04.20.07

The Empire Strikes Back : WWL’s Clinkscales Punctures Whitlock

Posted in Sports Journalism at 4:55 pm by

During a week in which Jason Whitlock came off as a Midwestern Mushnick on one day and an aspiring Dr. Dre on another, ESPN The Magazine’s Keith Clinkscales is just about finished with Big Sexy. From a guest editorial at AOL Sports.com :

Jason, for you to question the validity of Vivian Stringer’s press conference and to complain about its length speaks does not consider the extraordinary circumstances that she was thrust into as the leader of those young women. To suggest this press conference was some type of recruiting ploy, is as cowardly as the attack that Imus perpetrated in the first place.

You say that Jesse, Al and Vivian don™t have the heart to mount a legitimate campaign against the “real black folk killas?” While Jesse and Al are not perfect, they have put it on the line year after year for black people. Both have served jail time for their beliefs. Their use of the microphones and the media has been to provide a voice to the voiceless among us. While you may not want them to speak for you, there are many black people who are happy that somebody – anybody – will speak powerfully about their concerns. For every Tawana Brawley reference, you can cite ten Amadou Diallos, Rodney Kings, and Sean Bells. Coach Stringer exists in a world where less than eight percent of college basketball coaches are black women. And often to the detriment of her progress, she has been a consistent supporter of women™s athletics while stridently maintaining a pro-black voice.

As the discussion rages about Imus and the fallout extends into death threats and other equally disconcerting reactions, let’s not wrap up the problem in the neat package of hip-hop™s culture. Yes, hip-hop has issues, but so does much of our entertainment and media. The body count on the Sopranos continues to climb, yet I hear no one blaming James Gandolfini for the true gangster policy that the United States has in conducting the war in the Middle East. Why not? Tony Soprano is a character, not unlike the Snoop character played by Calvin Broadus or the Jay-Z character played by Shawn Carter. Dragging Dave Chappelle or any other comedian who utilizes words from the magic bag of racial controversy is merely another diversion to the core issue. Could you imagine the New York Times declaring that Bush™s war policy is influenced by the Sopranos? … fuhgedaboutit.

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