnick saying that his column wasn’t racist. If the same outlet that brought us “If I were a poor Black kid” is riding to your rescue, what does that say? #MarinateOnIt
Moving right along to the second attack, which came from the respectable Chronicle of Higher Education. Last week, Naomi Riley penned a column practically saying that Black studies doesn’t deserve to exist. In this diatribe against Black studies, there were several doctoral candidates who had their work disparaged. Not on intellectual grounds, or factual ones either. Just the title of the essays. Ms. Riley read the title of these dissertations and perhaps a couple of pages, and decides that it is unworthy of being considered serious scholarship. The Black blogosphere has responded, and today the students attacked in the piece responded to what they rightly deem a hit piece.
The third and last one, is the recent New York Times article on “Why Black Women Are Fat” Yes, that is the actual title. While this piece has a Black author, it is still disparaging of Black women as a whole. Now, some of you may say how is that so? America has an obesity problem, period. To have a discussion about why one group of people are overweight separate from an account of the proliferation of cheap and processed unhealthy food is dishonest. While these three varying prongs of attack on Black personhood have different focal points, there is an underlying sentiment that ties them together. Underneath the vile statements of Mr. Mushnick against Jay-Z seem to lurk an unstated sentiment that a Black man has no business owning a basketball team. Ms. Riley takes issue with Black doctoral students studying about issues that effect the Black community. Apparently, those aren’t worthy of study in the eyes of others, possibly including whoever gave her the platform to voice this uninformed opinion. While Alice Randall is Black, some of us internalize the idea that there is something especially wrong with Black people.
Ultimately, there is little respect for Black people’s minds, bodies, or creativity. Welcome to post-racial America.
Marc W. Polite
The Blue Collar Scholar