Blackward Thinking

Forget who’s “black enough,” it’s time to address the big black elephant in the room — and acknowledge what we really mean when we talk about the NFL, violence and race.

by Carl Banks

On Wednesday, a report surfaced that a rift has developed inside the defending Super Bowl Champion Seattle Seahawks’ locker room — purportedly due to a certain segment of the team’s players being of the belief that quarterback Russell Wilson is not “black enough” for their liking.

In a society as race-crazy as ours, this sort of news is equal parts shocking and unsurprising. And — rumor or genuine story — it’s not worth anyone’s time or consideration.

In my 12 seasons as an NFL player, no one ever accused me of not being black enough. No one ever questioned my blackness because I had attained my undergraduate degree in communications from Michigan State University. No one accused me of being a sellout when I chose to invest my intellectual capital wisely, laying the business groundwork for my successful transition to life after football. And though there were undoubtedly those in my locker rooms who felt that way about me — players who occupied the same real estate as Percy Harvin and Marshawn Lynch, if they, in fact, do question Wilson’s blackness — no one dared say it to my face, or leak it to the media.

There is no litmus test for racial “legitimacy.” The only thing these “tests” reveal is a window into the foolish psyche of whomever applies them.

To read Carl Banks’ entire commentary visit Medium.com.

  • E_Joyce

    There is no such thing as “Black enough.” What I’ve discovered, when my “Blackness” is questioned, is the real definition is are you willing to settle for being the way “we” are: not using business English, being willing to settle for good enough when better is an option, not getting up off our sidelines and creating the changes we want to see, turning a blind eye to the messes we allow to be created in our own lives and community by default. Because if I/you/we collaborate to strive for and do achieve better, it means we ALL can strive to do and achieve better. I just read a story about a Black community that collaborated to put its own grocery store in its community. Ya’ll DO realize that the only ones stopping you from finding a business model that works and following it to do the same is YOU, be it a grocery, restaurant, school, beauty supply store, whatever the market in your community needs. Bring quality and they will come.

  • Delta

    unfortunatley for a lot of people being “black enough” is a constant issue. No one questions your “blackness” because you are successful. Black people won’t “give you up” if they gain something from your status ie. (I’m black and that successful guy is black ergo black is good). Black culture goes even beyond black people. When even white people tell you that you are not “black enough” there is a major issue. Clearly we both agree that this whole “black enough” BS is just that. BS. But sadly even people who do typically agree with us tend to still consider themselves black. And not just black but “their black”. I grew up mixed so it was always an issue for me. I got to see how much black people hate change. Hate diversity. If you don’t act like them then you no long belong within the group you grew up with. How many black scientists are there? Doctors? Chemists? Programmers? Not many. And the thing that holds most black people back is the fear of being told ” don’t do that! White people do that. Black ppl do this. If you do that you won’t be black enough”. So sad. But so true.

  • Delta

    unfortunatley for a lot of people being “black enough” is a constant issue. No one questions your “blackness” because you are successful. Black people won’t “give you up” if they gain something from your status ie. (I’m black and that successful guy is black ergo black is good). Black culture goes even beyond black people. When even white people tell you that you are not “black enough” there is a major issue. Clearly we both agree that this whole “black enough” BS is just that. BS. But sadly even people who do typically agree with us tend to still consider themselves black. And not just black but “their black”. I grew up mixed so it was always an issue for me. I got to see how much black people hate change. Hate diversity. If you don’t act like them then you no long belong within the group you grew up with. How many black scientists are there? Doctors? Chemists? Programmers? Not many. And the thing that holds most black people back is the fear of being told ” don’t do that! White people do that. Black ppl do this. If you do that you won’t be black enough”. So sad. But so true.

  • http://www.marvinbizzell.com/ Marvin Bizzell

    It is so great Networking with a inspiration NABJ member. I love this comment option. I’m integrating it on my blog site. Thanks Mr. Martin. Great speech at the Education Reform Summit in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Your right! We need to stop saying what we will do – and start talking about what we are doing for our children.

  • http://www.marvinbizzell.com/ Marvin Bizzell

    It is so great Networking with a inspirational NABJ member. I love this comment option. I’m integrating it on my blog site. Thanks Mr. Martin. Great speech at the Education Reform Summit in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Your right! We need to stop saying what we will do – and start talking about what we are doing for our children.

  • http://www.marvinbizzell.com/ Marvin Bizzell

    It is so great Networking with a inspirational NABJ member. I love this comment option. I’m integrating it on my blog site. Thanks Mr. Martin. Great speech at the Education Reform Summit in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Your right! We need to stop saying what we will do – and start talking about what we are doing for our children.

  • http://www.marvinbizzell.com/ Marvin Bizzell

    It is so great Networking with a inspirational NABJ member. I love this comment option. I’m integrating it on my blog site. Thanks Mr. Martin. Great speech at the Education Reform Summit in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Your right! We need to stop saying what we will do – and start talking about what we are doing for our children.

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