Hopkins, McNabb and Willful Ignorance

It's time to end the "house vs. field" debate among African Americans.

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I'm not convinced that the mind-set referred to there is always "willful ignorance." I think it's often "unintentional ignorance," fueled by stereotype-driven messages that bombard the minds of Hopkins and his ilk. And since most of those messages are delivered through the media, what better vehicle to counteract them?

African-American athletes are among our most visible symbols of black life. Consequently, they have the best ability to influence a large audience -- certainly audiences larger than the numbers who tune in to the likes of scholars Henry Louis Gates Jr. (The Root's editor-in-chief), Cornel West and Michael Eric Dyson when they appear on TV.

So whenever a Hopkins, a Rose or some other high-profile athlete or entertainer utters nonsense about the definition of blackness, we should all welcome the opportunity to -- as Wilbon said -- shout them down on through every outlet possible.

Hopefully, the more that happens, the less ignorance there will be. Willful or otherwise.

Deron Snyder, an award-winning journalist who covers sports, politics and pop culture, is a regular contributor to The Root. He can be reached at deron@blackdoorventures.com.

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