“You may be familiar by now with Bernard Hopkins’ recent rant on Donovan McNabb, in which the boxer said that the quarterback wasn’t really Black,” Hopkins said while reportedly pointing to his own skin. “He’s got a suntan. That’s all.” Hopkins criticized McNabb for having a “privileged childhood in suburban Chicago,” claiming that he isn’t as tough as Michael Vick and Terrell Owens. Hopkins also hinted to a reporter that he felt Donovan McNabb is a “house-Negro” or Uncle Tom during a Philadelphia Daily News interview.
It is amazing how the media can give this down-right silly character a format for his stupid comments. This nincompoop should have never been given this much coverage. I can understand a forty-six year old boxer in a sport in which brain trauma is a very real occupational hazard, having paranoid delusions, angry outbursts, and rambling diatribes about things that are totally off topic are sure signs that Mr. Hopkins really should consider a CT scan. However, what is the excuse for those Black people who also think this way? Mr. Hopkins just because you grew up in the so-called hood doesn’t mean you are tough. There are a lot of people who grew up in the so-called hood that wouldn’t bust a grape. Who said that makes you tough anyway?
How this crap about whose Black or Black enough got started in the first place is a long complicated history lesson. I’ll focus on today’s environment. Basically, these are negative ghetto stereotypes associated with all Blacks and the Black culture. The media has done a great job shaping the image of Black culture, by associating the actions of a few ignorant Blacks, as representative of all Blacks. Mr. Hopkins is probably one of those people who thinks having a criminal record, five kids by four different women, being a thugged-out gangster covered in tattoos with bullet wounds is being Black. It’s a stereotype; it has nothing to do with all Black people.
Is a Black student who makes good grades, is responsible, educated and contributes to society labeled as “being White” or “selling out?” Yes, growing up in the suburbs with both parents makes you not Black enough in these dummies’ minds.
It’s funny how negative stereotypical aspects of the White community don’t get associated with all Whites. If a White person who has his hat on backwards and his pants sagging to the ground, speaks broken-urban slang, he gets associated with acting Black. On the flip side, a Black kid who speaks well developed proper English is acting White. However, negative stereotypes develop if a White person, let’s just say a “redneck” in his work boots, wears a cut off flannel shirt, fishing cap, and camouflage pants, chews tobacco and spits it farther than anyone else, holding a beer in one hand, walking around town with a 12-gauge, shotgun in the other hand while his stomach hangs over his belt for all to see, smirking at everybody saying, “Ain’t Skeered! Nothing excep missing me NASCAR race.”
If a Black man acts this way nobody is going to say he acting like a White person; they are going to say he acting like a dam fool. Everybody has negative stereotypes. However Blacks are the only ones who can’t disassociate their culture from the negativity. Within the community we do it, by saying that person is ghetto. But Dittowoods don’t separate the negative acts of one Black person; they just see it as another ignorant Black person. There have been many times a White person did something negative. For instance, let’s say Britney Spears. I heard White people separating themselves from her by saying she is “trailer trash” or “white trash.” White negative stereotypes represent a particular segment. No one associates negative behavior with the White culture. It is marginalized or individualized. But if anybody acts ghetto, it is automatically tied to represent the whole Black culture.
The media played a role in this, from the news to Hollywood movies constantly focusing on and pushing negative Blacks to the forefront of the community, while isolating, or ignoring negative aspects of the White community. It’s the reason you never see a big-budgeted movie called, “Boys in the trailer park.” Hollywood wants you to think all White people are well off or hard working. There are just as many lazy White people as there are lazy Black people.
I remember the first time I notice this socialization. It was with Black comedians who made jokes about being poor and associating their being poor with all Blacks. Like Blacks have the market on being poor. Hello, the majority of poor people are White!
Black Police Officer – (calm proper manner) We’re not going to fall for banana in the tail pipe.
Murphy – (mocking the officer) you’re not going to fall for banana in the tail pipe. (laughing) It should be more natural brother. It should flow out like this:
(Murphy -loud and boisterous) “Look man I ain’t falling for the banana in my tailpipe!! See that’s more natural for us, you been hanging out with this dude too long.”
We all laughed at this small contribution to the socialization process.
But in a movie like Be Cool, Vince Vaughn’s character Raji, a White promoter is dressed in a pimped-out outfit with bright colors, and the audience is supposed to assume he is acting Black. Christina Milan’s character informs another character that Raji wants to be Black. That’s why he dresses and acts the way he does. This Black socialization has happened many times in movies, and Black actors made contributions. You would think they would know that no one has the market on acting Black or acting stupid.