Why Black American Sports Fans Should Totally Ignore Jason Whitlock
We live in a digital age with a 24-hour news cycle that often rewards virility, not verity.
Look up the word “iconoclast” in the dictionary. According to Merriam-Webster, an iconoclast is “a person who attacks settled beliefs or institutions.” An iconoclast is not necessarily a disruptive person, but more like a good poem or a good book. These things forces us to rethink what we thought we knew and what we thought we believed. A true iconoclast does not wake up and try to be iconoclastic: they just are.
But then, there are posers like Jason Whitlock. These are the people who pose as iconoclasts in order to either garner attention or remain relevant. Either they are megalomaniacs, as is the case with a certain RAPper whose name shall not be typed, or they are low-skilled, angry people who enjoy upbraiding who they think of as “common folk.” They are the type of Black people who are Republicans - not because they have read Burke’s Reflection of a Revolution in France and truly believe in the ideals of the GOP — but because they feel that the “average Black person” is a Democrat, and they don’t want to be average. They are the kind of Black person who drinks cabernet sauvignon -not because the like the health benefits and love the bitter taste — but because all the other “average Black people (or ninjahs)” drink moscato. And they are far from average, by God. However, these people normally do not possess the vision, knowledge, skill, and/or testicular fortitude to distinguish themselves positively from the “average” Black person. And if we do not have skill, we resort to ridicule. If we lack fortitude, all we have left is a nasty, arrogant attitude.
In the end, this type of behavior, behavior that is dripping with an air of superiority, comes off as less than authentic and even clownish.
People like Jason Whitlock are real, live Homey D. Clowns masquerading as intellectuals, sports commentators, or even Black Republicans. They are not Michael Steele, former head of the Republican Party, who I believe genuinely cares about the state of Black America and advocates a two-party system for us. They are not The Last Poets, whose fiery poetry of “revolution” and change forced us to rethink some of our less than shining behavior and still inspires RAP (Rhythm & Poetry, emphasis on poetry) artists today. They are not even Mia Love, a Black woman Republican, who lost her race and clapped back at Trump when he came for her. And Jason Whitlock is certainly not an iconoclastic sports commentator possessing shrewd intellectual insights on how sports are both reflections and manifestations of long-held, stereotypical, all around ass-backwards notions of race, gender, and class in America. He is far from that.
Who is Jason Whitlock, then? I can tell you that Jason Whitlock is no dummy. Jason Whitlock is his own best marketer. He understands that we live in a digital world with perpetual news cycles. Jason Whitlock knows that our digital system rewards virility and not verity or truth.
I doubt if Jason Whitlock puts much thought into what he says and writes. He simply gauges where most Black Americans stand on a particular sports issue and says the opposite. On the one hand, he is rewarded by the most conservative elements of the sports world, who want to be exonerated by the guilt they feel for holding racist, stereotypical views of Black athletes. His words do not have to be true or even representative of Black America. No one even verifies what he says, because he is attuned with the psychology of the rich, white men who own and control the sports industrial complex as they use the labor of Black men who play sports. Jason Whitlock knows what they want to hear, and he delivers them the equivalent of an emotional Linus blanket by spoken and written word.
On the other hand, Jason Whitlock is doubly rewarded when Black American sports fans click on his stories, spread them on various social media pages as the very exemplification of a chocolate-dipped sports clown, and chastise him. We hashtag him. We caricature him. We keep him paid. “Going viral,” whether for something positive or negative, is rewarded. Possessing integrity and going for the truth, or verity, is not so. This is America, Jack. Popularity makes dollars and even presidents: the truth gets people martyred. In even chastising Whitlock, we contribute to his success. He keeps getting gigs, writing columns, and running his mouth on nationally-syndicated shows. This Faustian Homey D. Clown cares very little for how he portrays Black people and doesn’t give a damn about who disdains him. The gigs keep coming and the checks keep hitting his bank account. To a poser who fashions himself an iconoclast, the big payoff is all that matters. And I truly believe that he laughs at our angry behinds all the way to the bank!
If Black America would really like the Homey D. Clowns of our skin color on television to go away, we should practice ignoring them. Period. Ignore the clowns, maintain some integrity, tell our own truths, and teach our children that they don’t have to grub at the racist’s trough to eat. As long as we keep rewarding the Whitlocks of the world with clicks and hashtags, he will remain relevant. And these fake iconoclast/megalomaniacs will continue to distract us from missions at hand -where ever they choose to rear their half-bald, orange heads.
As always, if you like this, clap back at me (no, don’t diss me. Literally, press the clapback button), or you could always enroll in one of my classes.