What they do not understand that if you are black, even if you are the president of the United States, like Barack Obama, or the quarterback of the Super Bowl bound Carolina Panthers, like Cam Newton, race still matters.
It resonates in so many ways, and so many instances for black folk.
Consider that in Flint, Mi., you can’t even drink water from a fountain because it is poison. And the citizens of Flint have no real voting power because of a state take over. It will come as no surprise that Flint is 70 percent black.
So, how far have we really come? Racism isn’t dead. It is just more subtle and sophisticated. The South has just joined the North in their nearly two century mastering of the illusion of equity.
That is why during Wednesday’s meeting with the media, Carolina’s Newton said his ethnicity plays a role in how he is judged by some people.
“I’m an African-American quarterback that may scare a lot of people because they haven’t seen nothing they can compare me to,” Newton said.
“People are going to judge and have opinions on things I don’t have control over,” explained Newton.
“It’s like here I am, I’m doing exactly what I want to do, how I want to do it, and when I look in the mirror, it’s me,” he said. “Nobody changed me, nobody made me act this certain way, and I’m true to my roots. But yet people are going to say whatever they’re going to say.
“If I’m in this world living for that person, then I can’t look at myself and say I’m Cam Newton – or Cameron Newton to most people – because I’m not. I’m living for you, you know what I’m saying?”
Newton was addressing the criticism he has gotten for his exuberance on the field, which some feel is arrogant, cocky, and disrespectful to the game, especially the quarterback position.
I understand exactly what Newton is saying, and it is not surprising. Look at what President Obama, the most powerful man in the world, has endured. A Farleigh Dickinson University study from 2013 said that 64 percent of Republicans believe he was born in Kenya. A University of California survey in 2015 said that 54 percent of Republicans believe he is Muslim, as if that is something evil, which it is not.
The deal is that some white people hate the fact a black man can be president of the United States. They hate the fact a black man can play MVP football at the quarterback position. If ever there were two jobs designated to show the strength and power of white men in America, that is the office of the president, and the quarterback position in the National Football League.
These people simply feel that black folk should be incapable of handling the responsibilities of the most powerful job in the world, or playing the most important position in America’s most beloved sport to the level that Newton has.
Those who feel that way don’t like this change that has come to America. They like their presidents to be white men, and their star quarterbacks, too. Expect those who feel that way to fight that change until the bitter end.