In a column and video published Wednesday, Outkick’s Jason Whitlock addressed a critique about comedian Dave Chappelle’s Saturday Night Live monologue. According to Whitlock, Chappelle succumbed to the “black group-think” that the stand-up artist has spent a large portion of his career avoiding, and athletes, like LeBron James, have spent a large portion of their careers embracing.
How does this group-think narrative work in the mainstream media? Whitlock pointed out something that many people did not take notice of. The Associated Press, highly regarded in the entire industry, made a style decision on “Juneteenth” (June 19, the day when slaves in Texas learned that they were emancipated) earlier this year.
“AP’s style is now to capitalize Black in a racial, ethnic or cultural sense,” a statement from the news organization read, “conveying an essential and shared sense of history, identity and community among people who identify as Black, including those in the African diaspora and within Africa. The lowercase black is a color, not a person.”
Black is now the only skin color that holds a position of capitalization in the AP handbook. Why does this matter?
We (black people) are programmed to prioritize our skin color above all else. We do it out of fear, pride, ignorance and unrecognized manipulation.
If your competitors convince you that your skin color is your most prized asset and characteristic, you shape all your behavior to accentuate that attribute. If your competitors control the perception and definition of your most prized asset and characteristic, then your competitors control your behavior.
It's not a soft bigotry. It's just a hidden, strategic one.
This completely goes against what Martin Luther King Jr. marched for. Instead of being judged and respected for the content of their character and what they bring to society, black people are still being told that they are valued, above all else, for their skin color.
And in Whitlock’s eyes, celebrities like LeBron James are largely to blame for this.
"LeBron James and other athletes reject being reduced to their chosen profession. That’s an insult. LeBron is #MoreThanAnAthlete. Is he more than black? Is he more than a skin color? Let’s see if he’ll wear a T-shirt #MoreThanBlack," he wrote.
Whitlock: "Putting any effort into proving to someone that I'm black… How can I not be? It's a joke. How can I not be? I don't have to work to prove that. And so, I asked this question in terms of Asian Americans [who say,] “Don't label me by my skin color. I reject that.” [Whereas] LeBron James [and other] athletes [say,] “Don't label me by my profession. I'm more than an athlete. I reject that. My skin color? Oh yeah. Label me with that. Define me with that.” You'll never see LeBron [say,] “I’m more than black.” You won't see any of us do that. It's a mistake. It's foolish for us to accept. Again, it was 200 years ago when they used the skin color to enslave us physically. It was racist and wrong then. So why, today? When The Associated Press and all the little white manipulators and programmers decide we want to define y'all by your skin color, it's racist today, too. It’s part of a mental enslavement that's more dangerous than the physical enslavement… It does not make it less likely that there will be another George Floyd, Derek Chauvin situation. It makes it more likely that all black people will be seen as the same. That's my problem."
The current racial justice culture may seem like a good idea to the casual person. But to the observant, it is no more than politically-motivated pandering, reducing people to the color of their skin, which is counterproductive to the alleged goals of "unity" and "equality."