Alfonzo Porter is the author of “More Like Barack, Less Like Tupac: Eradicating the Academic Achievement Gap by Countering Decades of the Hip Hop Hoax.”
He is also now likely to be pummeled by the race baiters and bigoted haters after writing this, in the Washington Post no less:
If Robert Griffin III is a “cornball”, then clearly cornball is compatible with aptitude, proficiency, talent and intelligence. Frankly, I’d like every young black man in America to be defined that way.
While the recent commentary by ESPN reporter, Rob Parker regarding the young Washington Redskins phenomenon may have caught others off guard--I could see it coming from ten miles away.
As an educator, I have had the privilege to work with African American male students in a number of capacities: as a teacher, principal, counselor, coach, and mentor. The level of raw potential that I have witnessed has been nothing less than astonishing. And what hurts so bad is so much of it goes to waste because so many young black men are trying hard not be labeled “cornballs” and are living down to the stereotype of what black men are supposed to be.
I have worked with students with natural academic proclivities in virtually every academic content area. I’ve seen the brilliant, yet undeveloped scientist; the astute, but unfocused mathematician; the prolific yet nonetheless intemperate writer. They all seemed tortured and tried to hide their natural, intrinsic interests in lieu of dumbing down, in order to “keep it real”. After all, being intelligent, respectful, funny, smart and well-spoken is still not a “black thing”.
All these young, aforementioned potential, groundbreaking, trailblazers, who I’ve known and taught, are now dead; two were shot, one was stabbed — all caught in the vortex of pre-determined behaviors that allegedly communicate what authentic blackness is supposed to look like. In the end, so many of our kids are convinced that they need to display disrespectful, oppositional attitudes towards any form of adult authority.
This reverse stereotyping has led to a wholesale march of our black boys to the cemetery and prison — sacrificing the futures of far too many of our sons.
“He’s not one of us,” Parker exclaimed.
Time and again, when African Americans don’t follow the prescribed behaviors laid down by self-appointed gurus of all things black, we inevitably get this level of vitriolic hate, jealousy and animosity. The loud, unsolicited, unqualified rant by Parker, a veteran journalist, speaks volumes about the divisions that still exist within the black community.
Mr. Porter goes on to chronicle that which makes RGIII a 'cornball' in the eyes of the ignorantly hateful. It's good stuff, righteous stuff, stuff that needs to be aired out and debated in the black community and beyond.
Hats off to the man for what is a courageous thing.
He's in for a rough time.
The haters are gonna be hatin' big-time on the man.
Count on it.
It's what they do.