Super Bowl 50 Black Panthers

To be clear, that might not be a bad thing because I honestly think race relations might have been a little better off 10 years ago.  This might be one of the strangest Super Bowls I can remember since I thought I saw Janet Jackson’s nipple but we didn’t have DVR back then so I couldn’t really know for sure.  Cam Newton was criticized for having too much fun while winning which somehow instantly became a debate about race because black people apparently dance when they have fun and white people just do a soft clap and yell, “hear hear old chap.” Then Beyonce came out and did an homage dance to the Black Panthers because that was absolutely necessary, that’s why.  Lady, you worth $450 million and your husband is worth $650 million.  When you have a billion dollars in your family and the President of the United States would answer your phone call, the Black Panthers just might call you white in the 1960’s.  I’m never worth more than my last paycheck and I can’t get Comcast to return my call.  I might have 99 problems, but you got like 3, maybe 4, tops.

The Racial Divide

Look, I get that race is a constant subtext in our national dialogue but am I wrong for longing for the day when it is not.  I don’t fault society per say as growing up in the South, my mother can remember when schools were integrated.  That means we are truly just one generation removed from the time when blacks and whites couldn’t go to school together and when you consider modern society we have come quite a way.  As late as 1997, when it came time for Senior awards like most humorous or most athletic, my High School still voted for one black and one white to include Prom King and Queen.  It was certainly equal in one sense, unless you were the one Asian kid in Bolivar, TN, but hardly a progressive way to introduce youth to adult life.

race in Super Bowl 50
race in Super Bowl 50

I have come to believe that if you call a dog a name long enough, he starts to answer to it.  I don’t know whether it is today, tomorrow, or 50 years from now, but there must come a point where we cease to progress the narrative of race and highlight our common humanity.  The history of slavery and the subsequent effects of segregation on our society are real and any white person who tries to deny that is foolish and intellectually dishonest.  You can’t take away the opportunity to earn wealth and live free for an entire generation of grandparents and expect their grandchildren to be just fine and like those who endured none of it.  But the answer is always looking forward and never looking back for us all.

NFL Legend Payton Manning

Instead of highlighting Cam’s supposed blackness, I’m going to go the opposite route.  Look, I’m a white guy but I am here to tell you that when Peyton Manning said after the Super Bowl that he was going to go home and “drink a lot of Budweiser” tonight that he couldn’t have sounded anymore white if he had said he was heading home to “dip crackers in milk.”

Peyton Manning dancing to Rocky Top
Peyton Manning dancing to Rocky Top

I don’t believe that racial stereotypes ought to define a person but I think it less than healthy to dismiss the idea that we all carry them to one degree or another.  If we were playing a Milton Bradley game of Guess Who and you told me this Super Bowl winning QB rushed for negative 13 yards all season and celebrated his victory by “drinking a lot of Budweiser”, you would drop all the African-American faces on your game board now wouldn’t you?

If I ever peek inside of Manning’s fridge and see anything other than leftover Papa John’s pizza, Budweiser, or chicken parmesan I’m going to be a really disappointed soul.  Yes, you can’t deny that Peyton Manning is a rich white old man, but you also can’t deny he earned every penny through performance.  Granted, if he had taken the hits Brett Favre had taken in the NFC championship game against the Saints this would be a eulogy rather than a blog, but he did his part to win the Super Bowl which was basically the plan of don’t lose it old man and stay out of Von Miller’s way.

Cam’s Children

Cam Newton had a son born this year and his child, despite all the rhetoric in the media about race, will never come close to having a life resembling that of my children.  He is an amazing athlete and he will get paid as such.  I believe one day he will be a Super Bowl MVP and one day say, “I’m going to Disney World!”  Meanwhile, my daughter is literally saving money in a piggy bank to go to Disney World.  I can’t afford a trip and that is honest.  She is saving her money and I’ll take her there one day, but she will never know that her daddy had to put it on credit and work extra hours writing to pay it off.

We may not have progressed to the point in society where we don’t see the color of one’s skin, but we have progressed to value the color of green more than them all.  If persons of color with wealth want to help people of color without I think that it honorable and noble.  However, I think that those with wealth, fame, and influence who will not have to live with the same conditions are doing them a disservice by advancing the narrative of the racial divide rather than progress.  America got very much horribly wrong in regards to race, but lives are only advanced by the future and you would think those with a billion dollars would realize that.  I have said it before in my article, Race Relations in the Military, I wish we could simply endure enough of the suck of life together that we see each other for who we are and realize always forward is the answer.  I would baste and cook every white person I know if they tried to harm one of my fellow dark green Marines.

Stolen Valor Veterans

I’m white, I said that from day one and I confess there are key elements to the black experience in America I simply can’t understand.  But I don’t believe I am wrong for holding to the conviction that the message from Obama, Beyonce, Jay-Z, Cam Newton, and whoever else should be “come join me” and not, “your grandfather had it rough.”  The best boss I ever worked for is an African-American woman and the best officer I ever knew in the United States Marine Corps is an African-American male.  I am a white dude, but I want to join the example those two people set for me.  I want to join them because their character and performance is such that it inspires greatness within me.  Ought not that be the national conversation.  This entire article is a plea to pull back from the rhetoric and foward to progress.

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2 Replies to “Super Bowl 50 Just Might Have Set Back Race Relations 10 Years”

  1. A very solid read. This is EXACTLY how we can fix the stupid and outdated ideals in this country that just need to fade into the history books. Thank you Jeff for this article. I hope more people read it and listen.

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