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Rob Parker on RGIII’s blackness
Dec-13-2012 1499 0


Robert Griffin III has been asked about his race repeatedly this season. He has not, to my knowledge, ever brought the subject up himself. Every time he’s been asked about it, he has managed to appear thoughtful and considerate without possibly offending anyone.

I’m not sure he’s ever handled the race question better than on last week’s Comcast SportsNet special, when Chick Hernandez talked about being a black quarterback in D.C.

“Whenever you can relate to the population of the team that you play for, I think it makes it that much more special,” Griffin said. “I don’t play too much into the color game, because I don’t want to be the best African American quarterback, I want to be the best quarterback.

“But to the fans, and to the fans who think that way and look at me as an African American, it’s important that I succeed, not only for this team, but for them,” he continued. “Because it gives them that motivation, that hey, you know, an African American went out and played quarterback for my Washington Redskins. So I appreciate that; I don’t ever downplay anything like that. Whoever I can go out every week and motivate to do better and to try to go after their dreams, I’m up for that.”

Again, I don’t know how he could possibly have handled that issue — which he did not raise himself — any better.

But people keep asking. The rookie was asked about race yet again on Wednesday, this time by an ESPN reporter. He delivered a similar answer. It was an answer that showed he’s actually thought about the issue, but it was steadfastly non-controversial.

“I am [aware] of how race is relevant to [some fans]. I don’t ignore it,” Griffin said Wednesday. “I try not to be defined by it, but I understand different perspectives and how people view different things. So I understand they’re excited their quarterback is an African American. I play with a lot of pride, a lot of character, a lot of heart. So I understand that, and I appreciate them for being fans.”

Well. This led to a Thursday discussion on First Take, ESPN’s abysmal debate program. Panelist Rob Parker was asked, ‘What does this say about RGIII?”

“This is an interesting topic,” Parker said. “For me, personally, just me, this throws up a red flag, what I keep hearing. And I don’t know who’s asking the questions, but we’ve heard a couple of times now of a black guy kind of distancing himself away from black people.

“I understand the whole story of I just want to be the best,” Parker continued. “Nobody’s out on the field saying to themselves, I want to be the best black quarterback. You’re just playing football, right? You want to be the best, you want to throw the most touchdowns and have the most yards and win the most games. Nobody is [thinking] that.

“But time and time we keep hearing this, so it just makes me wonder deeper about him,” Parker went on. “And I’ve talked to some people down in Washington D.C., friends of mine, who are around and at some of the press conferences, people I’ve known for a long time. But my question, which is just a straight honest question. Is he a brother, or is he a cornball brother?”

What does that mean, Parker was asked.

“Well, [that] he’s black, he kind of does his thing, but he’s not really down with the cause, he’s not one of us,” Parker explained. “He’s kind of black, but he’s not really the guy you’d really want to hang out with, because he’s off to do something else.”

Why is that your question, Parker was asked.

“Well, because I want to find out about him,” Parker said. “I don’t know, because I keep hearing these things. We all know he has a white fiancée. There was all this talk about he’s a Republican, which, there’s no information [about that] at all. I’m just trying to dig deeper as to why he has an issue. Because we did find out with Tiger Woods, Tiger Woods was like I’ve got black skin but don’t call me black. So people got to wondering about Tiger Woods early on.”

Then Skip Bayless asked Parker about RGIII’s braids.

“Now that’s different,” Parker said. “To me, that’s very urban and makes you feel like…wearing braids, you’re a brother. You’re a brother if you’ve got braids on.”

Then Stephen A. Smith was asked for his take. He exhaled deeply.

“Well first of all let me say this: I’m uncomfortable with where we just went,” Smith said. “RGIII, the ethnicity, the color of his fiancée is none of our business. It’s irrelevant. He can live his life any way he chooses. The braids that he has in his hair, that’s his business, that’s his life. I don’t judge someone’s blackness based on those kind of things. I just don’t do that. I’m not that kind of guy.

“What I would say to you is that the comments he made are fairly predictable,” Smith went on. “I think it’s something that he may feel, but it’s also a concerted effort to appease the masses to some degree, which I’m finding relatively irritating, because I don’t believe that the black athlete has any responsibility whatsoever to have to do such things.

“Let me say this clearly. I don’t know of anybody who goes into something trying to be the best black anything. We understand that. That’s a given,” Smith said. “But I do think it’s important to acknowledge a level of pride and a feeling of a level of accomplishment for being somebody who happens to be of African American descent, who competes and achieves and accomplishes things on the highest level while also bringing attention – to some degree anyhow – to the pride that they feel being black. Because they’re allowing themselves to be a reminder to those who preceded them, who worked so hard, accomplished and achieved so much, but were denied the accolades that that individual is receiving.”

Later, Parker was given an opportunity to clarify whether he was judging Griffin’s blackness.

“I didn’t mean it like that,” he said. “We could sit here and be honest, or we can be dishonest. And you can’t tell me that people in the barbershops or people that talk, they look at who your spouse is. They do. And they look at how you present yourself. People will say all the time, you’re not gonna get a job in corporate America wearing those braids. It happens all the time. Let’s not act like it doesn’t, because it does.”

The only conclusion I’m willing to make about all of this is that the show would have been much more thoughtful had Griffin been on the panel. Or had he replaced the panel.


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The task force used different data sources and methodologies than the national study, set to be published in the September issue of Obstetrics and Gynecology, which caused differences between the findings.

The task force studied case files of women who died within a year of the end of their pregnancies, while the national study limited its scope to the World Health Organization's definition of maternal death, which is death during a pregnancy or up to 42 days after due to causes related to pregnancy.

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President Barack Obama is in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on Tuesday and is touring the flood-ravaged city that quickly became a political football.

Obama is set to see firsthand the damage in the state's capital that has caused more than 106,000 residents and households to register for assistance from Federal Emergency Management Agency. More than 60,000 homes were damaged, officials said, and 13 people were killed.

Obama is expected to meet with family members of police officers killed in last month's Baton Rouge attack, a source with knowledge of the President's schedule told CNN. According to the source, the families are expected to meet with him at one location during his trip. Three Baton Rouge area police officers were killed last month when they were ambushed by a gunman. That gunman, Gavin Long, was shot and killed by police.

Given the financial and human cost that has already taken its toll, the President's visit is too late for some Republicans -- and some Louisianans.

The city's newspaper "The Advocate" originally criticized the President for not ending his vacation in Martha's Vineyard immediately to visit the region.

His reluctance to do so made for offensive optics in the eyes of some Republicans: Obama enjoying rounds of golf with comedians like Larry David and basketball stars like Alonzo Mourning, while a state thousands of miles away faced devastation.

But the editorial board praised his decision to arrive Tuesday.

"We welcome news of President Barack Obama's planned visit to Louisiana today to survey flood damage, which should help to advance relief and recovery in the disaster area as a national priority," the editorial board wrote.

Press secretary Josh Earnest said on Air Force One that Obama will be visiting a neighborhood in East Baton Rouge Parish, and defended the timing of the trip, saying the "President is used to people trying to score political points even in situations where they shouldn't."
Earnest said that $120 million in aid has already been approved and is starting to be paid out to flood-impacted residents.

Trump, who visited the state shortly after the floods, called Obama's visit "too late."
"Tuesday's too late," Donald Trump, told Fox News this weekend. "Hop into the plane and go down and go to Louisiana and see what's going on, because it's a mess."

That's exactly what Trump and his running mate, Mike Pence, did late last week as part of a visit meant to fill what they saw as a leadership vacuum. The Republican ticket toured the flood damage, met with church groups, and distributed supplies at a nearby high school. The visit was well-received by local officials, and for a moment it gave Trump a chance to reveal a presidential timber that he insists he has.

"Because it helped to shine a spotlight on Louisiana and on the dire situation that we have here, it was helpful," said John Bel Edwards, the state's Democratic governor.

Edwards, who greeted Obama when he landed Tuesday, had previously said that he hoped the President would wait a few weeks before making his visit to the state, given the entourage and Secret Service personnel that comes with presidential trips that would have strained resources while officials were coping with the floods.

Baton Rouge's city newspaper last week had called on Obama to cut his vacation short.
"A disaster this big begs for the personal presence of the President at ground zero," read a editorial in The Advocate on Thursday, a day before the Obama trip was announced. "The President's presence is already late to the crisis, but it's better latter than never."

Hillary Clinton, Trump's Democratic opponent, said Monday that she too plans a trip to the flood site -- but used similar reasoning to delay her trip. Her campaign said in a statement that she would come to the state at an unspecified time in the future.

"This month's floods in Louisiana are a crisis that demand a national response," she said. "I am committed to visiting communities affected by these floods, at a time when the presence of a political campaign will not disrupt the response, to discuss how we can and will rebuild together."
Obama's vacation ended Sunday, and the White House has maintained that he has been regularly briefed by senior staff on the situation on the ground and top administration officials also were sent to the Louisiana. Yet his response has earned some comparisons to how George W. Bush handled another natural catastrophe in a Louisiana city, New Orleans, during Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
Obama has traveled to disaster sites in recent years, touring communities in Oklahoma and Arkansas destroyed by tornadoes along with New Jersey towns hit by Hurricane Sandy.
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REUVEN BLA Aug-21-2016 112 0
George Curry, a reporter who advocated for black Americans and headed Emerge magazine, died on Saturday. He was 69.

Curry suffered an apparent heart attack Saturday evening in Washington D.C., according to a Facebook post by the Constituency for Africa.

"It was a shock to our family and we are dealing with the news, as best we can. R.I.P. brother George Curry," his sister, Christie Love, told TheRoot.

At Emerge, Curry famously ran a photo of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas wearing an Aunt Jemima knot on his head and as a lawn jockey for hardcore conservatives. Curry said the provocative covers “were effective because in the minds of many Blacks disgusted with Thomas’ voting record, that’s exactly what he is. And we had the temerity to say it.”

Curry was born in Tuscaloosa, Ala. where his mother worked as a domestic and his father was a mechanic, according to a biography posted on TheHistoryMakers.

Curry's father left the family when he was 7 years old, forcing the youngster to help support his mother and three sisters.

He moved to New York in 1966 and teamed up with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee for a year.

In 1970, he began to work at Sports Illustrated, where he stayed for two years. He then took a job as a beat reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch where he stayed until 1983.

During that period, he also founded the St. Louis Minority Journalism Workshop, an instructional program to help younger aspiring writers.

Curry moved to the Chicago Tribune where he served as Washington correspondent from 1989 until 1993. In that position, he covered Jesse Jackson's 1984 presidential run.

Later, he became the editor-in-chief of Emerge magazine, a publication which won more than 40 national awards.

Recently, he was trying to move the publication online after the print version stopped publishing in 2003.

That same year he won Journalist of the Year by the National Association of Black Journalists. The group also lists him on its roster of "Most Influential Black Journalists of the 20th Century."

"This is a tragic loss to the movement because George Curry was a journalist who paid special attention to civil rights because he lived it and loved it," Dr. Bernard Lafayette, chairman of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, told TheRoot.

Civil rights leaders mourned his death.

"I am saddened beyond words upon hearing of the death of George Curry, Publisher of Emerge Magazine," tweeted Rev. Al Sharpton. "He was a giant and trailblazer. RIP."
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