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Entries in Jalen Rose (1)


Foul Shots - Chris 'Preach' Smith

"You talk like a white boy!"

To this day, I can still remember where I was, the sun
going down in the sky at that time and the half-sneer
that went along with those words. I was in high school,
a different one than friends on the block went to. Way
different being that it was up in Northern Queens. Once
you add in the fact that I was a late bloomer in some
respects and still had a mother's love that could be
overprotective at times, I was bound to get clowned
on by my friends. But that was something I didn't even
expect. My response? I cursed back, we all laughed it
off and that was the end of it. But the sting was still
there in my blood. That's one of the worst tags to hang
on a Black person, period.

I felt that same sting rise up again this past Sunday night
as I watched "The Fab Five" documentary on ESPN. It was
a great documentary, but one segment has become its
calling card in an unfortunate way. Jalen Rose, one of the
talented Michigan freshmen, spoke on how he and the
other guys viewed Grant Hill and other Black players from
Duke University. "Uncle Toms". That phrase became all
anyone would talk about from the program. And for the
past couple of days, it's been nothing short of a firestorm
for Rose and Hill, who wrote an eloquent blog for the New
York Times as a rebuttal.

Thing is, I wish the issue didn't just get portrayed as an
'us vs. them' debate not only among Black folks, but at
large. Let's be frank; Rose was honest about how he felt,
but took great pains to explain that was his mindstate in
the past. One thng people missed out of the documentary
was that Ice Cube alluded to the same thing in his comments
throughout the program. And by and large, a good deal of
people in the Black community have felt that way about
Duke University, and some still do given the lacrosse team
incident a couple of years back. It hurts to admit it, but it
is there. I wished Grant didn't have to defend himself, but
he had no other choice both as a man and as a son. What
gets me is that in the samplings of discussions I've seen on
the 'Net, few are willing to discuss the pain and stigma such
words can have. I've met people who have suffered great
psychological pain over this and I've had to deal with some
of my own. At this stage in our history on this continent, we
shouldn't have to hash this out in simplistic terms. Yet we
keep doing it. I'm not saying Jalen should be absolved of
blame; as a producer, you have final say on what gets cut
in editing so he should have expected it. I think what should
occur after this, if both men are willing, is that they take part
in a roundtable interview on the subject and include other
athletes of color. Because this is something that still takes
place and we need to move past it. We can't have any more
foul shots like this pointed towards each other.