This unsigned editorial is the opinion of the Nubian Message’s editorial board, and is the responsibility of the editor-in-chief.
Apparently, it’s open season on Black bodies. Jordan. Rekia. Trayvon. Jonathan. Renisha.
If you believe the justice system, Afrikan-Americans are considered no more human today than 150 years ago. If you didn’t understand that the foundation of this country was built on the institutionalized principles of racism before, perhaps now you’re starting to wake up.
The fact that a jury can find a 47-year-old white man guilty of attempted murder, yet cannot find him guilty of the actual murder that occurred, proves a noose is not needed in order for lynching to take place. The glorification and celebrity-like status that these murderers attain is reminiscent of the lynching postcards that were sent with messages like, “wish you were here.”
For how much longer can we take being treated as threats because our existence scares the majority into having to “stand their ground?” For how much longer will we teach our Black boys that Amerikkka’s perception of them as thugs is their problem to control? For how much longer will we give tacit approval to the murder of our bodies by criminalizing being young, Black and outside?
They wonder why we say Black first and American sometimes.
February’s theme for Nubian Message is #WakeUpNCSU. The Nubian staff and WKNC’s @JustDezBruh compiled a list of 28 tracks for the 28 days of the month. Each week we will drop a different playlist to promote social awareness and Black Consciousness.
This week we feature songs from artists such as James Brown, Sam Cooke, and Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five.
Stay tuned for next week’s selection and #WakeUpNCSU!
Alfred Anderson | Staff Writer
DeErricka Green | Managing Editor
On Sunday, Feb. 2, former N.C. State quarterback Russell Wilson became only the second starting Black quarterback to win a Super Bowl in NFL history. In this victory, Wilson not only represents the largest group of African-American quarterbacks to play in one NFL season, but the progress made and desired in the plight Black quarterbacks have faced for decades.
Since the 1950s, during the midst of racial turmoil in the United States, the game for Black quarterbacks has been about much more than just football. Arguably more than any position in a sport, the position of quarterback was intimately tied to the assumptions of racism directed at Black players. Quarterback is an analytical position- the most important position in our country’s most important sport. The quarterback acts as the decision-maker, the head of an army and possesses flexibility, self-control, and can give orders that his men are expected to follow. During the 1950’s, America stood firm in its propagation of Black men as “natural athletes,” implying images of primitive, animalistic behavior and intellectual inferiority; therefore no Black athlete could possibly play the esteemed position. Black athletes were often forced to change positions from quarterback to safety, which “fit” them. Positions like center and middle linebacker call for similar intellectual attributes, making these positions the last to be desegregated in the sport. With this mentality, its no wonder professional football was left segregated 20 years after sports like professional baseball.
It was not until the late 1960s that the first African-American regularly started as a quarterback in professional football. James Harris broke through the barrier as a rookie in 1969 with the Buffalo Bills. He spouted an impressive career playing with the then-Los Angeles Rams, acting as team captain, taking them to the National Football Conference (NFC) championship twice, and being voted Pro Bowl MVP. Despite this, Harris was replaced by four white quarterbacks and finally traded to be a backup player in California.
Harris’ career ended sourly, however, his experience paved the way for every African-American quarterbacks that followed. In 1988’s Super Bowl XXII, Doug Williams became the first starting Black quarterback to win the Lombardi Trophy. Steve McNair of the Titans, Donovan McNabb of the Eagles, and Colin Kaepernick of the 49ers, each made Super Bowl starts in 2000, 2005, and 2013, respectively.
Football culture has since changed, and the stereotypes that ruled professional football in Harris’ day have largely fallen, though they have not vanished outright. In 2003, conservative radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh stated in an interview with ESPN that McNabb was “overrated” as a quarterback and that praise from the media was due largely in part to their “desire that a Black quarterback do well.” More recently, discussions surrounding Kaepernick have focused on the number of his tattoos in comparison to a criminal who was just paroled. Critics belittled Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton’s talent, character and intellect, making comments which Hall of Fame quarterback Warren Moon identified as “blatant racism.”
The misrepresentations that Black quarterbacks from James Harris to Russell Wilson have had to combat—that they lack the intellectual capacity, self-control, and poise to hold their position—and their ability to crush these beliefs make Wilson’s victory in Super Bowl XLVIII greater than a number on a scoreboard. Without a doubt, the experience of the Black quarterback in the NFL is evolving, because of players like Newton, Kaepernick and Wilson. Though there is still much progress to be made, these young stars are capable of leading the way and setting the bar high for future NFL prospects.
The Significance of Black History Month and Multiple Black Media Representations
Aaliyah Singleton | Staff Writer
Uncle Tom, Negropean, sell-out, or house Negro–call it what you want, but the point remains the same- every brother ain’t a brotha.
Take for instance, Mychal Massie, a Black conservative columnist who lamented all his problems with Black History Month in his blog post, “What You Won’t Hear During Black History Month,” on Feb. 4. Amongst other things, Massie belittled the month stating, “Public school children will be immersed in a 28-day vat of a factually flawed and at times fictional history of how bad the Blacks had it in America, and they will hear that whites are privileged and their ancestors had slaves, blah-blah-blah.” Massie ultimately called for an end to Black History Month, which he said imposes guilt on white students and argued that schools should instead teach students that Black people are largely responsible for present-day racism.
The last I checked, we give months and days to deserving people or groups of people who have done great things, made tremendous accomplishments and in most cases have been misunderstood and wronged in some way by society. Consider Black History Month, Native American Heritage Month, and the months commemorating the heritage of Italian, Polish and Asian American citizens. A large reason why these ethnic groups have a heritage month and “white people” do not is because historically in the United States, white Americans have been treated with a high level of privilege that often, was in stark contrast to the experiences minority “outsiders” and marginalized groups faced.
Historically, concerns that men would be emasculated through depictions in minstrel shows or by literal castration, has been a concern most linked to Black Americans. Likewise, a fear of being thrown into subpar tenement homes, internment camps or provoked into the downward spiral of alcoholism and gambling because of the social implications of race are all things that White Americans have not had to endure. If not for those reasons alone, Black History Month and the months of other ethnic groups are important and equally justified, given that these groups have never tried to strip white americans of their history, or ingrain in them that their ancestors only existed for the benefit of serving another race.
White history is crammed down our necks 337 days out of the year—all we ask for is 28 days and people like Massie still want to rally around the need for a White History Month at the expense and denigration of their own people. You don’t have to be a Black nationalist to see something is very much wrong with that.
African-Americans deal with oppression and discrimination throughout daily life. Is it too much to ask that we have 28 days to celebrate, uplift the good that is and has been our Black community? Can we not use those 28 days to build off of the optimism the month creates and use it to bring about the needed changes in our society?
As members of the Black community we should all be in the know as to who is representing and upholding our interests in the political sphere but also in the media. These are the men and women who represent who and what African-Americans are in the minds of the masses, therefore they are also the voice of the Black community for a large portion of Americans who are not Black.
The issue that I find with Massie and some other prominent Black conservatives such as Allan West, Herman Cain, and Clarence Thomas is that these men, regardless of their political ideology, find themselves time-after-time seemingly siding against the interests of African-Americans. On issues of education, Affirmative Action, Welfare and Medicaid these politicians would rather tow the party line than to decide in favor of their constituents.
In South Carolina, a state with rampant health and poverty issues particularly in the poor rural communities, black Congressman Tim Scott voted against the Affordable Care Act, and has voted yes to repealing the act at least twice according to Americans for Tax Reform, a conservative think tank group.
We can’t just collectively sit back and allow these kind of men in power to control not only our money but also the political environment. Two years ago many African-Americans almost lost the ability to vote due to the Republican lead’s cuts in early voting times, yet so many have already forgotten this. If anything, we need to take advantage of the time in between big election years and educate ourselves about everyone in power, not just those up for office. As a huge voting bloc and financial market, businesses, multi-million dollar TV corporations and politicians will listen to African-Americans if we exercise our collective voice.
To be honest though, for as long as some of ya’ll are still sleeping on Jay-Z’s “Drunk in Love” Anna Mae reference, ( despite the fact that one in three young adults have experienced some form of abuse in a dating relationship) it remains obvious that the importance of a continued interest in the dissemination of Black History is a necessary and pertinent endeavor.
People like Massie would like the World, Black Folk especially, to believe that we live in a post-racial society, but we do not. Even if we did, there would still be a need for Black History Month because it would add further to our national diversity of thought and culture. However at the end of the day, what everyone needs to do in order to keep politicians and media pundits like Massie from obtaining such a national podium from which they can speak such vitriol is to vote and stay educated about who you vote for, what they stand for and what they are doing for your community.
- Arts & Entertainment
- Mind Body and Soul
- Letter to the Editor