It seems like every other week, some news organization or journalist ends up saying or doing or writing something that puts their name in heavy Google rotation and sets their Twitter feed ablaze with 140-character badgering. Thank God it’s not me this time. It’s Rob Parker’s turn to be in the hot seat for comments he made last week about Redskins’ quarterback and franchise golden child Robert Griffin III (pictured). Today, Parker issued an apology, as is the rote course of action in debacles of this variety, because I’m quite sure between the fallout from higher-ups and the deafening yodel of public outcry, he is genuinely sorry he said what he said, even if he’s not genuinely sorry for thinking it.
His remarks, in case you missed them when he enlightened us on last Thursday’s edition of ESPN2’s “First Take,” went like this: “Is he a brother or a cornball brother?” Parker pontificated about RGIII. He then launched into a monologue about the rookie’s Blackness, called it into question because he has a White fiancée, is a rumored Republican and has made public statements that suggest race isn’t a big deal for him. “I’m just trying to dig deeper as to why he has an issue. Because we did find out…Tiger Woods was like, ‘I’ve got Black skin, but don’t call me Black,’” Parker added. “So people got to wondering about Tiger Woods early on.”
Folks get real uncomfortable talking honestly about race outside the secure perimeters of our living room discussions and whispered coffee room conversations. You and I know that. And I’m sure Rob Parker knows it, too—I doubt this is his first tango with this kind of subject matter—but if he didn’t, he sure as heck knows it now. We can’t get a constructive dialogue going en masse about race in this country because people like to pretend that racial differences don’t exist, like racism is a thing of the far-flung past and like we really are basking in the serenity of a colorless society.
Read the rest of this piece on Essence.com.