Monday, February 13, 2012

Jason Whitlock Racially Insults Jeremy Lin

If you don't keep up with the NBA you might have missed this year's current feel good story. The Knicks, in a fit of desperation after injuries, absences and players that weren't quite working out, turned to the end of the bench and started playing Jeremy Lin, a journeyman guard that was about THIS close from being bounced from the league altogether.

However Lin so far has not only shown that he belongs in the NBA, he's shown that he's someone other teams need to plan for and worry about. The undrafted Harvard grad is playing with (and outplaying) people like Kobe Bryant. Time will tell if he can keep up this pace but right now he's handling his business.

Of course anytime someone is successful there will shortly be along someone who feels it's their duty to bring them back down to earth. Enter one Mr. Jason Whitlock, previously best known for making insulting comments about Serena Williams' looks, physique and work ethic.
Mr. Whitlock felt it necessary to go to twitter to drop this knowledge on the world immediately after Lin scored 38 points in a win over the Los Angeles Lakers.

Some lucky lady in NYC is gonna feel a couple inches of pain tonight.
Oh that's a laugher that is. Yup. I wonder how many times Lin has heard that stereotype before.
This brings up a few things which really amaze me.
Unless he's been living under a rock, Whitlock just saw another black male celebrity journalist post something stupid on twitter and get chin checked hard. Now, regardless of whether you thought it was right or not that Roland Martin got the reaction he received, it seems that you would have taken notice and adjusted your public utterances accordingly. I mean really, Whitlock, how hard is this? Don't make insulting references to people's gender, race, religion, ethnicity, sexuality in public and ESPECIALLY don't do it over twitter. Because unless you happen to be a new Facebook multi-millionaire/billionaire and thus just don't care, chances are you're putting your job at risk.

Of course Whitlock made a half-hearted apology :
I then gave in to another part of my personality — my immature, sophomoric, comedic nature. It's been with me since birth, a gift from my mother and honed as a child listening to my godmother's Richard Pryor albums. I still want to be a standup comedian.
The couple-inches-of-pain tweet overshadowed my sincere celebration of Lin’s performance and the irony that the stereotype applies to pot-bellied, overweight male sports writers, too. As the Asian American Journalist Association pointed out, I debased a feel-good sports moment. For that, I’m truly sorry.

Who knows what's in Whitlock's heart. But this should show us a few things.
Black people are not by definition more sensitive to other people's issues.
Black people have ingested stereotypes just like anyone else. The "good" ones we like. The "bad" ones we reject.
It is quite possible for some Black people to be threatened by non-black excellence in traditionally Black dominated sports the same some whites are in the reverse (remember Fuzzy Zoeller's
comments about Tiger Woods??)  I think Whitlock should be fired, primarily for stupidity. But I'm interested to hear your take.

1) Should Whitlock be suspended or fired for his comments?
2) Are you impressed with his apology?
3) Are stereotypes ever ok to joke about in public?
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