I came across this article on ESPN.com yesterday and it rubbed me the wrong way, so I decided to send this nice lady an e-mail to let her know how I felt. It’s kind of long (both the article and my reply and then her reaction), but try and read it. Don’t be afraid to hit me (or her) up with your opinion. It started on my myspace blog but I’ve decieded to bring the fight over here to XXL. She basically blames this guys death on hip-hop and BET, then tries to backpedal at the end. Agree or disagree, wanted you all to read it and form your own opinion.
Verse of the day coming later!
Oh yeah. Fuck the Eagles and the Patriots.
A disturbing, violent trend
By Jemele Hill
“Wrong place at the wrong time.”
Who knew the wrong place to be on New Year’s Eve was at a party welcoming in the new year? Who knew the wrong time to be murdered was now .. when people are so callous about death that it’s almost as if we’re asking the victim, “Just what did you do to get yourself murdered?”
There are many words to describe the senseless killing of Denver Broncos cornerback Darrent Williams. Unfortunate. Heartbreaking. Sad. But here’s the one word we can’t use in describing such a death: Unexpected.
Over the past 12 months, three NFL players have been shot, and in the past couple weeks, police discovered one NFL player, Bears defensive lineman Tank Johnson, had enough weapons in his home to mount a terrorist attack. University of Miami lineman Bryan Pata was shot to death at his apartment complex in November. In Denver alone, three notable athletes have been shot since 2003 .. Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Joey Porter, Denver Nuggets guard Julius Hodge and now, tragically, Williams.
One unavoidable commonality about these episodes of gunplay: all of the athletes are black.
It leads to an inevitable question from all of us, but particularly mainstream America: Why do black athletes often seem to find themselves either holding a gun or staring down the barrel of one?
Real talk for a moment.
Contrary to stodgy opinions, young men have a right to go out. They want to hang with their peers. They want to talk to women. They want to show off a little of their success. Nothing wrong with any of that .. as long as they’re careful.
Who they’re with, what time they’re out and what they have is only a small part of the issue. The larger problem here is the one no one is ready to openly discuss.
While America is generally a violent place, no culture in this country glorifies violence more than the African-American community. And consequently, no other racial group is as disproportionately affected by it.
This isn’t to say black people invented violence or have a penchant for it. But far too many of us glorify shooting people for revenge, perceived slights or to prove toughness. Two things you almost always see when “MTV Cribs” features a black superstar: a poster of Tony Montana and a poster of the Godfather. Montana and Michael Corleone, though fictional, are considered heroes by young black men everywhere. Montana and Corleone had one thing in common: both killed people to gain respect.
BET, the same network that saw fit to cut its nightly news program, has a new show called “American Gangster,” which “chronicles the life and times of some of Black America’s most notorious crime figures.” It’s explained that the program has a strong moral component and doesn’t seek to glorify violence, but on BET’s Web site the show is promoted by showing Ving Rhames, the king of cool, in slick gangster apparel .. as if he were promoting a music video, not a show about violent criminals.
And sure enough, right beneath Rhames’ promo ad, a BET dot.commer says, “Young, black males will look at this [show] as an inspiration.”
Now, criminal biographies appear on The History Channel all the time, but the difference is that violence is often marketed to blacks in a way that makes it appear more sexy and daring.
Black men constantly receive the message that they can’t make it in life through using legitimate means, and the only way they gain society’s respect is through the street game.
This is the mentality black athletes greet when they go to the club. A recent Public Library of Science Medicine study shows black men living in urban America have the shortest life expectancy of any other racial group in the country. The life expectancy of a black man in Cleveland is closer to that of West Africans than the average white American. So wearing a jersey every Sunday doesn’t protect you from anything.
Of course, movies and songs don’t make people kill people, but they can influence the way people think and live.
But ultimately, if we want to see fewer black athletes as victims of violence, African-Americans must stop worshiping at the altar of their own demise.
Jemele Hill, a Page 2 columnist and writer for ESPN the Magazine, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A Real Disturbing Trend: The Oreo Sports Writer
It’s Uncle Tom’s…excuse me…Auntie Tomika’s like you who set African Americans like me back 50 years.How was Darrent Williams’s death “expected”? Did he have a history of violence? No. Any prior run ins with the law? No. Did they find him at the crime scene at the wrong end of some bloody shoot out? No. The only thing you have the late Mr. Williams guilty of is “black while partying”. It’s New Years Eve for god sakes! Do you know what percentage of black, white, red, orange blue and green people between the ages of 18 and 30 go out and party every December 31st? Did you have any facts to support your theory on why DARRENT WILLIAMS was EXPECTED to be KILLED?
I’m a black person who actually does his research. According to your myspace page, you listen to Jay-Z, watch The Godfather and would like to meet Iceberg Slim. That means you fall right into the demographic that you criticize. So should I be surprised if someone shoots you in the face the next time you go out? If your brother or your cousin or your unborn child gets his head popped off when they go out, should we all just say “we seen it coming”? Or does this only apply to rich athletes and entertainers? A white USC kicker was found inexplicably dead in a ditch yesterday, isn’t that the equivalent of University Of Miami lineman Bryan Pata being shot to death in his apartment?Now I’m sure in your mind, you’re convinced that Darrent Williams was some dumb rich nigger football player who probably downloaded every American Gangster episode (assuming you think he can even use a computer), was preparing his house for the next season of MTV Cribs season and was watching Scarface 8 times before he went to that party. So he should’ve expected to be shot to death that night. I mean just look at the “statistics”.Do you want to know my theory? I think you had this you had this article pre-written for the next dead rich entertainer, whether in sports or music. In fact after you say “real talk for a moment”, your article doesn’t mention Darrent Williams, or sports for that matter, at all! If Ludacris killed, you would’ve probably just changed the names and submitted the same article to BET.com.
I’m sure you think in your own twisted house Negro way you’re keeping it real by writing that article, but in all actuality you’re just an opportunist. ESPN would’ve never published that bullshit report if you were a white journalist. They needed it to come from “one of them” so they wouldn’t receive this type of backlash. You’re probably just waiting for more of your brothers and sisters to get shot so you can keep the check coming, am I right?
I’m a black female journalist saying Darrent Williams was killed because he was rich and black. Out of the box thinking right? Let me know if you’re interested. And anytime you need a conservative black voice, just give me a ring.
Sincerely your nigga,
See you at the club bitc..I mean sis.
Re: A Real Disturbing Trend: The Oreo Sports Writer