About Me

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New York City, New York, United States
41 year old African-American Male. I like to think of myself as a jack of all trades and a master of none...I rely on reasoned common sense, rationality and what my gut tells me is right/wrong (combined with the well reasoned opinions of others!). I don't consider myself an expert on anything in particular, but I have lots of opinions.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Football Players As Slaves? Sounds a Little Crazy...

Football as modern day slavery? I have actually said this before to family and friends, but for different reasons (the draft reminds me of a slave auction in certain respects)...I personally think that this analogy does a disservice to the millions who toiled, endured and died under slavery (remember, slaves worked for free and really had no other objective choice).  It reminds me of when the entertainer Prince appeared in public with the words "slave" scrawled across his face in protest of a business issue with his record company or when Michael Jackson called the head of his record label a "racist" to protest the company's failure to promote one his albums...I don't think of [African] slavery as some taboo subject that should never be touched or discussed (like the word "nigger" that society has come to reference by using the inoucuous sounding term "the n word"...).  But, I do wish that people were more careful and thoughtful with their word choices---for (relatively) highly paid professional athletes (and, 2 of the biggest entertainers of the world) to [seemingly] throw around words like "slavery" and "racism" in advancement of their own personal agendas is problematic and it does a disservice to the countless people who have to function in a systematically unfair and unequitable culture as a result of racial injustice...Prince and Michael  may have had legitimate concerns with their record labels, and this player Adrian Peterson, has raised some interesting issues in the NFL players' battle with owners, but my personal opinion is that none of these claims (irrespective of the issues) rises to the level of "slavery"...(exploitation does come to mind, but again, its not the same thing---and quite frankly, exploitation of workers by owners is one of the hallmarks of capitalism...but, that's another issue).  Professor Ford discusses these issues in the book "The Race Card", which I finished reading a few weeks ago (interesting read, btw)...I have generally felt troubled with the way that words like "racism" "slavery" and similar terminology are thrown around in our culture by "both sides" in the debate (check out a minature version of the debate here as well as commentary on comments by Jalen Rose regarding the basketball program at Duke).  I am not so much worried or concerned with what "certain people" (i.e., well meaning whites) might think as I am with being factually accurate (chalk it up to the lawyer in me) and being historically "true"...(maybe my "liberal" bias?

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