Rob Parker’s description of Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III isn’t really insulting, Alfonzo Porter writes in a piece for The Root DC. In fact, Porter says, it’s refreshing to see a young black man who is self-actualized and knows who he is, where he is going and how to get there.
If Robert Griffin III is a “cornball”, then clearly cornball is compatible with aptitude, proficiency, talent and intelligence. Frankly, I’d like every young black man in America to be defined that way.
While the recent commentary by ESPN reporter, Rob Parker regarding the young Washington Redskins phenomenon may have caught others off guard — I could see it coming from ten miles away.
As an educator, I have had the privilege to work with African male students in a number of capacities: as a teacher, principal, counselor, coach, and mentor. The level of raw potential that I have witnessed has been nothing less than astonishing. And what hurts so bad is so much of it goes to waste because so many young black men are trying hard not be labeled “cornballs” and are living down to the stereotype of what black men are supposed to be.
I have worked with students with natural academic proclivities in virtually every academic content area. I’ve seen the brilliant, yet undeveloped scientist; the astute, but unfocused mathematician; the prolific yet nonetheless intemperate writer. They all seemed tortured and tried to hide their natural, intrinsic interests in lieu of dumbing down, in order to “keep it real”. After all, being intelligent, respectful, funny, smart and well-spoken is still not a “black thing”.
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