Whitlock's articles supposedly tell black America to sit down, shut up, and take responsibility. 'Real talk', apparently. Which would make sense if black America was one individual person, instead of a race of millions of individual people, each with their own mind. One of the main tenets of prejudice is the stripping away of individuality from the group being targeted. Whitlock certainly excels at doing this, as his articles frequently depict black America as one indistinguishable mass, especially young black America. It is this lumping of black America into one group that can allow Whitlock to so foolishly suggest that All Star Weekend was a calling people felt in the pit of their stomach, and to suggest that hip hop music is the cause of every ill within black society...
His articles are designed to get attention, to be controversial, and to always please the majority. Whitlock is considered the “rational” black man, the one who can see beyond his race, and look at things from the right point of view. He never plays the race card, and doesn’t blame white America for everything -- or anything at all, for that matter. He is a true 'credit to his race'; sadly, one imagines that he would beam with pride upon hearing such a statement. He tells it like it is, in that he tells the majority what they want to hear.
Even if one agrees with what he says, one must concede that he is transparent. Whitlock has no interest in the fortunes of black America, and is simply giving people what they want – validation. And that validation has resulted in multiple copycats. Whitlock has awoken a sleeping giant, one that took one look at what he wrote, and realized: “If he’s doing it, I can do it too.”
Jason Whitlock, worst of the sports media in 2007.
I like the idea of African-Americans (or just about any group) engaging in collective self-criticism. I'm also receptive to the idea that the standard for blacks being racist is much higher because of the historical context that colors race in this country (read: 250 years of slavery followed by a century of Jim Crow). All that said, it's hard to argue that this statement by Whitlock is not racist (HT: Mayhem in the AM):
Pete Carroll might be the one guy who could handle the special problems unique to coaching a professional football team in Atlanta, the hip hop capital of the Dirty South.
Carroll has built a college powerhouse in Snoop Dogg and Suge Knight's backyard. Maybe Carroll could do the same thing in the house that T.I. built.
To me, there's a reason Atlanta's basketball and football teams consistently stink. There are just too many distractions for young, rich black athletes and the look-at-me, bling-bling attitude that permeates Atlanta isn't conducive to building a team atmosphere.
This comment is so bad on so many levels. First, the generalization involved are truly striking. Atlanta is collectively written off has having a "look-at-me, bling-bling attitude" that acts as an explanation for why the Falcons and Hawks aren't good. Whitlock's comment personifies lazy journalism. Instead of actually analyzing why the Falcons and Hawks have been bad, which would require evaluation of a variety of bad personnel decisions, Whitlock opts for a one size fits all, pop psychology generalization that would make even Kirk Herbstreit blush.
Second, the comment doesn't make any logical sense. Unless you assume that Atlanta has excessive distractions and a look-at-me attitude, but Los Angeles doesn't, then USC's success refutes the argument entirely. The most successful college football program of the decade resides in the nation's capital for distractions, glitz, and superficiality. How is USC able to handle these distractions, but the Falcons and Hawks aren't?
Third, if you view Michael Vick's downfall as the cause (or at least a microcosm) of the Falcons' failures, then Whitlock's point is factually inaccurate. I have no doubt that Whitlock was thinking about Vick when he wrote that passage. As George Dohrmann and Farrell Evans of Sports Illustrated described in a well-done piece on Vick, Vick's problem was precisely the opposite of what Whitlock describes. Vick never made friends in Atlanta, he never put roots down, and he never made any effort to integrate himself with one of the preeminent African-American communities in the country. Instead, he kept his old friends from Newport News and he flew back to Virginia when he had free time. The problem for Vick wasn't that he was influenced too much by the city; it was that he made no effort to integrate to his new home. But why pay attention to actual facts when you can denigrate a metropolis and two of its sports franchises with a sweeping, unsupported, prejudiced generalization?