Getty Images for Walter Kaitz/Larry Busacca

Sage Steele just won’t stop Sage Steele-ing. That’s right, the ESPN anchor has become a verb because she has insisted on antagonizing black people as one of the loudest voices of respectability politics. For a better look at how Sage Steele became Sage Steele-ing, please see a list of her transgressions below.

Sage Steele-ing is when a black person allows a white person to touch her hair.

Sage Steele-ing is complaining that a protest against the killing of unarmed black men, women and children is un-American.

Sage Steele-ing is bitching on social media about how a protest against the worst president ever is totally messing up one’s travel plans.

And, now, Sage Steele-ing is her claiming that the worst racism she’s ever experienced is from black people.

During a panel discussion at Under Our Skin, a forum to discuss tough issues on race, Steele said:

There are times that I believe that we, as African Americans, can be hypocritical, and that is to not look ourselves in the mirror when we are saying certain things and blaming other groups for one thing when we are doing the exact same thing. ... The worst racism that I have received [as a biracial woman married to a white man], and I mean thousands and thousands over the years, is from black people, who in my mind thought would be the most accepting because there has been that experience. ... But even as recent[ly] as the last couple of weeks, the words that I have had thrown at me I can’t repeat here, and it’s 99 percent from people with my skin color. But if a white person said those words to me, what would happen? ... How do we, [with Christianity] as our foundation, address this honestly with each other and these communities? Because to me, if we don’t start with ourselves in any issue, how can you point the fingers at somebody else?


Look, I’m under no illusion that Steele hasn’t received a strong side eye from segments of black America, but I really wish she’d stop acting as if she didn’t know where it’s coming from. Steele has been one of the loudest voices in the African-American community criticizing the African-American community. I’ve not heard Sage Steele wax indignant on systemic racism; I’ve not heard Sage Steele talk about police violence in the community. In fact, when Canadian Win Butler, singer for Arcade Fire, tried to talk politics that Steele didn’t agree with, she cut him off.

When Black Lives Matter protests were rampant throughout professional sports, it was Steele who decided to take to Twitter to claim that the protests were un-American.


The reason black America was disturbed by her reaction was that America has historically portrayed black protest as un-American. It’s a racially divisive trick of which America is fond: Create dissension between the protester and the public, call the protester un-American, and then you can invalidate the protest.

It wasn’t that Steele wasn’t entitled to her opinion; it was just annoying to see a black woman take on the mantle for a white trope, and a tired white trope at that.

So, at this point, because Steele won’t quit, she has verbed herself as the holder of continuous L’s. Here’s to hoping she’ll find her way, but my suspicion is that a black woman who will let MMA fighter Chael Sonnen touch her hair (like she’s an animal on display) on national television has been permanently banned from the cookout.