The recent debate on the whole Grant Hill vs. Jalen Rose issue has brought me nothing but joy in the last few days because it takes on an issue that needs to be discussed and addressed in Black America. In Black America, there is always a characteristic we’ll find to separate our given accomplishments. This is not just in sports, this happens in education, social groups, industry, and culture. Then funny enough, there are external groups of black people living in America, who do not want their kids to identify with any part of African American culture. [That’s neither here nor there, I can address that in a different post.]
For those reading that still do not know what I speak of, essentially what happened was that during a ‘Fab 5’ documentary about Jalen Rose’s collegiate career, Rose recalls being 17/18yrs old and playing a ‘polished’ Duke team featuring Grant Hill. Michigan, Rose’s school, had an all black starting line-up of freshman [1st time in College Basketball] and Duke, Hill’s Alma Mater, featured a majority of white players and black kids from suburbs or recognized prep schools. 38 yr old Rose then recalled thinking of black Duke players as a bunch of “Uncle Tom’s.”
This happens too frequently in black culture, where we see other black folks doing well or doing something different, and we label them something anti-black.
Man Law: If you don’t know who Harriet Beecher Stowe is, you can’t call another black man Uncle Tom. If you don’t know the difference between “Uncle Tom” the character and “Tom Shows” ‘based’ on the book Uncle Tom’s Cabin, STFU. Uncle Tom actually refused to snitch on fellow escaped slaves in the book. Non-‘Uncle Toms’ now wear ‘stop snitching’ shirts [irony].
Anyone that plays a sport and has options outside of that sport, knows how real and intense, yet fun and educational it is to play with those who have nothing but ball. I was opportune enough to go to a high school with various cultures and ethnic backgrounds. On the court, if you knew how to hoop, regardless of race, grades, or wealth, you got picked first. I played and was serious about school like Hill, but the attitude was so Rose [in my mind]. Our team was all black with 2 white players. Black teammates playfully teased the academic grind, but respected the athletic grind.
College was a different story. There, I encountered several inner city peers that would discount my game just from knowing the name and location of my high school. Minds didn’t change until the game was played, and even then there was a sense of separation. We were not enemies, but this was real life. We’d be in student organizations together in the name of unity, but we stayed closer to those of our own background. We still battle with this humongous façade in the black community. And this is at the collegiate level, much less than the professional level of Rose and Hill. Hill Response
At the end of the day, hooping is hooping and these are two rich people arguing about the merits of their work. Its like a sports version of W.E.B DuBois vs. Booker T. Washington.