I was at a restaurant waiting for a friend to arrive and got online on my phone and came across this crazy CNN.com headline article entitled “‘Black Thanksgiving’ this weekend”. I read a few paragraphs thinking, “WTF, this is a weird article” and then my friend arrived. Now it’s gone from CNN.com’s site, but it looks like Huffington picked up on it.
The Huffington Post link leads to an archived version of the CNN story. I read the CNN story. There is nothing racist about it. It’s just cultural commentary by a black journalist. It’s not derogatory towards any races. The short HP article comes across as race baiting . David Aldridge’s article doesn’t.
I see nothing wrong with the original article that got pulled.
A co-worker showed me this article and I told him I did not know what the fuck CNN was talking about. I’ve been to an NBA All-Star weekend. I’ve also celebrated Thanksgiving. These two things have nothing in common. I’ve never heard any body ever call the NBA All-Star Weekend the Black Thanksgiving and I’ve been black all my life.
um… i found loads of things offensive with DA’s article. the nba all-star game is now black thanksgiving? what is the point ALDRIGDGE/WILBON are trying to make? black people love basketball?
it’s the social event of the year for NBA athletes, for sure. however, they’re claiming it’s the social, and cultural apex of black americans everywhere? newsflash… the crowds at the staple center is full of lily white glitterati, and their equally white children. the after-parties? the smart money will say there will be more white women there than black.
another point i found racist is the harping that black people are somehow more in tune with rhythm and thus can appreciate basketball (and jazz?) moreso than other races. oh, ok. jazz and hoops are “good” stereotypes so we can accept that. chicken, watermelon, and cotton fields are bad, and anyone that says black people appreciate THOSE things more than other racist is a klansman. Chinese people are better at martial arts, programming, and producing child violinists are “good” but don’t dare bring up dog eating.
this professor “todd boyd” is some kind of jacked up sociologist. the fact that he can declare that athletes are royalty in the black community, while Barack freakin Obama sits in office is beyond me. It just portrays every single black person in America as Arthur Agee, waiting for his Hoop Dreams to come into fruition. Unbelievable.
No, they are not claiming that. Aldridge is simply claiming it has become a large social event for many Black Americans.
Where does the article say this? The article simply compares two different elements admired in Black culture. In no way does he diminish any other culture in making that comparison. You’re reading an awful lot into that article, which reflects more on you than it does on Aldridge.
Why is a Black journalist commenting about well-known elements of Black culture suddenly racist? Do you feel excluded because the article wasn’t about the United Colors of Benetton? The article is not derogatory to Blacks or any other race. It’s simply states that this weekend is very important to a lot of Blacks. Yes, Aldridge may be overstating it (and Wilbon certainly was). But then you should be offended by his poor writing, not by non-existent references to cotton pickin’ and collard greens.
No, it doesn’t. It simply comments on the importance of All-Star Weekend to many Black Americans.
um… AM i reading too much into it? He says that the NBA all-star weekend is a large social event for many black americans? it is not. it just flat out is not. to assume so is racist. it’s as racist as saying the Scripp’s Spelling Bee is the South Indian Thanksgiving. for Aldridge to say that NBA players are royalty amongst black americans is not JUST commenting on the importance of the all-star game to many black americans. it’s making a sweeping generalization about ALL black americans.
as for reading into the hoops/jazz thing? it was mainly the sentence that said
“Basketball is a culture. It isn’t for everyone, though the game is loved by people of all colors. There is a rhythm to it, just as if McCoy Tyner was dribbling a ball instead of playing piano.”
This compounded with the millions of other instances where people claim Jazz, Hoops, and Hip Hop as exclusively “black domain” really irks me to no end.
What evidence do you have for this? Do you happen to know a Black Americans who has no interest in the NBA All-Star Weekend? That is not evidence. Or is this simply a feeling you have?
I agree that *assuming *the NBA all-star weekend is a large social event for many Black Americans may be racist. But Aldridge is a Black man who makes a living working closely with people involved in the NBA. I think he is doing more than just assuming. He’s writing an article based on his personal and professional experiences, he doesn’t need to assume anything in that regard.
No, it’s not a sweeping generalization about ALL Black Americans. It’s a comment about many Black Americans. Again, because he’s a Black man working in the NBA environment, in my eyes he has a lot more credibility discussing the NBA’s importance in Black culture than you do.
In no way did Aldridge make a claim that either Jazz or Hoops is exclusively a “black domain”. In fact, he said “the game is loved by people of all colors”. He simply compared two things that are of some significance in Black culture.
So yes, in my opinion, you ARE reading way too much into it.
well… first off. my (and biggirl’s) anecdotal evidence is false, but david aldridge’s anecdotal evidence makes his assertion worthwhile?
how about the LACK of evidence? if all-star weekend is the capstone event of the year for black americans… surely there would be evidence for this? happy all-star-weekend hallmark cards, communal viewings, a google homepage homage… SOMETHING? ANYTHING?
what does the article cite? the frequency of people calling him - an nba.com sportswriter? all-star parties? a media studies professor at USC? this translates to the universal acceptance of basketball as a culture, and the celebration of the all-star game? such embrace that the weekend can be called “the black thanksgiving” ?
and as for him crowning athletes as “black royalty” carrying more weight than my incredulity, you cannot be serious. Even if the comment is aimed at “many” black americans, it is still racist. What if I called HIV, the “black cold” because MANY black people have that disease? What if I said that the “black retirement home” was prison for MANY black americans? hey now, i didn’t say “all” and i DO have statistical evidence that african americans are at higher risk of both jail and HIV… not racist? or is it racist because i’m not black and i don’t work for NBA.com?
ok fine. i might be reading too much into it, i suppose. but i counter that you might not be reading enough into it.
What anecdotal evidence do you have? I’m saying that so far you don’t have any evidence, you are only making claim that counters Aldridge’s claim, and he is part of the culture about which he is making the claim, so I find his claims far more beliveable. And the only claim Biggirl makes is “I’ve never heard any body ever call the NBA All-Star Weekend the Black Thanksgiving”. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. Aldridge never claimed that all Black Americans call ASW “Black Thanksgiving”. He said that Michael Wilbon did.
My main problem with your posts is that you are taking Aldridge’s comments and interpreting them at an extreme end:
[Underlining emphasis is mine]
I also disagree with you that it’s racist. Just because he’s talking about race doesn’t make it racist. He doesn’t cast a negative light on anyone or any race. That’s where I think you are reading between the lines.
So be it. You and I will never share the same perspective on this.
Why compare it to Thanksgiving if not to suggest it’s important to the vast majority of black folks? Thanksgiving is celebrated by most Americans (estimates online put the number in the 95%+ range), after all. The article doesn’t say that All Star weekend is celebrated with a turkey dinner, or that it’s modeled after a game between the Pilgrims and native Americans, so what else could they possibly be suggesting by comparing it to Thanksgiving?
He casts a negative light by saying that Black people value a sports game to the level that we value our national history. And one of the stereotypes of Black people is that they care too much about sports.
The only saving ground would be if the statement were true. But not only does his only evidence come from anecdotes, but have a counter-anecdote saying that no one Biggirl knows calls it “Black Thanksgiving.”
Finally, it is possible to be racist without making a disparaging remark. For example, imagine a White guy saying to a Black guy “Well, you guys have rhythm, don’t ya?” It’s a compliment, and yet by equating that one guy with his entire race, he made a racist statement. He just basically said that he thinks all black people are the same.
Which means he’s writing about his experiences in an echo chamber consisting of himself and sportswriters and NBA players and fans rabid enough to travel across the country in hopes of getting into a party where a player might show up. But what you hear in an echo chamber tends to be, at best, tangentially related to what you hear outside it, and it’s a colossal mistake to try and extrapolate the echo chamber to the outside world. That’s what makes this such a silly article; Aldridge is trying to extrapolate his sports-centric echo chamber to the rest of the world, and it leaves people scratching their heads and wondering what the fuck he’s been smoking. So yes, he’s making assumptions, and they’re bad ones.
All that aside, the Thanksgiving analogy is bad on a lot of levels. As has been pointed out, Thanksgiving is almost universally celebrated. I don’t know the percentage of the general population, or even the black population (and it’s black, not Black, race is not a proper noun) is attending ASW, but I’d be pretty damn shocked if it got above single digits. Furthermore, Thanksgiving is typically not celebrated by going to corporate or celebrity-sponsored parties, but rather by having a big meal at home with your loved ones. Finally, the whole point of the events is completely different–ASW is about celebrities showing off, and Thanksgiving is about being grateful for the good things in your life.
Now, if he’d called ASW “the black Superbowl”…that analogy I’d buy.