Why is “blackness” always up for debate? Soledad O’Brien addressed the complexities of racial identity in her documentary, “Who Is Black In America?” and days later, ESPN correspondent Rob Parker came under fire for chiding Washington Redskins Quarterback Robert Griffin III (RG3) for not being black enough.

When asked about race and how it impacts his public image, RG III had this to say:

“I am an African-American in America. That will never change. But I don’t have to be defined by that. […] We always try to find similarities in life, no matter what it is so they’re going to try to put you in a box with other African-American quarterbacks – Vick, Newton, Randall Cunningham, Warren Moon […] That’s the goal. Just to go out and not try to prove anybody wrong but just let your talents speak for themselves.”

Rob Parker responded by questioning Parker’s “blackness”:

“We keep hearing this so it makes me wonder deeper about him. I’ve talked to some people in Washington D.C. My question, which is just a straight, honest question, is he a brother or is he a cornball brother. […] He’s black, but he’s not really down with the cause […] He’s kind of black, but He’s not really the guy you want to hang out with. He’s off to something else. We all know he has a white fiancee. People always talk about how he’s Republican. There’s no information at all. I’m just trying to dig deeper into why he has an issue.”

Parker’s comments define blackness by a host of arbitrary qualifiers like political affiliation and the skin color of who you choose to love. This happens too often in our communities. It’s as if there’s an imaginary list of characteristics every black person must adopt; and once you step out of that box, you’re viewed as a sellout or in Parker’s words, a “cornball brother.”

Black people are not a monolith. A man should be able to vote for the Republican party, marry outside his race and desire to be judged on his talent alone without being considered a traitor to the race and culture. Parker’s words are not only offensive to Griffin, but they limit us as a race of people with varied interests, beliefs and behaviors.

What are your thoughts on Rob Parker’s comments on Robert Griffin III, Clutchettes?

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    Rob Parker nigga please. You was in the NFL you smashed a whole slew of white women lol. Niggas kill me. RG3 is like majority of black entertainers and black athletes keep ya black ass mouth shut about black issues and global issues in general. Therefore, why isn’t he calling the rest of them sellouts? I have yet to see a Ali and Jim Brown since Ali and Jim Brown lol. I’m pretty sure Rob Parker wouldn’t bring up on random why Ben Roethlisberger was able to rape a woman but, Vick got raped for killing dogs. Why the NBA ref scandal was so swept under the rug, but when a player does anything trivial its criminal? He needs to get his priorities straight greasy looking ass dude. I swear people bitch about trivial shit too damn much.

    • Anthony

      Rob Parker released an apology to RGIII yesterday, and said he hopes to talk to the quarterback face to face.

    • Anorexicbob

      Mike Vick was convicted of a crime, Ben Rothisberger wasn’t, Ben wasn’t even charged. Legally Vick ran a dog fighting ring. Legally Rothisberger didn’t rape anyone.

      You’re comparing Apples and Oranges here.


      You’re going to have apples in oranges in ya ass if you don’t shut the fuck up. The case with Ben ended in a settlement so get ya facts right you pale hoe. Like I said Ben rape case was barely mentioned but, dogs being killed was on the news 247 365 and still going.

  • Anon

    You can’t use blackness as a rule of measure if the one-drop-rule has been instrumental in defining blackness. By design, the definition of blackness has been left open…very open…too damn open, which is, likely, irreversible.

  • Sagehen

    I am sad that they suspended him over this comment, when it is program whose tagline is “embrace the debate”, and he is entitled to his opinion and to express it. Also, sad that he was suspended when Stephen A. Smith continues to ply his buffoonery on a daily basis. I was behind his right to say his piece, but very chagrined when he came out with the apology. It’s his opinion and he should have stood up for it.

  • Anorexicbob

    Why do black women need to be “handled” ? What are they, Dogs ? Prison Convicts ?

    If an adult human requires handling, that because usually isn’t good relationship material. An adult human that needs to be handled lacks maturity, common sense, intelligence, or some combination of the three.