If you follow sports at all, you’ve probably heard about the Richard Sherman ordeal. He made an amazing play (which you can see here) against Crabtree to effectively end the game and send the Seahawks to their second Super Bowl appearance. It was a pivotal moment (obviously), and it was an excellent play.
Then, of course, you might have seen this.
In the interest of full disclosure, there are some things you may want to know about me. I’m neither black nor male, for starters, so there are a lot of things I can’t speak or relate to in regards to the greater issues of white supremacy and black inferiority, concepts which disgust me, for the record. I am a white woman, a feminist, a child from an incredibly odd family dynamic that’s hard to describe without using a term I hate (lookin’ at you, “broken home”), a wife with as many black and Hispanic in-laws as white ones. I don’t pretend to understand their struggles but I do see it in places I never believed it existed and I perceive it in ways that make my heart ache.
I see it now in the way we as a society responded to Richard Sherman’s loud, aggressive assertion that he is the greatest cornerback in the sport. And maybe he is. But what difference does that make? We seem to reserve our harshest criticisms and our most fervent pearl-clutching for black athletes, black rappers (after all, there aren’t that many people overall up in arms about the rape-y “Blurred Lines,” or the overtly anti-homosexual undertones of basically every Eminem track), and more. And why is that?
Why do we refuse to allow black men and black women to express themselves outside of the confining limits we set for them? We dismiss outrage, we frown upon cocky confidence, we laugh at offenses taken. Then we cross our arms and stand back and we wonder about the origins of all the self-fulfilling prophecies we’ve so expertly crafted.
And that makes me angry.
But I apparently have permission to be.
For more insight on the topic, and to see the post that inspired this one, please visit Olivia Cole’s outstanding post on Richard Sherman, Thugs, and Black Humanity and join the discussion there or below in the comments.