Terrible trend: Racist label gets thrown around way too much in today’s media world

It really bothers me when somebody in the media is accused of being “a racist.” It’s a horrible label to hang on a person, and it happens too frequently in today’s blog, Twitter-mad world.

To wit, this headline in Deadspin about David Whitley: “Who is this hack who wrote about Colin Kaepernick’s tattoos. And why is he such a racist dicktroll?”

You could say many things about Whitley, but the AOL FanHouse columnist at SportingsNews.com is not a racist.

In an earlier post today, Whitley defended himself in the wake of a column he wrote about Colin Kaepernick’s tattoos. He said: “If they were old enough to read, my two adopted African-American daughters would certainly be disappointed to find out I’m a racist.”

Indeed, they would.

People who know him know better about Whitley. ESPN’s Jemele Hill said in a tweet:

I worked with Whitley in Orlando. I don’t agree with his column, but he’s a terrific guy. #NotRacist

Whitley pointed out in his response to me that his column wasn’t based on race. There are plenty of white athletes with tattoos, he said.

Isn’t he right? Just look around, folks. White Pitchers, white linebackers, white power forwards, white hockey players, etc.

Whitley’s point is you don’t see many NFL quarterbacks sporting tattoos like Colin Kaepernick.

Was Whitley guilty of stereotyping? Sure. He makes it seems like anyone, white or African-American, who gets a tattoo is one step away from San Quentin.

Whitley is a funny, entertaining fellow, and his columns usually are in the same vein. Perhaps he missed with this one.

Indianapolis Star columnist Bob Kravitz said in a tweet:

I’m not going to pile on David Whitley today. We’ve all swung and missed on columns. He’s a terrific writer who missed the mark. It happens.

It’s become fashionable to accuse media people of being a racist. Earlier this year, New York Post columnist Phil Mushnick was called a racist for a column on the Brooklyn Nets. Mushnick might have gone over the line in making a point, but any regular reader of his columns knows it is absurd to call him a racist.

I’m sure some people will say I’m a racist for defending Whitley. I already got a note with this lovely opening: “You are a fuckin idiot….You gotta be kidding….Hypocrytical peice  of trash trying to come to the defense of a blatent closet racist.”

Thanks for writing.

I’m sorry, but calling somebody a racist is too much of a knee-jerk reaction. And it’s about the worst thing you could call somebody. It’s just irresponsible, especially coming from somebody in the media.

Just think about it. How would you like it if somebody hung the racist label on you?

It could happen. Just ask David Whitley.








One thought on “Terrible trend: Racist label gets thrown around way too much in today’s media world

  1. I’m afraid that you are letting Whitley off the hook. The notion that being labeled a racist “is the worst thing you could call somebody” could not be farther from the truth. You mean worse than the N-word? Spic? Chink? Bytch? How many white men have falsely spent 20 years in jail because they were labeled a racist (correctly or incorrectly)? Yet how many young black men found themselves harrassed, stopped and frisked, jailed, and even killed precisely because of the stereotype Whitley writes about.

    Trust me. Whitley will be just fine. He does not need a defense from his friends, but sincere encouragement of introspection. Young black men who look like Kaepernick, but don’t share his talent will not be fine.

    If as you conclude, Whitley is not racist, then his comments are that much more dangerous because it means that such an opinion can be formulated by anyone. And this mindset has real consequences in the real world.

    When the discussion of these so-called terrible labels has ended, consider more closely Whitley’s words and get real about WHAT HE SAID. But watch this vid first, so that you can critically examining WHAT HE SAID


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