Interview with ESPN Columnist, Jemele Hill Part 2: #42; Pacman; Pokey, and; the Real NBA MVP

In Part 2 of this conversation, Jemele and I converse candidly about some issues that need to be addressed in sports. I really appreciate her honesty. It’s unusual to hear someone voice their true thoughts in such an arena. She deserves mad props for understanding the true meaning of what The Starting Five is all about. My wish is that all writers would be this forthcoming because only then will sports fans truly learn through a writer’s extensive experience as well as the sports they cover. We see sports differently than fans. The levels and layers of understanding are vastly different because its our specialty. These interviews have that in mind, so begin to see a little more objectively and open up your perspective of sports in general.

MT: Are you comfortable with the way MLB is celebrating the anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking into the major leagues? What’s your opinion or earliest memory of Jackie Robinson?

JH: I think Jackie Robinson is probably one of the most underrated athletes of our time. His place in history is also underrated. Reading what he went through is just like a Hank Aaron story, it literally brings a tear to your eye. It makes you respect him that much more when you see what he had to endure. I have read his story many times. I have interviewed people in his family and I am stunned every single time at how he did it. It makes me almost embarrassed when I hear certain athletes talk about how they face racism. They use this word lightly. They don’t really understand what racism is until they take a peek at what Jackie Robinson had to go through. I believe that MLB plans to have everyone wear the number #42 on April 15th to celebrate his anniversary, which I feel is a fine tribute. I think his place in history has been solidified. He was just an amazing man. Someone wrote a book about his impact on integration—which I think is something for a far deeper conversation. What is interesting is how integration affected the inner cities and not always in a good way. Obviously a great door was opened but at the same time it is interesting to me that a great door was also closed when you look at what happened with the inner cities regarding culture and sports.

MT: This is a hypothetical question. David Wilson, also of the Starting Five, and I talk about this all the time. Do you think that MLB would be different if say, Josh Gibson was Jackie Robinson?

JH: Do you mean would the home run record be different?

MT: No, just in terms of how everything is portrayed.

JH: You mean the difference in Jackie and Josh’s personalities.

MT: Yes.

JH: That is a good point. Then again, you got to look at it like, well Muhammad Ali was at the time one of the most vocal and boisterous people ever in American sports and his place in history wasn’t nullified by what I am sure at the time was a very contentious attitude. Ali had the Nation of Islam behind him—which America was definitely threatened by. So, if America can accept Muhammad Ali, I’ve got to think that Josh Gibson could definitely be accepted.

MT: I think he was one of the most unnecessarily nullified athletes in the history of sports. I truly think so.

JH: What would have been interesting, from a records perspective, is what the difference would be if Josh Gibson were allowed to play in the major leagues. People don’t really talk much about who Jackie Robinson was as a player and I think he would have been the first to admit at the time that there were better Black baseball players than him. He was a good player but there were other guys that would have had a ridiculous impact had they been allowed to play.

MT: Satchel Paige for example.

JH: It would have been interesting to see how that might have played out if Josh Gibson and some of the other Negro League greats had been let in.

MT: What are your thoughts on Eddie Robinson? I was very surprised that there was a lot of coverage on his death—coincidentally on the 39thanniversary of MLK’s death at 39—because I personally thought major news outlets should have led off their programming with his death because of his positive impact on society. Throughout the day and the next day there started to be an influx of commentary on his death. I just don’t understand why outlets lead off with Pac Man Jones. What did Eddie Robinson mean to you?

JH: It is one of those situations where it took me a while to figure out why he was a great man–not that he hadn’t shown it. I didn’t understand—and it’s something you can attest to my age—how he truly paved the way. John Thompson was someone I grew up idolizing. If you are Black, John Thompson was someone you wanted your Dad to be like. That led to Blacks appreciating him more. James Brown (sportscaster) put it best when he said that Mr. Robinson was the Vince Lombardi of Black coaches because he was someone who really was at the forefront of educating our Black youth at a time where there were limited opportunities for African American athletes. He not only gave a sense of pride to Black men, but all HBCUs in general. I’m not going to say that you were shamed in going to a HBCU, but it was looked at kind of oddly. He gave those schools credibility and is one of the best sports teachers to ever live—Black or White. So, like you, I was very happy to see his death get the recognition he so honorably deserved.

MT: Has Adam Pac Man Jones become the next TO? Why is there this fixation with negative stories in sports when 2% of all athletes commit crimes? Why is this guy leading off Sports Center?

JH: It always takes one guy. The NFL has always had an image problem and has somehow been allowed to skate past somehow despite the heavy amount of trouble that athletes get into. At some point, this was going to have to be an issue that the NFL addressed—just by sheer volume. Pac Man Jones because of the details of the crime—a man is paralyzed—and this man has been in the league two years and has been questioned ten times by the police? That’s excessive. In some ways you could call him the next T.O. but he isn’t polarizing. People are just sick of him. I personally am glad that the Commissioner Goodell suspended him for a year. He sent a message that this type of behavior will not be tolerated. At the very least, Jones is guilty of not informing his employer of some of the transgressions he’s been involved in. Unfortunately for him, Jones is just going to be that guy that is made example of. The fascination is people wanted to see what exactly was going to happen to him. That automatically brings him to the center of attention.

MT: What do you think about the LSU situation and Pokey Chatman? Being a Black woman, what are you personally feeling? What does this situation say about collegiate sports?

JH: This unfortunately was a real black eye for women’s collegiate sports. At the start of the NCAA tournament, this was all people were talking about. Certainly, the fact that Pokey has disappeared has added to the intrigue surrounding the situation. Personally, I don’t think this is an issue of homosexuality. If anything, this is about simple trust between coach and athlete. Especially in women’s sports, this is a trust that gets violated repeatedly. We’ve seen coaches that have married their players and been involved with their players. I think that regardless if it’s a heterosexual or homosexual relationship, this needs to be addressed. This is a huge problem for LSU. Pokey is a good coach—look at all the Final Fours she’s gone too in a short time. With the lack of Black coaches in women’s basketball—40 percent of athlete are Black but less than 8 percent of coaches are Black—this was very unfortunate. Once Carolyn Peck and Pokey got fired, there are no Black coaches in the SEC period. That’s shameful. There’s none in the ACC, and only two in the Big East. This is unfortunately going to do some serious damage to the already shameful numbers of Black women basketball coaches.

MT: Much has been said that the present media construct should be changed to allow more dissenting opinions. The media is presently a White male dominated field. I think this is the reason why I get so hot under the collar when I see how athletes like Barry Bonds—regardless of his personal philosophy—get treated by the media like he’s killed a million men. I’m trying to get a sense of why there is such a reason why journalists write in packs. In a perfect world, what would be your definition of journalism?

JH: This is a serious problem. When you have one voice being represented—and one voice can be tainted by environmental factors—and everyone in the room looks the same, how can you truly have a accurate representation of the people’s voice? I also think that—and people don’t want to hear this, but it is true—there is a need for more people of color to be more prominent in the news room. I’m just not talking about sports either—the entire news room. Blacks speak to a different experience that quite honestly, mainstream America struggles to grasp. Like you said before, no one thinks that maybe Barry Bonds has a contentious relationship with the media because of the way the media treated his father. I don’t think anyone has asked that question. That’s the value of having different people in the room. I am by no means saying that all Black people look the same, act the same, come from the same backgrounds or are all a part of some monolithic group. Because we have to live in the skin we’re in, we share innate experiences and a deep understanding that mainstream America misses. You brought up Kobe Bryant earlier, I think part of his disconnect is because of how he grew up in Italy. He did not grow up around a lot of Blacks and you can see how he relates to his teammates because they mostly did. There are some environmental issues at work here. Every time I write about Kobe I get all kinds of responses. You want to talk about a T.O. like figure? It is amazing how polarizing Kobe Bryant has become. You would think because of his upbringing that Kobe Bryant would be a personality that the mainstream would be totally behind. He’s very well educated, he speaks several languages and comes from such a stable home. Everything about him is “Mr. Suburb”. Yet people feel this hate. Maybe people just don’t want to address that maybe this hatred of him comes from the Colorado situation and who exactly he was caught cheating with. That, in my mind, is a major reason why he’s hated. Ever since that day, Kobe has not been seen the same by White America. Before that day, I think Whites were more comfortable with Kobe than Blacks. Now, it is the total opposite. This brings back the point about shared experience. Blacks can attest to being accused of something they didn’t do so. People can debate about what happened and what didn’t happen, but the charges were dropped. There are a lot of Black people out there who can identify with being outnumbered, cornered and dismissed. It’s so interesting to me how his fan base has changed. There are a lot of important questions that should be asked about where his image problem originated. Those are questions that get asked when you have different people in the room. The media needs to be diversified so we can attack the questions that people are uncomfortable with and only want to address on a superficial level.

MT: Let’s stick with Kobe Bryant for a minute. His father played with Julius “Dr. J” Erving and wore number 23, so the emulation of Michael Jordan was a natural one. Just like I alluded to earlier, sons of pro fathers have a certain level of athletic maturity. Their thought process in a sense characterizes the masses as primitive because of their extraordinary level of instruction. What I mean is that they are already mentally past the questions we ask of them and therein lies the media disconnect. This is probably a good story in itself—The Sons of Greatness. None of any of the fathers (Griffey, Alomar, Manning, Bonds, Bryant, Alou to name a few) I’ve mentioned were great players. I look forward to the day when a talent like Michael Jordan spawns an even greater son because it’s going to open up an even greater conversation about the mental and physical makeup of that unforeseen entity. That all being said, who is the MVP?

JH: This is my next column. I will say this, I don’t think it’s Dirk. In a game deciding situation the ball should be in the MVP’s hands—that’s all I’m going to say about that.

MT: Wow! (Jemele and I laugh)

JH: It’s got to be Kobe Bryant. He is hands down the best player in the league and he’s definitely the most valuable. Number two would be Steve Nash because it’s very obvious. Of all the players mentioned in the MVP talk, Kobe Bryant is the only player whose team would be a lottery team without his talent. They would be the Memphis Grizzlies if he were not on that team. As difficult as the Western Conference is, he pretty much can score at will (50 last night against the Clippers). The one thing that differentiates Kobe from Dirk and Nash is his ability to go on a tean and scoring points in a ridiculous fashion. You ask any player in the league and they will say he is the most difficult player to guard in the league. That’s saying something. I personally think he should have won it last year considering where he singlehandedly had the Lakers. You bring up the media and its handlings. I truly feel that because of Kobe’s public persona that he was purposefully kept as far out of the MVP talk as possible. This is taking nothing away from Steve Nash because he is a great player, but there almost was this coordinated effort to award him for his accomplishments. Almost to say, “We’re giving this to you because we’re against this.” Not because he’s a great player. I think Nash has had his finest season this year. If there was any year he deserved to win it would be this year. He won’t get it because people are saying “Well we can’t give him three straight can we?” Are you saying that if he doesn’t win it this year that he really didn’t deserve the award in years past? Maybe his winning the award twice smacks of something besides the game.

MT: Great point. I think Kobe’s dunk on Nash in last year’s playoffs was a statement that both men will never forget.

JH: If Dirk wins, then he backed into it. I don’t think he’s the most dangerous player in the league and I don’t think that in the last two minutes that’s he’s the guy you want having the ball. To me, those are critical elements regarding the MVP. My MVP is Kobe Bryant based on skill, ability, where his team is and because if the ball is in his hands late, you have supreme confidence that he will win the game.

(Click here for Part 3 of the Jemele Hill interview)

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20 Responses to “Interview with ESPN Columnist, Jemele Hill Part 2: #42; Pacman; Pokey, and; the Real NBA MVP”

  1. Em Till just alerted to some, ummmmm, “leesack activity” by Steve Nash as Kobe rises to slam over Little Stevie Fingertips. WEatch closely as Nash falls away from Kobe…. Interestingly, last year was a banner season for low blows in the NBA and the NFL (remember Josh Howard?)…

  2. D-Wil: or Reggie Evans (I think) on Chris Kaman.

    Mizzo: thanks for the second part. I’m firmly in the Kobe for MVP camp, because if the Lakers hold on to a playoff spot, it’s because of him.

  3. It would be such a fallacy if the Kobe Bryant and the Lakers were yucking it up–or not–on the links come playoff time S2N.

  4. S2N-
    Right! Evans, too.

  5. Well, I’m sure by now everyone here knows how I feel about Kobe….

  6. maxairington Says:

    The thing about Kobe and that black/white disconnect is that a lot of black folks dont like him either for snithcing, a reflection of a contrasting priviliged background? (Personally I get a good laugh out of Kobe being labeled as “white” by some, or in opposition to the background of the average NBA’er. In a decaded this league may be nothing but Kobes. You think these guys are sending their kids to public schools?) As much as AI, Kobe was repsonsible for the concept of “street cred” in the NBA being an issue in mainstream media, and in the worst possible manner. “Did he gain cred by committing a crime?” “Did he lose cred by talking about Shaq?” As sickening of a concept as it is, it resonates on Madison Avenue, no? Mark Cuban might think so. That one incident gave blacks and whites a reason to distrust Kobe, not that many already didnt. I guess it just actually reinforced ithings.

    And yes, alot of the Steve Nash bandwagon is comprised of Kobe haters. Exhibit A: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MyB1Nm4ySrw

    That thing is dripping with stereotypes, and it is a representation of a larger percentage of the media who share those sentiments. I would not be surprised if he won it again. When the NBA has their 100 year celebration about thirty years from now, and all the game’s greats are gathered to reminisce on it’s evolution, I hope I’m alive to see the explination for why Kobe Bryant didn’t win an MVP in either of the past two years.

    Everyone talks about how the Suns are worse without Steve Nash. Dallas is better without him. Phoenix plays that uptempo style of basketball, partially to compensate for Nash’s defensive deficiencies, no? The man is a sieve and allows constant penetration that gets their bigs in foul trouble. How can a team with Raja Bell, Shawn Marion and STAT have defensive problems? Hmm…. When Nash was in Dallas he had the same problem. Anyone who calls Dallas’ rise to prominence through establishing themselves as a defensive squad and Phoenix’s subsequent defensive troubles a coincidence is being dishonest. The common thread is Nash. And for that reason alone this guy should not be working on three straight MVPs.

  7. Thing is, the white dominated media believes themselves the “masters of the universe” and as such feel no need to answer to anyone for anything.

    They’ll never fess up, nor apologize. It’s not in their nature.

  8. maxairington Says:

    Let’s be fair though. I don’t think all of them are completely biased, and any assumptions on their collective character just reinforces the concept of one monolith vs. another. This is a league comprised of individuals, we want that noted whenever we’re bombarded with negative coverage of the NBA player, so it’s important to remain in that spirit when talking about the press.

  9. You’re a bigger and obviously less bitter man than I am then MA. Obviously there are exceptions to every rule but frankly, they seem to me to be so rare as to be statistically insignificant.

    In any case, I come to my anger and bitterness legitimately.

    I remember the optimism of the late sixties/early seventies and I also remember the strategies used by Reagan and his cohorts to tear away at any fabric of brotherhood in America between blacks and whites.

    So now, I see a white dominated media that far more than by and large has no problem with scapegoating, piling on, character assassination and racially and culturally biased moralizing on a completely subjective and selective basis.

    Those white sports journalists who don’t partake, more power, AND props to them, but they are VASTLY, I mean, VASTLY outnumbered by moralistic scum, mediocrities with press credentials and little else in the way positive attributes.

  10. maxairington Says:

    I’m apparently younger than you, and I always respect that difference in opinon when speaking with those who have seen the establishment of such institutions firsthand. I see many of the same charactersistics in our media, but even though the game is still rigged these days, it is also different. We have progressed as a scoiety and many folks on both sides of the aisle are ready for more, but that can only come through a mutual respect and a goal of shared progress. Moving black America forward goes towards moving America forward, and personally, I don’t think many white people are opposed to black progress as much as they are to it coming at their expense. We live in a competitive society that isn’t exactly condusive to making sacrifices or adjustments of any kind for others, regardless of race.

    There are small minded antagonists who will always oppose any black progression, but it should be our intention that they are overshadowed by those who are about dissolving color lines through cultivating personal relationships. These white sportswriters may not have had previous exposure to black people, but after being on a beat long enough, they certainly should get to know some and vice versa. I’m not for that kumbaya shit, but I am about giving people the benefit of the doubt until proven otherwise. It’s essential to any concept of progress that involves us all.

    A good example of this would be Gil and DeShawn.

    This has been a three-week long inner argument I’ve been doing in my head. It started when DeShawn told me, you know he throws his little hand over his face, you know the “I can’t feel my face.”

    So when he scored a tough basket, normally we’d give him the “I can’t feel my face.” So you got your fingers doing it, and you look over and he doesn’t do it.

    So I’m like, “What the … What’s wrong with him?”

    We come back down on offense, alright, pass it to the corner and he shoots a three – no more hand in the face.

    So I go up to him at halftime and I’m like, “What’s up? You don’t do the hand in the face no more?”

    And he sat there with a straight face and told me, “I can’t do it anymore.”

    I said, “What do you mean you can’t do it anymore?”

    “Uh, my agent said teams are asking what is the hand in the face and are wondering if I’m throwing up gang signs. So he told me to stop doing it.”

    And that kind of offended me…..

    ….And I said, “You know what I want you to do? When we go out there at halftime,” I said, “Put your hand in your face and shake it.”

    He did it and 14 people in the front row started doing the same thing.

    I said, “But your agent said you can’t do it because it’s gang related. Then all them business men in the front row must be part of your gang.”

    He started laughing. You know, that’s what’s wrong with sports now. Image. Can’t have fun anymore. It’s about image.

    This game is a common ground for all of us. Some may bring their stereotypes along with them, but one by one they can be replaced with more progressive visions of each other through time invested in each other.

  11. I’m apparently younger than you, and I always respect that difference in opinon when speaking with those who have seen the establishment of such institutions firsthand.

    One of the joys of becoming an “old head,” and at 44, I’m just realizing I now qualify, is seeing the new generation, proud, talented and yet not so arrogant that they don’t feel they can learn from those who came before.

    I see many of the same charactersistics in our media, but even though the game is still rigged these days, it is also different. We have progressed and many folks on both sides of the aisle are ready to move forward, but that can only come through a mutual respect and a goal of shared progress.

    I too was in your position in this debate for many decades. I guess naturally I am optimistic about the human condition. And I do recognize that the entirety of the human condition has been a march against conservative intransigence. Still, this retreat from the idea of brotherhood between blacks and whites in America, and the ever growing willingness of white america to justify, indeed to revel in it’s intolerance and bigotry has been pretty much unabated for at least 30 years. I’ve grown weary of being optimistic and of making excuses for a people whose entire history should make them know better.

    Moving black America forward goes towards moving America forward, and personally, I don’t think many white people are opposed to black progress as much as they are to it coming at their expense. We live in a competitive society that isn’t exactly condusive to making sacrifices or adjustments of any kind for others, regardless of race.

    It’s far beyond this MA, what little progress that has been made is, for the most part, in the notion of wilingness to allow us to be like them without TOO much of a penalty being paid. But other than that, and allowing for a general sense that it isn’t right to lynch people for sassing whites, not much has changed. The lynchings are now simply figurative instead of being literal and the willingness to pile on is every bit as great.

    There are small minded antagonists who will always oppose any black progression, but it should be our intention that they are overshadowed by those who are about dissolving color lines through cultivating personal relationships. These white sportswriters may not have had previous exposure to black people, but after being on a beat long enough, they certainly should get to know some and vice versa. I’m not for that kumbaya shit, but I am about giving people the benefit of the doubt until proven otherwise. It’s essential to any concept of progress that involves us all.

    And yet, this is exactly what I did for years until finally, I recognized that no amount of exposure will make the overwhelming majority of white so-called journalists see the humanity in the black men they cover. They simply batten down the hatches, engage themselves in conversations amongst themselves that never challenge any of the notions they hold en masse and then use their bully pulpet to publish personal and cultural attack after personal and cultural attack. Frankly, I’m done.

    This game is a common ground for all of us. Some may bring their stereotypes along with them, but one by one they can be replaced with more progressive visions of each other through time invested in each other.

    Oh to be young and full of an optimism of lifes possibilities.

  12. Kevdog,
    “They simply batten down the hatches, engage themselves in conversations amongst themselves that never challenge any of the notions they hold en masse and then use their bully pulpet to publish personal and cultural attack after personal and cultural attack. Frankly, I’m done. ”

    If that were true then the civil rights movement would have never happened.

    If you study the history of human culture, there are always liberal advances following by reconciliations with conservative dogma. True for Islamic culture, true for Hindu culture, true for European culture. If you honestly thought that 10,000 years of institutionalized racism present in EVERY culture on the planet was going to disappear in your lifetime, you were astoundingly optimistic.

    If you’re “done”, then get the hell out of the way and quit impinging the validity of trying to change things. Just because you can’t detect the slow pace of change doesn’t mean it isn’t there.

    You, Imus, and all the people who are fossilized in their understanding of the world do nothing positive by sharing.

  13. If you study the history of human culture, there are always liberal advances following by reconciliations with conservative dogma. True for Islamic culture, true for Hindu culture, true for European culture. If you honestly thought that 10,000 years of institutionalized racism present in EVERY culture on the planet was going to disappear in your lifetime, you were astoundingly optimistic.

    Generally, I find you to not be worthy of response. This straw man is case in point,

  14. KevDog,

    Ah yes, your familiar: “You aren’t worthy of a response” refrain. How many times will you go to the proverbial well with this one? Do you apply this to the rest of your interactions in the world as well? You…You are like some kind of hero. Some kind of do-nothing hero. You just keep! doing! nothing!

    Let’s see if your snide, throw-away “this is a straw man” point holds any water….let’s just look at a few quotes from your previous comments. Just in case you’re merely confused about the phrase ‘straw man’, it is a logical fallacy used to misrepresent an opponent’s position.

    Of course, in this case we’re absolute best friends in the world, so ‘opponents’ sounds a little harsh, but that’s the general idea.

    Let’s see now…apparently you feel that I am misrepresenting you by accusing you of having unrealistic expectations regarding the progress of black-white racial relations in America. What gave me that idea?

    “It’s far beyond this MA, what little progress that has been made is, for the most part, in the notion of wilingness to allow us to be like them without TOO much of a penalty being paid. But other than that, and allowing for a general sense that it isn’t right to lynch people for sassing whites, not much has changed. The lynchings are now simply figurative instead of being literal and the willingness to pile on is every bit as great. ”

    Hmmm…see here I see you dismissing the progress “that has been made” as merely a minor concession. You then say that this is pretty much it, and that the lynchings have changed from literal to figurative. I thought you were indicating with this that you didn’t think much meaningful progress has been made. Isn’t that silly!

    “Still, this retreat from the idea of brotherhood between blacks and whites in America, and the ever growing willingness of white america to justify, indeed to revel in it’s intolerance and bigotry has been pretty much unabated for at least 30 years. I’ve grown weary of being optimistic and of making excuses for a people whose entire history should make them know better.”

    And here, I read this and thought to myself: KevDog, great guy that he is, seems to think that bigotry and intolerance are getting worse. Further, he seems to have “grown weary of being optimistic”. Oh yes! I can see why my characterization of you as having given up on your optimism was so far off!

    Gosh, I mean, when I wrote:
    “If you honestly thought that 10,000 years of institutionalized racism present in EVERY culture on the planet was going to disappear in your lifetime, you were astoundingly optimistic.”

    I guess I thought what I was saying is that your expectations were comically unrealistic. Gee! I guess I just got that impression from those quotes where you were: 1) Dismayed at the amount of progress that’s been made, 2) felt that things were getting worse, and 3) were no longer optimistic about the world. Oh, was it with the “in your lifetime” part of that sentence that got you in “I’m too lazy to respond” mode? Yeah, I guess it was silly of me to ‘read that into’ what you’ve written….

    Let’s just see how unrealistic that is. You claim to be 44 years old, and it’s 2007. Let me just get my calculator out here (those of us with Math degrees are comically incapable of actual subtraction), that means you would have been born in 1963.

    Huh…That’s funny. Let’s take a look at this quote you wrote:

    “I remember the optimism of the late sixties/early seventies and I also remember the strategies used by Reagan and his cohorts to tear away at any fabric of brotherhood in America between blacks and whites.”

    Really? You remember a national optimism about race relationship from before you were 12? Or maybe you remember being young and optimistic yourself? I mean, let’s see some of the ‘trivial’ progress that’s been made in America during your lifetime (just off the top of my head here):

    1. Various federal and state courts overturned laws banning mixed-race marriage (this one has a special place in my heart)
    2. The Civil Rights Act was passed….
    3. Directive 5120.36, ending military segregation
    4. Home Mortgage Disclosure Act, making further racism in this regard illegal, although it certainly hasn’t ended the problems
    5. Gates v. Collier, ending segregation, etc. in prisons
    6. National Voting Rights Act, which ended the process of states effectively preventing blacks from voting
    7. American Indian Religious Freedom Act, which guaranteed many the right to practice their religion
    8. Since 1963 there have been MANY prominent African Americans in politics, holding positions such as (to name a few): Secretary of State, Chairman of the U.S. Armed Forces Joint Chiefs of Staff, Secretary of Commerce, a couple of Supreme Court Justices, Senator and Representatives (not to mention governors, mayors, etc.). And, I hope to god, we’ll soon have a black president.
    9. Imus got fired in 2007 for saying damn near the exact same things he’s been saying for 20-odd years.
    10. A couple of African Americans on the Fortune 400 (pitifully low, but 2 more than 1963)

    Gosh, I guess you’re right. That is a pitiful amount of progress. From overt institutional racism in every aspect of society to widespread acceptance of the idea that overt institutional racism should be punished and outlawed. That IS a pitiful amount of progress. PIT EEE FULL.

    Or wait, it actually seem to me that overt institutional racism in this country is being trampled out at every turn. Further, the social cost of overt racism is high, to the point where individuals who are essentially just repeating their previously stated positions are now being fired (Imus, Trent Lott, George Allen). I guess that’s why people pointing out cases of covert racism are so important, because a lot of people (idiots) feel like ALL overt (and covert) racism is a thing of the past and no more effort needs to be put forth in this area.

    If I mis characterized you, it was because you couldn’t convey your ideas in writing. If you’d like to actually refute my line of reasoning feel free.

    I’m not suggesting or implying that there isn’t a ton of progress that needs to be made. There was a CNN poll a few years ago where practically everyone polled thought of themselves as not racist, but that other people were (http://www.cnn.com/2006/US/12/12/racism.poll/index.html). Clearly America does not see itself rationally, and that is impairing any progress that can be made.

    You, on the other hand, are just perpetuating stupid half-truths and pessimistic ramblings disguised as ‘being realistic’. Gee, who does that sound like (Whitlock, Bush, Lott, etc.)?

  15. Great interview. Cool blog.

  16. Thanks socialorb.

  17. kisswriters Says:

    You guys are doing really good stuff. Won’t be too long before the Sentinels from the Matrix come along to assimilate you. But for now, keep doing what you’re doing.

  18. Thanks kw. Keep coming back!

  19. […] Posted this video in the second part of Jemele’s first interview. […]

  20. […] Click here for Part 2 of the Jemele Hill interview. […]

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