KEEP ON DANCING CAM NEWTON: SPORTS AND RACE
By Fahim A. Knight-El
America is never going to change, when it comes to African American people and although, Cam Newton has transcended so many things, but being black in America disallows us to transcend racial stereotypes and discrimination—we still live under the rules of modern Jim Crow. It does not matter how great we are, they expect us to conform to the rules of white supremacy in order to be accepted within the good ole boy and good ole girl clubs, you have to change your voice, how you dress, what you eat and quietly embrace white culture and this will get you that big contract, Madison and Fifth Avenue advertisement deal—trust me I get that and we should exploit those markets, but not at the expense of our manhood and our identity.
I am a black man and I am proud to be a black man—I am educated have some money not a lot and yes I got some Ghettos in my family, we all do (hell I am by-product of Ghetto sociology and psychology and I am not a shame to admit it) but it is all about who we are and the black experience.
I do not eat pork and not much fried food, but when I get with my family, we are going have some fried chicken, collar greens, fried fish, potato salad and someone is going to bring some beer and some liquor (and one of my brothers, sisters or cousins are going to yell out let this damn party begin) and for desert a sweet potato pie.
Now, some whites do not have a clue about black culture, we also are going to have some good old school music and good new school music and like Cam we are going to dance and celebrate the occasion (that is ordinarily how we celebrate the Super Bowl and any other festive event, but for us African Americans this Super Bowl is even more special, because we have a black quarterback sitting at center stage).
My point is Cam Newton, is part of the black experience he is connected to our collective struggles as a people and I think it is unfair that the white media keeps besmirching him because of who he is—he is from the Hip-Hop culture generation and we should allow this young man to express himself without being vilified. Newton shows his philanthropy spirit by each touchdown he scores, he takes the ball and give it to a kid in the stands and most of those kids that have received those balls have been white children. But I guess that does not count.
I am dire heart basketball fan, but of recent years I have become a huge football fan. I just like Cam Newton’s approach to the game, but I think my seventeen year old daughters likes him a lot better than me (damn it she is fascinated with Cam and when he comes on television daddy do not get any love, it all goes Cam’s way). I think my wife to is a secret admire of Cam also.
Yes, I have become a Carolina Panther fan over the years mainly, because of Cam Newton being a high proficient black quarterback who is a phenomenon athlete who was a former Heisman Trophy winner at Auburn University and has won on every level. But often athletes transcend sports based on the political and social culture we live under (Cam is doing this in his own way).
But lets be clear Cam Newton is not the first black quarterback to play in National Football league (NFL) and in the Super Bowl. Perhaps, some of the younger audience on Facebook and social media have never heard of Doug Williams out of a little black school named Grambling State University (SWAC—HBCU Conference) in Louisiana that has turned out some top black football players in the past and where the legendary coach the late Eddie Robinson coached what seemed to have been like a century and perhaps might still be the most winning college football coach of all times. Doug Williams won a Super Bowl with the Washington Redskins and I can remember the scrutiny that Williams was under as a black quarterback.
The white dominant culture has started to say some racial hate-filled mean-spirited things against this young black quarterback Cam Newton, because he dares to be different, thus, race is always a variable and those who are the beneficiaries of what social critic Tim Wise calls white privilege once again is seeking to dominate how the world views this young gifted and black extraordinary athlete (here is a kid who stands about 6 foot 6 inches and weigh about 260 pounds in which he is bigger than some defensive ends and moves like a cat). He has the skills to stand in the pocket, or get outside the pocket and/or beat you with his legs (he is actually a triple threat quarterback).
Let me remind you all he is not the first black athlete to dance in the end zone. I am older enough to remember Billy “White Shoes” Johnson of the Houston Oilers and Deon “Primetime” Sanders (a two sport athlete) they put on mere concerts in the end zone. But for some odd reasons Newton’s dancing seems to offend some white people. Their notion of offensiveness is rooted in white racism and historically black men had to play the roll of being docile and accommodating to the white power structure (perhaps it is these norms and values that still governs their attitudes towards black men).
The symbolism of Cam Newton’s dancing, it is a sense of personal expression and I do not need boss to tell me when and how in the hell I am supposed to celebrate. Now, Cam Newton is not a social activist, he is not a Curt Flood or Jim Brown (the Hall Famer and former Cleveland Brown running back who has always stood on issues of social justice); Cam is not Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale (Black Panther Party) and he is definitely not Muhammad Ali one of the greatest athletes of all times who viewed himself as a militant social activist. Ali openly stood for social justice and was willing to the pay the political price.
Cam Newton is not a member of the 1968 American Olympic Athletes who during the awards ceremony in Mexico City Games where the three black tracking and field stars raised their black glove fist in a black power gesture in solidarity of the Black Power Movement that was taking place in America.
Yet, I am not surprised of the racism and bigotry he is experiencing thus, look at what has taking place with America’s first black president in Barack Obama—our brother has been disrespected although he holds the highest office in the world (even his disrespect is rooted in American style racism) so Cam Newton is in good company. Many of you might remember that at one time in the National Football League, they said that the position of quarterback was reserved for white players only, because they said blacks were not intelligent enough to master the playbook, read coverages and lead the team.
Nevertheless, James Earl Harris, Randal Cunningham, Warren Moon, Donovan McNabb, Michael Vick, Steve “Air” McNair (Alcorn State—HBCU), etc., proved the racist critics wrong, that in deed we had the intelligence to be the signal caller. Cam Newton will prove them wrong this coming Sunday when he demonstrates not only his superior athletic ability but his superior intelligence as a black quarterback. So white folk and black folk put on your dancing shoes, because Cam is going dance the Carolina Panthers to a Super Bowl win, and my favorite Cam Newton dance is the twist (I think Jackie Wilson and James Brown would be proud of Cam's dance steps).
Fahim A. Knight Chief Researcher for KEEPING IT REAL THINK TANK located in
; our mission is to inform African Americans and all people of good will of the pending dangers that lie ahead; as well as decode the symbolisms and reinterpret the hidden meanings behind those who operate as invisible forces, but covertly rules the world. We are of the belief that an enlighten world will be better prepared to throw off the shackles of ignorance and not be willing participants for the slaughter. Our MOTTO is speaking truth to power. Fahim A. Knight can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, , Durham NC