With the history of racism and discrimination in the U.S., black people have become very observant. These skills have become very honed and polished over the years due to inequalities in all aspects of life. This is a trait that has led to many a court case being brought to flush out racism, to the benefit of generations to come. Some people have tried to underestimate these observational skills by marginalizing them. This has spawned the phrase"playing the race card".
When black people point out inequalities in non-essential aspects of life, is that really playing the race card? Not exactly. Equality should be upheld in important things as well as things that may seem trivial. When we talk about equality in the classroom for all races, we also want equality when it comes to portrayal in the media. Equality in the workforce should also translate into equality in the world of high school sports. It may seem like we are comparing apples to oranges, but that is not the case. You see, equality has a climate attached to it. When you taste equality in one area of your life, you want that same equality in other mundane areas of your life, especially when it is fair.
I recognize that there are more important examples of unfair treatment in the world, but I want to highlight a current case in the media to show how many black people become jaded. In my book Plain Talk Volume 1, I talk about how the media often sensationalizes the mishaps of celebrities of color. I used Michael Jackson, Kanye West, and Serena Williams as examples. I even had an article questioning why the Kanye West/Taylor Swift debacle was overblown in the media, as opposed to the John Mayer incident. If race is not an issue in these cases, it always comes off that way.
That brings me to another situation: the Ben Roethlisberger alleged sexual assault in Georgia. Many people of color are monitoring this situation internally to see if Big Ben will be treated the same way that Kobe Bryant of Michael Vick have been treated. So far he has been treated better. There have not been immediate calls for him to be released from his contract. He is still being treated by the media with kid gloves. I can remember when Kobe Bryant was accused of sexual assault, there was gratuitous coverage on all the cable news shows. Many people were already convicting him of rape. They were talking about Kobe registering as a sex offender in Colorado and what that would do to his life. His personal life was like an open book at that point.
Michael Vick was given the harshest treatment of any current athlete that I have ever seen. At first, he was already convicted of his crime before he went to trial in the court of the media. Once again, an overabundance of Mike Vick dogfighting stories graced the news. It was lopsided as far as race when it came to Vick supporters and detractors. Even after being convicted and serving time in Kansas, many people were still showing hostility towards Mike Vick. To this day, I still read blogs where people are calling Mike Vick a dog murder and other vile names. If Big Ben is found guilty of sexual assault, will they have the same animosity towards him? I don't condone dog fighting or any type of violence towards animals, but does it equate with sexually violating another human being? Are we comparing apples to oranges? I don't want the media to treat Ben Roethlisberger with the same venom that they did Kobe and Vick. My point is, why did the media treat Kobe and Vick the way they did? Am I playing the race card for asking these questions? Am I comparing apples to oranges? You decide!!!
When Big Ben was charged the first time, many wondered why it wasn't being reported in the media. Click here to read about it.