December 17, 2012
RGIII
(Charles Rex Arbogast/AP)

If one of the burdens of being a black male is carrying the heavy weight of other people’s suspicions, then another is enduring someone else’s condescending critique that you’re not black enough. It is a universal annoyance that transcends all socioeconomic strata. I’ve been confronted by it. President Obama has had to contend with it.  And now Robert Griffin III (that’s  RGIII, to you) has to deal with it.

Rob Parker hurled the noxious blacker-than-thou putdown at the Redskins phenom during a show on ESPN last week.

 

Rob Parker: But my question, which is just a straight, honest question, is: Is he a brother or is he a cornball brother?

Cari Champion: What does that mean?

Skip Bayless: Explain that.”

Parker: He’s not real. OK, he’s black, he kind of does the thing, but he’s not really down with the cause. He’s not one of us. He’s kind of black but he’s not really, like, the guy you want to hang out with because he’s off to something else.

Champion: Why is that your question?

Parker: Well, because that’s just how I want to find out about him. I don’t know because I keep hearing these things. We all know he has a white fiancée. There was all this talk about how he’s a Republican, which, I don’t really care, there’s no information at all. I’m just trying to dig deeper into why he has an issue. Because we did find out with Tiger Woods. Tiger Woods was like, I’ve got black skin but don’t call me black.

That Parker’s cornball thinking got him suspended indefinitely from ESPN should be applauded. What he said was racist and ignorant. White people have been fired for saying similarly racist and ignorant things. Just because Parker and Griffin are black doesn’t give him cover for what he said. Besides, who the hell made him the arbiter of all things black?

As The Post’s Jason Reid wrote on Friday, “[T]here isn’t only one black experience. It’s just wrong to try to fit every African American into the same box.” Writer and MSNBC anchor Toure’ devoted an entire book to  this very subject. The overarching theme of “Who’s Afraid of Post-Blackness”  is “to attack and destroy the idea that there is a correct or legitimate way of doing blackness.”

There isn’t. To suggest otherwise is ignorant, arrogant and wrong. The sooner blacker-than-thou “identity cops” like Parker understand this the better.

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Jonathan Capehart is a member of the Post editorial board and writes about politics and social issues for the PostPartisan blog.