Scoop Jackson: Vantage Point

scoop2-2.jpgThis is very long, so let’s get right to it. This is a candid conversation about issues that pain Blacks in sports as well as society. You may have a broad range of emotions when reading this piece. Some of it may anger you, yet in the end this piece can become a catalyst for meaningful solutions to the problem of race relations. These types of conversations need to be inclusive of all races to stimulate progressive change. For all of you who say that we shouldn’t be so political because this is a sports-based site, The Starting Five gives you reality. This is our vantage point.

The videos are embedded to give a perspective of my (Michael Tillery) perception of Hip Hop and how it’s presently perceived. We are at a time and age where everything is cross referenced and hard to separate. Sports and Hip Hop mirror society and shouldn’t be judged any differently than culture, Hollywood, politics or anything else that shapes us. Personal interest perception reigns and that, America, needs to desperately change.

Scoop is somewhat of a polarizing entity in journalism. Not personally, but the way he’s perceived. He’s the perfect candidate for an interview such as this. Dwil and I hope people read the whole piece and then try to formulate their total thoughts on the purpose of the interview. We hope you enjoy the read and please be honest in your comments–regardless of their nature. (note: a large portion of the initial conference call interview was rendered inaudible and we’re all sorry about that. However, viewing the interview as it stands, we can’t imagine what the interview would look like length-wise with that initial two hours of conversation edited and included here.) Peace – Mizzo, DWil.

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DW: You are from Chicago, correct?

SJ: Yes, Southside of Chicago, born and raised. I don’t plan on going anywhere.

DW: Discuss your early maturation from college into journalism.

SJ: My father was one of the first Black reporters in the country. He was the first Black reporter in the city of Chicago. In fact that was how I got the name Scoop. My uncle named me Scoop because I was born right after President Kennedy was killed. He said to my father, “Yo, you just had a son, he’s gonna scoop Kennedy in the paper.” That was attached since birth. My father and mother split up when I was in second grade. I guess I got a taste of negative media through him. I couldn’t understand why the negative reporting. When stuff happened, I was on the outside looking in. I understood what he was doing, but it kind of made me adverse to reporting. The way they approached subjects–literally–in droves, in large corporate numbers. As I got to six and seventh grade, I started questioning how can they do that? I did gain from my father an appreciation of what he was doing. It was ironic because at this time he’d moved to Denver. I started to appreciate from a distance what he was doing. I picked up on the writing side of it. I’ve always been into current events. My mother always made sure my brother and I knew what was going on. She would have dinner on the table and before we would eat she would ask us questions like “What went on with President Nixon today?” If we didn’t know, sometimes we didn’t eat. That’s how my mother got down sometimes. It’s not like today how you can find out what’s going on through a computer. I gained an appreciation for current events. Coming up through high school, I became a magazine freak and magazines started to shape the way we looked at things. Magazines were more specialized than newspapers. I was always into music, so I started reading Billboard and got hip to Nelson George. The same with Rolling Stone. Reading Sports Illustrated to keep up on Ralph Wiley and Alexander Wolf. I really started to gain an interest in the field. I went to Xavier University in New Orleans with the full intentions of becoming a lawyer. Things were becoming very political at the time, so I thought becoming a lawyer with the thought of politics was a natural move. The only way to study law at the undergraduate level is to take political science. So in 1981, I was taking poly-sci. Policy is a whole different dynamic. I thought all politics was scandalous. I thought to myself that this is it. This is going to be fascinating. Then when it came down to taking pre-law classes, I had to study case after case after case. I’m thinking, “This is what law is about?” You just learn and memorize cases? No, this is not my thing.

So I basically flipped majors. My mother said that if we were going to send you away and spend money for school, you might as well be interested. My interests in magazines, newspapers and music translated into mass communication. I’ve worked every day since the age of fourteen. My mother worked three jobs to get me through school and take care of the household. So, I got through school and worked to help pay that off. Came back to Chicago and worked for the city for a couple of years. Jane Byrne was the mayor at the time. I was doing payroll for the state every summer making crazy money. Nine hundred dollar checks in 1983-1984 was a lot of money. That’s how the whole kicks (sneakers) thing started for me. I could afford to buy a new pair every couple of weeks.

Then I was in a really bad car accident and almost died. I wasn’t really doing what I should have been doing with my life so that accident put it all in perspective. My grandmother used to tell me that God puts you through a lot for a reason and I had to figure out what I was going to do with my life. I worked for another year, saved my money and applied to grad school at Howard University. That’s where the writing thing started when I was accepted into Howard. I finished up at Xavier in 1986–graduating in 1987–worked for two years and entered Howard in 1989–majoring in mass communications. They didn’t have mass communications on the graduate level, they had communication studies. I soaked up anything and everything journalism during this time. Reading the Washington Post everyday and just talking to anyone who was close to the field. The Post introduced me to Donna Britt, Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon. The Post was the best newspaper in the world. I just never read it until my time in D.C. I was really impressed by the writing.

Again, current events was my thing. I responded to Flavor Flav of Public Enemy crashing an Arsenio Hall show–the guest was Vanilla Ice. He also appeared on a show with New Kids On the Block. This is 1990-1991. This is the time that Flav’s band mate, Chuck D was doing everything possible to elevate Black nationalism and Flav threw it all out the window. I had a problem with that. So I wrote a commentary. Keep in mind that I’m reading op-ed’s in the Post and the Sun Times. I constructed my own little op-ed. Dealing on a Hip Hop political subject matter; I knew no one would touch it. Somebody had to say something, and I did. In grad school, they aren’t used to getting copy or anything from the grad body at most schools. They not only ran it, they had to seek out and find me. When they found me, they asked if I would do something like that every week. I said yes, and that’s how I really got my start. Every week they just gave me a platform to write. I wrote on all kinds of subjects, from the war on drugs to Black nationalism. I had my own little column. They were also sending me small checks, so that was cool.

DW: I didn’t know you spent so much time in D.C.

SJ: Yeah, I’m glad I came home, but D.C. is wonderful.

DW: Yeah, around that time it was the last respite of D.C. if you will–as a popular city.

SJ: Yeah, no doubt. In that era of Hip Hop, with all its consciousness–X Clan, Public Enemy, Ice Cube and even BET–it was a great time to be in D.C. because you really couldn’t get more conscious than that. Especially being that Marion Barry was the mayor. D.C. had a major influence on the way I think. Howard University is set up to be a think tank for Black folk in and around the community while they are studying there. It was an amazing time for me. My master’s thesis was on Hip Hop. At that time, no one had ever done anything like that. It was very difficult to be able to present my thesis. I also learned how Black folks can also be your worse enemy. Some of the White professors that I spoke to during that time were hoping that Hip Hop would develop and were very supportive of my thesis. It was a form of communication. That was the only drawback to being at Howard. They really didn’t know how to go about supporting the subject of my thesis. Somebody has to bite the bullet sometimes for progress to happen. Somebody has to be Crispus Attucks. I had to make them see that what I was trying to do was something worth studying.

DW: You spoke earlier about your Mother stressing the importance of being informed. Was that a staple of your surroundings in Chicago? Were other families like that or no?

SJ: Yes and no. My mother was a big believer of surrounding yourself with people that think. That took analysis very seriously. Much like Allen Iverson, she was also very strong in staying true. So true in that you don’t remove yourself from an environment that you came up in. It was kind of a combination of all of my surrogate Aunts and Uncles. Making sure I always was around that talented tenth (percent) of people. People to the degree of a Cornel West and also be able to live blocks away from the projects. My Mother wanted me to have the best of both worlds. We had enough money to be comfortable. She was making what I was able to bring in. I never left. People I grew up with have been killed. You know how it is in the ‘hood.

DW: Yes and no. I was a private school kid and grew up on a farm in Nebraska.

SJ: You still know what’s going on because of your time spent in D.C.

DW: Of course.

SJ: It’s crazy in Black communities. You can have million dollar families and two doors down, shit will be everywhere. (Dwil and Scoop laugh) Especially with gentrification.

DW: I asked that question because I see some similarities of how we were raised (philosophically). Its part of the Diaspora of Blacks that people seem to miss. Not miss, but it’s not talked about. It’s not explained to a wider audience. Also, to stress the importance of your Mother helping you to stay true.

SJ: My mother was a social worker. She worked for public children’s services. I was introduced to individuals all my life who were wards of the state and didn’t have families. These were the surrogate brothers and sisters that I always had in my house. My Father used to say that he didn’t know who would be in our house when he came home from work, because of my Mother bringing people in. She was just trying to make their lives better. The world is the disparate of the world my Mother shaped us to live in. She didn’t do anything out of sympathy, that was just her nature. She is very caring and she wants us to never pull too far from that. She had a total dislike for snobs. She never wanted us to look down on people no matter what color they are. She was special in that I got to watch her hold it down and it really gave me a sense of purpose. They used to call her a militant midget. She was no joke. She used to whoop our asses. No one messed with her.

There are single women today that complain that they don’t have a man. I feel your pain, but Mother was one to never complain of such. I watched her handle it! She taught me an important responsibility at an early age. I lied about my age working at McDonald’s (Jackson began working at McDonald’s at age 14 instead of the legal age of 16) to bring money in the house for the family. A lot of things that my Mother did shaped the person I am today.

MT: Clear up your status at ESPN and explain the reason why you’ve been rotating in and out of the National Voice link on the .com.

SJ: ESPN is going through some changes. The Editor in Chief, John Papenek has been reassigned. I think they are going through some numbers issues. They want to make some changes and get some new voices in that slot. They want to rotate the National Voices. Because I’m the newest, I’m the one that’s affected. That’s it. That’s basically what it is. When people saw my picture removed they thought I was gone. No, not at all, they are just shifting people back and forth. They are giving Jemele Hill a chance to get in there as well as other people. Whenever I do a column, you’ll see me in that spot.

I don’t know if it’s a numbers issue or what. They haven’t explained to me why. They haven’t said anything about my work—I don’t think it’s about the work. It’s easy for me to jump on the fact that I’m the Black guy up there. The reality is that I’m the youngest one. Gene Wojciechowski, Pat Forde and Bill Simmons have been here for years. I’ve really just got here. This all happened in the middle of re-upping my contract. My contract is not up for another couple years. People are assuming too much. I was on vacation, so people were wondering what is going on. I get six weeks of vacation. I’ve been at ESPN for two years and have never taken one.

MT: How does your salary compare with other comparable writers at ESPN?

SJ: That is a good question. I really don’t know. I don’t know what everyone else is making. I don’t know what everyone else initially made when they signed here. I’m pretty sure Bill Simmons makes a chunk more than I do. Other writers have been here longer than me, so one would expect them to be making more. I had to cut contracts I had with Slam, the NBA and Nike. I was making a nice chunk of change before ESPN. The Nike stuff was really hard to let go. I had been working there for four years on various projects—The Soul Provider book, the Air Force One 25 campaign and leading up to LeBron. Stuff that you would do working for Nike. Working with Nike was a conflict of interest for ESPN.

MT: Dwil wanted to ask why–besides the money–did you leave SLAM magazine for ESPN?

SJ: Opportunity. I was at SLAM for eleven years. How many Allen Iverson articles can I do? ESPN contacted me a few times, but I didn’t like what they were offering. It really had nothing to do with money. I knew if they kept contacting me, then I couldn’t say keep saying no—especially if they were offering something respectable. They offered me a column, a television presence and spots in the magazine, so it was an offer I couldn’t refuse. Now they were talking. You can’t keep telling Halle Berry, No,” if she keeps calling your crib (We laugh). If they want me to exclusively write for them then ESPN had to pay me accordingly. I also am able to develop content for television shows. How can I turn that down? It has nothing to do with money, it’s more about opportunity. Originally with Cold Pizza, they wanted me to do what Woody Paige was doing—battling with Skip Bayless. That was cool, but I wanted more than that. I had a lot of things going on and I just didn’t want to do one thing. I want to stress that it’s more about opportunity than money.

MT: What is the ultimate job for you at ESPN?

SJ: I really don’t see myself differently at ESPN. That may not be a good thing. There’s a part of me that really believes that I’m the wrong cat for ESPN. ESPN is the big stage, I don’t know if I’m a big stage type of cat. Jay-Z gets a whole lot of love for what he does, but Rakim is not that type of MC. He and Jay-Z have a totally different type of audience. Some people are not for everyone to get. I think I’m one of those people. I think I’m really one of those people for everyone not to get.

MT: The hook of this track’s main objective is to get people out of their seats and dance. It is strictly entertainment and should only be seen as such. Just like the Sopranos, video games or anything else that is “entertaining”:

MT: You are musically influenced, that’s obvious. Do you think your presence at ESPN had to do with a Hip Hop influx? Hip Hop is mass marketed in this era and is a true formidable force in music.

SJ: Maybe. It’s the era that had the most influence on me. EPMD back in the day was along with Public Enemy one of the greatest groups ever—also the Ultra Magnetic MC’s. That era was special. I’m a product of that era. If these groups tried to come out now, the game is changed.

MT: It’s definitely changed.

SJ: Maybe, I’m stuck in the game. That era made people think. For some reason, that’s not part of the game presently.

MT: This is a true definition of Hip Hop and the every day struggle. Please recognize the difference:

MT: I’m familiar with Bomani Jones because we both wrote for Blacksportsnetwork.com. Bomani and I have had many conversations on myriad topics—sometimes very tense, but still communication. I know what type of writer he is. ESPN has other Black writers. I will say this. It seems like America doesn’t want to hear a Black voice in volume. If the voice comes off as anything Black, then they don’t want to hear it. I’m not even speaking of anything militant either. I want to be clear here. White writers write from their perspective—and that’s fine. But why aren’t we afforded the same scrutiny?

SJ: I know exactly what you mean. I used the word brotha in a story and I’m coming off as Black. That’s just the way we are. That’s not calling out race or throwing race in somebody’s face. That’s just what we do.

Whites look at it differently. They are not accustomed to that practice. If I reference Cooley High as opposed to Animal House, I’m being Black. If I say Barack Obama, instead of Ted Kennedy to make a point, then I’m being Black. If I use Ben Carson instead of mentioning Marcus Welby, then I’m being Black. If I put an apostrophe at the end of tryin’ instead of trying, then I’m being Black. What are we supposed to do with it? Stop?

MT: It’s what we add to the culture. Black culture is not White. I don’t want to get into this because you know I’ll start getting hot and you’ll start getting hot. The majority of this country is White. I’m sure they are uneasy with Black culture and the influx of illegal aliens and other foreigners—and maybe they have good reason to be that way. This Imus thing has also been divisive. People just aren’t comfortable in their skin right now. When people see and hear things they just aren’t used to, drama happens.

SJ: I agree with everything you just said, I think it’s more of fear. People know there is a certain place for things, but that place is not the mainstream. The country is open to certain things. Take Spike Lee for an example. People say they love him. They love his movies—Do the Right Thing, She’s Gotta Have It. Inside Man? Now that’s a different story. They say to him, “Your budget is too big.” You can’t be on HBO, maybe Cinemax. It’s ok for Michael Moore, or more specifically Quentin Tarrantino to come on HBO and direct a couple of Soprano episodes. People are fine as long as certain things don’t infiltrate the mainstream. I don’t think all of us are built for the mainstream.

Trust me, I am not mainstream. I understand the big problem with me is not what I am and what I’m writing, but where I am and where I’m writing.

MT: I hear you all day on that, I’m not either.

SJ: I could write the same things somewhere else, but because ESPN is mainstream, people don’t feel that there’s a place for that there. Part of me agrees with that. I have to take advantage of the opportunity here because if I don’t, we don’t grow as a people. If something happens to me for some brother like you or some sister like Jemele to replace me, then cool. But me not being there doesn’t serve us (Blacks) any good.

MT: It doesn’t. This country is going to go through a serious backlash because of this Imus stuff. Mainstream America and ESPN has got to understand that there needs to be serious and credible racial dialogue. People need to open up their perspective to progressive thinking. There are too many people here besides just Whites. There is way too many. So if you are not comfortable…See Scoop this is what I’m talking about when I said earlier that I’m getting hot!

SJ: Mike I hear you, but I think we’re asking something that’s just not going to happen. It’s not going to happen anytime soon. Here’s the deal man. Be very honest about this Mike. You read and I read about how upset the country is regarding George Bush. I’m going to ask you two questions: Has there ever been a public or Congressional outcry for him to be removed from office?

MT: No.

SJ: Number two. How many elections did he win?

MT: Apparently he won two.

SJ: Apparently he won two. The first one was kind of skeptical but forget that. What I’m saying is that he’s still in there! People may say his approval ratings are abysmal or whatever, but no one beat him. The majority of the country still voted for him twice.

MT: Yeah, twice.

SJ: Yeah, that’s what I’m getting at. Twice. Honestly, if George Bush could run again and the Democrats didn’t come up with an out of this world candidate, then he would win again! A large part of this country feels totally different about things than you and I do.

MT: I’m not saying we have been forced to do anything in America. It’s more a credit to Blacks maturation of objectivity that we want to experience other cultures of the world. I just don’t understand why there is this resistance from the mainstream to protect their own interests over American progressive movement. If you look at the last presidential election, the entire middle part of this country was red and the coasts were blue.

SJ: That’s because when people enter this country, they enter on the coasts. You don’t see a lot of Asians in South Dakota. You don’t see that many Blacks and Latinos in Wyoming. That’s why it’s never going to change. It’s not. We have to become comfortable with that. Mike, to be real—and you can print this—in order for America to do what you are asking it to do, power has to be relinquished. That’s just it. If I was in power, I wouldn’t want to give it up either! By power I mean, power of the mind, power of our surroundings, power of the way we live and what is right.

MT: See we are getting into some crazy territory here. I have some thoughts about how this country is going to transition into the future. That being said, if it’s going to be this much resistance now, what exactly is going to be the result of that resistance?

SJ: Nothing! The same thing! You might get some changes here and there but come on. Mike, break it down, Blacks are the only people here that didn’t come on their own accord. White ancestry brought us here and their offspring don’t want to interact with us? This country is supposed to be democratic but we are brought over here and can’t even drink water how we want to? We couldn’t vote. Housing was crazy. That was then. Now, we can’t even imagine the resistance we’re up against. It’s never going to change. I’m not trying to put a pen into your balloon family, but what you are asking is not going to happen in this country—not in our lifetime.

MT: I’ve even had people close to me—Whites—ask: “When are you people going to get over what is in the past? “Who appointed Sharpton and Jackson to be your leaders?” I respond with: “Do Whites have appointed leaders to react when Imus similar instances happen?”

SJ: They don’t need it.

MT: What people have got to understand—and this is the last time I’m going to reference this Imus b.s.—is that the entire focus should be directed at what Imus said. Whoever reacted to his foolishness with their individual philosophies are irrelevant. This has absolutely nothing to do with Black youth in Hip Hop!

 *Added on May 3. Public Enemy is simply one of the most influential music acts of our time. A conversation about consciousness, Hip Hop and race would be incomplete without referencing their impact on The Starting Five collective. Listen closely to the lyrics.

Here’s a video depicting how some–not all obviously–Blacks feel about Hip Hop. This track has it’s veins entrenched in the soul of what Hip Hop is meant to be. Hip Hop Pop has its place I guess, but I personally don’t ascribe to it. Common released this classic in ’94. This track is current climate relevant; leading us hopefully into an upcoming Hip Hop renaissance. I Used to Love H.E.R. (acronym meaning her equals rap)

SJ: What did I say to you before about Don Imus following the lead of 50 cent? Because of something ridiculous 50-Cent says, it’s OK for Don Imus to say it? I agree with you 100%.

MT: Two wrongs don’t make a right! I don’t understand. Look at late night TV. There are Girls Gone Wild advertisements. Doesn’t that take from society? I just don’t understand why anything negative in this society has a Black characterization. That’s bullshit! People need to look into the (expletive) mirror and hold themselves accountable before looking at anyone else. It’s as simple as that!

SJ: True. Yes you do understand. You may not want to understand it, because it makes you mad, but you do understand. Mike, you are smart enough to understand. Don’t see yourself short.

MT: This conversation is affecting. I’m almost sad in a sense because of the lack of hope. It just seems that Blacks are being pushed out in front of our entire society as the only people who do bad things.

SJ: I don’t know if that necessarily is true, but I do think that what we do as Blacks is highlighted more than other races. I hate to reference the tragedy of VA Tech, but I guarantee you that the first thing most Blacks said was I hope that person wasn’t Black that did that.

MT: So true. For the record, thinking that is in no way shape or form disrespecting the victims. It’s just human nature.

SJ: The fact that the killer was of Korean decent is not a total reflection on Koreans. You know nine times out of ten that is not the case when someone Black kills. Too often that becomes a reflection on our people not just the one person that did it.

MT: What is that about? Is it just about us or the scrutiny that’s heaped upon us?

SJ: It’s both! It’s not exclusive to either point. Like I’ve said earlier, I don’t want to put a damper on how you feel about Blacks, but nothing is going to change that. I don’t think other races have to deal with that total reflection that we alluded to earlier. One, we’ve been here a lot longer (along with Whites) than other races and two; we are the only race that has challenged the establishment. That’s something that people forget. There’s the resistance that America has with us. America has a different issue with us than any other race. It’s part of a Black problem also. We look upon ourselves as negative in certain issues to.

Blacks have historically fought for equality in this society. That’s just what’s in us.

MT: Scoop, we have these conversations all the time. I want to make clear here that we aren’t neglecting other races. We are specifically speaking of the Black White disconnect.

SJ: Blacks and Whites both have different relationships with other races of this society. Our situation with Whites is totally different than anyone else.

MT: I don’t know if I told you this before, but I used to have this reoccurring dream of Tupac before his death. In this dream he was dressed in African garb…similar to what he was wearing in the Same Song video when—if I can remember correctly—he was being carried during a freestyle.

SJ: Yeah, I know what you are talking about—at the end.

MT: Yes. Well, during this dream, Tupac was the leader of Black society and he did this through a radio show. Crazy irony because of Don Imus obviously. On the other end, it was David Duke—who ran a similar show. These two would battle back and forth through the airwaves about society. Society was totally separated in this dream. Tupac was in his thirties and resembled Brother J from the X-Clan.

SJ: That is what he was on his way to becoming before he got sidetracked and shifted around.

MT: Exactly! The whole Imus situation—at least to me—was foreseen. I just don’t think anyone knew it would be someone like Don Imus.

Hear me out here. Couldn’t someone be born of supreme consciousness similar to Malcolm and Martin?

SJ: Yes, but we have to understand that those two figures aren’t one in the same. Dr. King was more accepted than Brother Malcolm. That goes back to the duality of Black folks that W.E.B. DuBois talked about. We have to deal with living two separate lives in this country—the African side and the American side. When you speak of this leader, you have to understand who is going to accept him. That’s what Barack is going to have to deal with. You know how we get down. The more Whites are accepting of Barack, the less Blacks are going to accept him. What they want and what they are looking for is totally different than what we are looking for and what we need. America, the melting pot…it’s not going to change…it is what it is.

We need to all understand that we (Blacks and Whites) are living separate lives in this country. We have different needs, different cultures, and different sensibilities. Different demands, different responsibilities. We are two different people; it’s not just about skin color. Just because someone transcends that—an Oprah, Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods and Bill Clinton on the other end, does not mean that disconnect does not exist. There is a disconnect. The quicker this is accepted, the better off we’ll be.

SJ: Think about what people are saying. Let’s talk about the word nigger. White people say all the time that Blacks say nigger and why they can’t say it. My question to them is, why do they want to say it?

MT: Exactly! Why do you want to say it?

SJ: Tell me why you want to say it! Please!

MT: People that know me know that I don’t say red neck, I don’t say cracker or any other slurs and I don’t want to say them. I have no need for that BS. It gets us nowhere.

SJ: Those words are reactionary words. Any of those words are nothing more than words used as a reaction to what Whites have said or done to Blacks. Trust me, we’ve been called nigger way before any of those words existed. Saying the word cracker is not equivalent to nigger. It is a whole different thing.

I find it interesting what you said earlier about Whites close to you saying why can’t Blacks get over it. Because it still exists! I understand why Blacks say nigger. We’ve been taught to flip anything and use it as an advantage—from words to food. Soul food, for instance, is nothing but leftover shit. Blacks had to fend for ourselves. It’s not just nigger.

I swear to God Mike you need to answer them when they ask you why. Ask them again.

Why do you want to use the word?

I guarantee you that you are not going to get an answer. Straight silence. This the only way we are going to get less resistance:

When people ask themselves why, then we will be able to move on and do what you Mike, are asking for.

MT: This is so disappointing to me brotha, because I have children. I thought things in society would be getting better, not worse. My daughter was born around the time that OJ did his thing and there was some apprehension (because of the racial climate) to even have more kids. Now that we have kids, the only thing we can do is educate them to stand on their own independently and walk in a straight line until they get to their respective goals.

SJ: Don’t be disappointed brotha. You shouldn’t be questioning why you had children Mike. Blacks don’t need Whites to survive anymore. We might not be able to co-exist on their same level, but what Blacks have learned in the last sixty years or so is that we don’t need them.

We cannot expect Whites to accept us on a certain level because they have to relinquish power. You have to understand that Mike. Going back to what you’ve said, it’s not about us appointing Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton to speak for us. Whites don’t need those types because they already have them. From the president to the governor and so on and so forth, Whites can go right down the line for representation. We’ve had one Black governor in our history. There are none now. How many Black senators do we have? Two? Whites have heads of Fortune 500 companies that they can use as representation. How many Black billionaires do we have? Two! Bob Johnson and Oprah Winfrey. Look at magazines. Look at newscasts. Look at television. It’s all White dominated.

MT: What’s crazy to me is why is it that those without any philosophical power offer the same resistance as people who are in power?

SJ: That’s a good question. One, I don’t have the answer for.

MT: When are we as Blacks going to be less forgiving of racial intolerance?

SJ: That’s just us as a people. That’s one of our biggest problems. We are quicker to harm ourselves than others. Just like when Bill Simmons said in Vegas that he was afraid to walk down the street and look people in the eye. White people walking in an all Black neighborhood are safer than the people that actually live there.

MT: I tell people (Whites) close to me all the time, that the only way racism in this society will stop is if Whites recognize that there is a problem and they speak out strongly from the gate on someone like Don Imus instead of dealing with the aforementioned two wrongs don’t make a right bullshit. That is what is going to help in the healing process is for someone prominent that is White to stand up and call a spade a spade. It’s got to be someone who Whites respect.

SJ: Mike, you’ve got to understand what we are dealing with. The same people that are asking Jesse Jackson to apologize for his “Hymietown” remark or Al Sharpton to apologize for Tawana Brawley or supporting the sister in the Duke case are the same people that won’t tell George Bush to apologize for the war.

MT: Wow!

SJ: You have to understand what you are dealing with.

MT: That makes all the sense in the world, that statement is the truest. I’m an eternal optimist. I like to see things work out—if for nothing else—for the sake of our children.

SJ: I’m not worried about society at large. I’m more worried about how our children view us. We don’t need validation from anyone to exist and succeed in this country. We really don’t. If in Whites eyes they view Blacks as messed up people, then that’s fine with me. I only care about how our children see us as. I don’t want our children to be ashamed or disgusted of us because of someone else’s view. Some more analogies: Just because I don’t sell as many records as say Justin Timberlake, I stand firm on mine. Just because I don’t have two MVP trophies like Steve Nash, it’s OK to be Allen Iverson. Say Rudi Giuliani or whomever wins the candidacy for President. It would still be OK to be Barack Obama. Just because people don’t routinely compare his art to Picasso, it’s OK to be Jean-Michel Basquiat. Just because he didn’t win a full Nobel Peace prize doesn’t mean that it’s not OK to be Nelson Mandela (Who had to share the prize in 1993 with F.W. de Klerk). We can’t wait for that mainstream acceptance. Our kids have to get what we do and what we stand for.

MT: Do you think there is conversations like this going on in White society?

SJ: I don’t know. If there is, the conversations are totally different. As Blacks we have been historically taught to at least entertain conspiracy theories, but this is all about the vantage point. Mike, I can say anything about the disconnect that we are talking about. It all goes back to the vantage point. There is no way Whites can see or feel what we see and feel. It’s impossible. We have two different existences in this country. Whites just can’t see the total scope from their eyes. Recently, the Sports Nation question was: “Should the Confederate Flag be removed from South Carolina’s State Capital?” I checked when there were over 32,000 responses and it was 53% yes and 47% no. Even if Whites agree that the flag should come down, they still can’t see from our vantage point. Even if they agree with me that this is a no-brainer, they still don’t feel the full impact as to why it is such. They simply aren’t considering what the Confederate Flag means to me. They aren’t looking at it though the same vantage point. It’s not just a flag, it what the flag represents. Unless you have been where my people have been you just don’t see it the same because you don’t have the same vantage point. It’s all about the vantage point, and it’s always going to be that way.

MT: This is the basis of this last segment. Whites, when we see our history, we see death. We see mass amounts of wasted generations that would have affected the maturation and progression of Earth’s civilization.

People say this happened four hundred years ago. So what people died, get over it. So what, so what!

We’ve been born into a story. We’ve been told stories that our parents, grandparents, hell, even drunk uncles (symbolism) at barbecues have told us our entire lives. Personally, when I see the Confederate Flag, I immediately envision a dead Black man in overalls hanging. You just can’t dispute that because it’s happened numerous times. I see people burning, KKK, masks and horses and all that shit running around!

I don’t understand. We can see their vantage point. Why can’t they see ours? Is it…guilt?

SJ: Yeah, that could be part of it. Of course that’s a big part of it. It’s not just one thing. It’s a combination of things. In America, you cannot avoid White society. We are part of them. We eat foods they traditionally eat. We celebrate holidays they celebrate. We wear clothes they wear. We name our kids their names and speak their language. We have to see from their vantage point. We have to hold on to ours, but it’s a lot easier to see where Whites are coming from. We are sharing our lives with them, but they aren’t sharing their lives with us.

MT: This is something that also bothers me. I see this all the time in movies. Hypothetically, say you have a movie starring Denzel Washington, Demi Moore and Richard Gere. Denzel is playing this heroic character of sheer bravery and sacrifice. On the other hand Demi and Gere are involved in this love affair that is so dreamy and romantic. Denzel has his love interest, but it’s usually involving a bar scene and also carnal sex with fast women. At the end of this movie, Denzel sacrifices his life so Demi and Gere’s love can live on—riding off in the sunset to kiss by the ocean. I’ve seen that movie a million times (Stealth comes to mind, just a more recent example). Even though Denzel’s character is the most intelligent and strongest, he ends up dead? Are we supposed to accept that it’s cool for the Black guy to die?

SJ: That’s what you are supposed to accept. Whites don’t see it that way. It’s all again because of our vantage point. You and I know that the running joke in the Black community historically has been that we are the first to die in movies. I just don’t think they pay attention to that.

Directors will probably say that you all should just be happy to be in the movie.

MT: Bullshit!

SJ: You have to keep in mind that this is again, part of history. It’s not really bullshit. They can do this shit without us. They can exist in this country without anyone else. There are enough Whites to do so without us to be cool. I’m not trying to get on the company that sends me the check, but how long has Disney been around? At least one hundred fifty years and there are just using their first Black starring character (Maddy from the Frog Princess)? They’ve had other ethnicities—Mulan, Aladdin, but no Blacks?

MT: Let me stop you right there Scoop. Disney seems to get away with making these Victorian themed movies set way over in Europe that has no minority characters whatsoever. How can that be in this day and age that you have a movie that’s exclusive of any race?

SJ: Mike, Mike! Because they can. Why should we be mad at Disney because of this common practice? Making movies way over in Africa (Tarzan) that has no Black folks? Laughable.

MT: Yeah, funny stuff.

SJ: We have to stop asking and demanding that Whites do stuff for us. Just because we’re not involved in those projects doesn’t mean that we have to negate our creativity.

We have to do it ourselves.

Even if it’s on a smaller scale. Take Tavis Smiley for example. He should be on Nightline or some other mainstream national news show, but he chooses to stay on PBS and have his own show. Most of us are going to jump at the Nightline move because of the visibility and the contract. It’s not like PBS is Black owned, but he has a better vehicle to read his people and deal with their interests.

MT: When I was with Blacksportsnetwork.com, I used to tell my superior David Cole all the time: “What if Willie Mays stayed in the Negro League?” He has a great vision for developing BSN, and I really wanted to stay there and see it all play out. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out. We have a great thing in TSF and I also have my own site MichaelTillery.com, so things are looking up for what we are trying to accomplish here. We should all try to develop that grassroots type of vision to just see if it works. Because like you said, it’s really not working this way (on the grand scale). We’re making strong strides assimilating, but that’s not progress to me. You still have a lil’ snotty nosed kid in the ‘hood starving from neglect. We have to do more to uplift our race from the bottom to the top. It’s going to take the falsehoods in our race to collectively do a complete turnaround and become more conscious and positive affective people.

You just aren’t here for you brotha! Do your part!

I don’t know if this is going to be successful or not, but we have to Keep Hope Alive! Going back to the movie scenario I’ve mentioned. Whites can make White movies, and they won’t be labeled as such, but when Spike Lee or John Singleton directs a movie with just Blacks, it’s labeled as a Black movie. Do you know how many Whites avoid those movies just because of that inference?

SJ: Exactly! Once you are labeled Black, you are cutting off collective feet to run like Kunta Kinte in Roots. From my vantage point, I can see that John Hughes movies are whiter than white, but his movies aren’t labeled that way. Whites would be less critical of Hughes movies than Spike Lee movies because-in part—they understand Hughes movies more. But the other part is subliminal as far as I’m concerned. Woody Allen has never done a movie that had the impact of Spike’s Malcolm X. Ask the average American citizen who has the better body of work and they will say Allen. It wouldn’t be close in White’s eyes.

MT: When prominent Black Americans die, the coverage just isn’t the same. Instead of celebrating their life, there always seems to be one last dig for people to get in. I think Dwil and I spoke about this recently…comparing Jimmy Hendrix to an Eric Clapton. You can’t compare the two. Jimmy did it in a different era and used his amazing talent to affect the masses—not just one race. He was a pioneer—and he wasn’t even the first.

This is wish for every White American to do. Watch the movie Rosewood in its entirety. If you can stomach it then you will see what this entire conversation is about America.

SJ: Thank you. Thank you! A large segment of people would say it’s not like that anymore. You would say yes it is! It’s just not as overt. On some level, everyday Blacks have to deal with race. Turn on the radio, there might be three Black stations as opposed to one hundred White stations. Turn on the TV. For every Black station, there may be five hundred White stations. There are two Black TV stations: BET and TV One. When you go to grocery stores, we are going to pay more for a gallon of milk than what our counter parts will because most of Blacks are in the inner city. We’re talking about everyday life. Gas is more expensive in the ‘hood. You pay more for your car insurance in the inner city. This is just not about being called a nigger walking down the street. This is not about not getting a job or a cab for that matter—this is e-v-e-r-y-d-a-y life. Every day we are affected by race, so we can’t get over it. It is omnipresent in everything. Go through a dictionary one day. Count out how many pictures you see in the dictionary that are Black.

MT: Probably none.

SJ: So even when we look through a dictionary, we are dealing with race. Even if we go to our own toy stores in our neighborhood nine out of the ten Barbies are going to be White. And I’m seriously joking here, but when you drive down a city street any urban city where a decent percentage of black folks live and you see state workers working on pot holes that have been there for years—what is that? It sure as hell wouldn’t happen in the suburbs. They’re potholes don’t get old like ours in the ‘hood. But Whites want us to not equate this to race, but it is. George Bush took his visit to pay respects to the victims at VA Tech the day after the killings, which is what he was supposed to do, but on the flipside of that it took Bush, what, seven days to get down there after Katrina? Yet they shove down our throats that that had nothing to do with race? I can’t tell! I maybe wrong but like Barkley said, I doubt it. We deal with race every day. There’s not a Black person out there that I know that doesn’t go through this. Now how we go about it is a different story. We’re not talking about slavery; we still have to deal with the fact that we are still Black in this country. There’s always a reminder—every day.

MT: A year after Katrina, I had the honor of reciting a poem publicly I wrote entitled Black Water. Comedienne Queen Aishah let me open up a comedy show in a Washington, DC club H20…great experience. I think that moment is going to get lost in history. It was yet another chance for us as Americans to speak about race during a most vulnerable moment. I totally agree with what Kanye West said that George Bush doesn’t care about Black people shortly thereafter. I totally agree. People want to say it was more social-economics more than anything. After reciting my poem to applause in DC, I returned home to recite the same poem in a bar that I’d bounced in. The bar was mostly White at the time—as it usually is—after reciting the poem, people were hot! A friend who was with me at the time, Silas Whaley couldn’t believe the quick and hated response. Talk about culture shock. They were saying all kinds of things to me: “Why can’t you leave well enough alone? Why are you saying this? What is your problem?” I merely said to them, “Look at the facts!” The truth remains that those people sat there starving for days sweating because they were hot as hell, while mothers sat unceremoniously dead in wheel chairs for days! When we as Blacks continue to see these images and are forced to deal with those images time and time again, what are we supposed to feel?!?

SJ: Vantage point!

MT: (sigh) vantage point.

SJ: This utopian society that we are hoping for is not going to happen. They call this society a democracy, but it’s not—and it’s never going to be because a democracy means equal voice. If you think we all have equal voices and the same leverage in this society, something is wrong. The word democracy is thrown around so that other countries see us as having a little more freedom. Its true meaning is to allow people to live differently under an all encompassing government. There is no diversity here under an equal playing field.

MT: Scoop, you are seen as this polarizing figure in journalism. After our first interview I wanted to help people understand you a little bit more through your words. Society needs to hear what the hell is really going on and you have been steadfast in your conviction during the time you’ve been at ESPN.

SJ: Mike, again, what’s really going on with us is something vastly different than what’s going on with them. I’m sure people are saying, “So what that there is only 1.3% of sports editors. So what!” Seriously, that’s the attitude you are going to hear.

MT: What do you say to people who have totally sympathized with the members of Duke’s lacrosse team? Personally, I could care less racially what they went through. There were all kinds of witnesses that heard all kinds of racial slurs coming from that house. Let me make this clear that this is not about what they’ve went through personally. What I mean is the racial context and being supposedly wrongfully accused. Blacks are and have been wrongfully accused of so many crimes in this society. I’m sure there are many deaths as a result. I can guarantee you that it’s happening right this very second! If they truly were wrongfully accused then they should be allowed to re-enter society unscathed. Kobe Bryant still catches hell for a case that was thrown out.

SJ: A large part of the country does not hear of these cases you speak of Mike. The makeup of the media plays a large part in this. You can’t wrap the country’s consciousness around cases they don’t see. Because of some of our stories go untold, they are rendered almost irrelevant by the lack of coverage. Our stories do not resonate through a large part of society. You are going to have a hard time reasoning with anyone concerning the Duke case because they just don’t see what you are alluding to Mike.

MT: If I could have ever described the passion I feel about Hip Hop’s existence, I would have been mumbling these exact same words in my mother’s womb:

Hip Hop is soul and the soul is us.

David Wilson, Dax-Devlon Ross, Jonathan Weiler, Myles Brown and I, Michael Tillery want to make an impact on the way America’s media is presented. Are we perfect? No, of course not, but damn, someone out there has got to play chicken with the present media construct and create a check and balance. The media should be about helping us think. It should not be absolute. I don’t care if it’s Barry Bonds, George Bush’s Iraq or the many people who are presently missing that no one gives a damn about, the media shapes us but it shouldn’t define us. This interview’s only objective is to help us change not only the way we all look at race, but the collective image we have of ourselves and our society. Any of you that know me personally know that I see this civilization as a caricature of Rome in its immoral prime.

Imagine that.

Do you want to be reduced to monuments?

DW: Scoop, one last last thing. How would you like to be remembered?

SJ: I was reading how they paid tribute to David Halberstam last week when he past away and talked about how he was able to transcend different genres and how he dealt with both sports and race (and history in his case). I’ve always tried to do the same. When I die, I hope that I what I’d done over my career had the same type of impact on society through journalism, at least for this generation. But will I get that type of love? Probably not. But that can’t stop me from doing or writing or saying what I feel is necessary. I just better hope that I die after Jason Whitlock so that he can’t write my obit for Time magazine.

And with a laugh over his final statement, so ends the Scoop Jackson interview.

107 Responses to “Scoop Jackson: Vantage Point”

  1. Nice job on the interview, guys. Worth every minute it took to read.

  2. Thanks S2N. Much appreciated.

  3. great read. vantage point, indeed.

  4. This was an excellent read, and a great interview. I want to thank you all for this.

    I also want to chime in with some thoughts on some of the stuff that came up:

    I couldn’t understand why the negative reporting

    This is what Scoop said at the beginning of the interview, and it speaks to the feeling that I get from reading the papers everyday. There was a time when athletes were mostly white in the U.S. – back then there was some negative reporting, for sure. Ted Williams, for example (though, to be fair, Ted wasn’t really “white”). But the majority of the reporting, at least in my perception (and I don’t know for sure, I admittedly haven’t read too many newspapers stories from the 20’s thru 50’s) was positive. It was glorifying players as heroes, and the game (mostly baseball) as pure and excellent. Over the years sports has become more multicultural; the coverage of sports has become more and more negative. Related? In my opinion, very likely.

    Saying the word cracker is not equivalent to nigger

    This should be obvious to everyone, yet too many people still don’t get it. The N-word has connotations – black people associated it with lynchings, with segregation, with slavery, with police brutality, with every negative thing that black people have had to deal with in the past 400 years. It’s like SJ and MT say about the Confederate flag later on in the interview…

    “Cracker” may be a derogatory word, but it doesn’t have the same connotations. It doesn’t conjure up images of your grandfather getting hung. Not the same.

    White people walking in an all Black neighborhood are safer than the people that actually live there.

    That’s truth. Jackson definitely speaks as someone who has lived in an inner city environment.

    I tell people (Whites) close to me all the time, that the only way racism in this society will stop is if Whites recognize that there is a problem and they speak out strongly from the gate on someone like Don Imus instead of dealing with the aforementioned two wrongs don’t make a right bullshit.

    This is the problem in society right now. Sure, when it’s a clear-cut situation, politicians, media, everyone knows where to fall on the topic. Black man is dragged behind a car – everyone speaks up to call to an end to racism. But when its a grey area that’s not so clear-cut – police brutality, for example, or the Imus situation – you have a differing reaction. There were some powerful white people calling for Imus to get fired; that’s true. But there were a lot of other voices defending him, too. Black and white. Political (Guiliani, McCain). Those grey areas are where the real problems in our society lay.

    Do you think there is conversations like this going on in White society?

    In some place, sure. I know a lot of conscious white people. But in general white society, no. The reality is that they would like to pretend, or believe, that racism is no longer a problem, that it ended with de-segregation and the Civil Rights Acts. That there is no such thing as institutional racism. That everyone is equal in the U.S., or that inequalities aren’t related to skin color, but to other things….

    This was a great read, thank you all again.

  5. Thanks peeps….

  6. Gentleman,

    Wow. One of the best interviews I’ve ever read. This is the real Scoop
    Jackson, not the ESPN Scoop, but the one you could talk to for hours about
    anything. Kinda like Ralph Wiley (R.I.P.).

    P.S. DWil, when is part three of the barry Bonds expose’ coming? I think I can
    memorize parts one and two :-)

  7. Huge compliment Des. Thanks.

  8. Des-
    Part of it is in the, “Barry Bonds: A Step Closer to Aaron, A Step Farther from America’s Hearts” piece. It will be subsumed by something more and larger.

  9. great interview.. keep up the hard work and conscious conversation

  10. You know we will HG. Thanks for the words.

  11. I enjoyed the article and appreciated Scoop’s point of view, I have a few problems with some of the things Scoop said.

    “If I put an apostrophe at the end of tryin’ instead of trying, then I’m being Black. What are we supposed to do with it? Stop?”

    I have never understood this. Scoop is black no matter how he types. The english language has been abused enough as it is, why would a national journalist continue the trend? Shouldn’t a man in his position be setting a positive example for all the young people who read his work? I don’t care if a writer is white or black, if they can’t even use the language correctly, I am automatically going to think less of them and their work.

    “White ancestry brought us here and their offspring don’t want to interact with us?”

    If people of European descent, living in America, thought this way, none of us would get along. Whites were enslaving each other long before the slave trade to America began and for a longer period of time. Let’s be honest here, would even a simple majority of black people prefer to still be living in Africa? Should we also point out that it was African’s selling other African’s to the slave ships? Yes, they wouldn’t have been doing it if the ships didn’t come, but just like everything else in this debate, the blame can be spread out.

    “Mike, you’ve got to understand what we are dealing with. The same people that are asking Jesse Jackson to apologize for his “Hymietown” remark or Al Sharpton to apologize for Tawana Brawley or supporting the sister in the Duke case are the same people that won’t tell George Bush to apologize for the war.”

    George Bush, no matter your opinion of him, didn’t go to war over a racial issue. In this country it seems more acceptable for minorities to be rascist. You guys do realize that Jews were being persecuted when African’s were still ruling empires, right? Jesse Jackson using a word like “hymie” or Al Sharpton using his position to influence a criminal investigation are completely different from the nation entering a war, but are very similar to what Imus said. Imus was punished but Jackson and Sharpton never have been.

    “In America, you cannot avoid White society. We are part of them. We eat foods they traditionally eat. We celebrate holidays they celebrate. We wear clothes they wear. We name our kids their names and speak their language. We have to see from their vantage point. We have to hold on to ours, but it’s a lot easier to see where Whites are coming from. We are sharing our lives with them, but they aren’t sharing their lives with us.”

    English is the language for everyone in the country. It isn’t White or Black. Everyone celebrates their own holidays. If anything, the first part of this paragraph gives examples of what Scoop believes to be “White” culture being shared with non-Whites. I don’t see Blacks trying to share their culture with anyone else. I understand that groups of people want to hold onto what is theirs, but if you want White people to understand, it has to be made available to them.

    “I’m not trying to get on the company that sends me the check, but how long has Disney been around? At least one hundred fifty years and there are just using their first Black starring character (Maddy from the Frog Princess)? They’ve had other ethnicities—Mulan, Aladdin, but no Blacks?”

    This is just sad. A man with a Master’s from Howard doesn’t know how old the company is he works for? Walt Disney was born in the 1900’s. His company didn’t really get off the ground until the 40’s. Oh, and MT, the reason so many of Disney’s movies are Victorian themed is because they are fairy tales, which originated in Europe. Not strange for a struggling company to tell stories that 90% of the nation allready knew.

    I know this comes off sounding negative, but I really did like the interview. I’ll definitely read Scoop’s stuff with a less critical eye from now on.

  12. I like the interview, but it strikes me more than ever how much we need sportswriters who can transcend the white majority perspective or the black minority perspective. (I do have some hopes for LZ Granderson, who seems to find some interesting angles that defy stereotyping in his writing. And Jemele Hill, on occasion, also can do this.)

    I took a stab at explaining the problems associated with only whites covering sports once (http://mcbias.blogspot.com/2007/04/bloggolalia-why-do-we-need-female-and.html). It was a generalization and sloppy, but maybe it makes some sense here. I’ll summarize my post: white writers judge, criticize, and think too much, especially when they are confronted with something from a different culture. But black writers, then, don’t do it enough. They’re trying too hard to compensate for the white writers overdoing it.

    The problem I see with Scoop’s writing is that he’s just too friendly with the athletes. I like him otherwise, but he does this over and over again. He wrote a column in Slam sometime back about how he’ll never dog Kobe because Kobe was nice to his kids at some All-Star game. It was honest of him to say that, but I also felt betrayed as his reader; where’s the impartiality, the attempt to set that aside?! I want the truth, Scoop Jackson, be it white, black, or green.

    For some of those athletes, his writing balances the scale; e.g., most white people were wrong about Allen Iverson. But for others, I don’t feel I can trust his analysis. There’s never any discussion of potential minuses at all. Anyway, plus points for Scoop being unashamed to talk about his love of tennis and women’s basketball in his column. And it was nice of him to allow himself to be interviewed. Just a few points.

  13. First and foremost, a tremendous interview. Scoop is one of our most important sports writers because in the timid world of sports journalism, he is fearless. His content is deep, but I don’t want to comment on the issue of content, but form.

    I can’t understand why people would criticize him for “abusing the English language” – writing “tryin'” instead of “trying” being the most trite example. That’s like criticizing John Coltrane for refusing to play like Benny Goodman. Language in general – and English in particular – is malleable, something for writers to explore and shape. The most interesting writers have always understood this – from Shakespeare to Henry Miller to James Baldwin to Dorothy Parker to Nikki Giovanni. Scoop to me is more a part of this tradition than that of Lupica, Kornheiser, and Mike and the Mad Dog. This isn’t arguing that Scoop is the Shakespeare of sports writing, but a request for people not to put him – and other sports writers trying to expand the form – in some kind of a box. James Baldwin said, “America is devoted to the death of the paradox.” Scoop challenges America by willing to be a sports writer who doesn’t try to write like a sports writer…. and for this very reason, at his worst, he is more interesting than most of his contemporaries.

    Dave Z – edgeofsports@gmail.com

  14. Gentlemen. Great interview. I’ve been a fan of Scoop ever since he came aboard to ESPN Because of the networks racism, shoddy journalism, pile it on mentality regarding Barry Bonds and Kobe Bryant, I refuse to watch any of their commentary of read anything from them not written by Scoop or Ms. Hill. But I do check in from time to time to see what take Scoop has and God Bless him for keepin’ it real for all of us to see.

    Scoop and I are about the same age and it seems he’s settled into the same cynicism regarding the ability of White America to ever see us as fully human and fully American. I guess we came along at precisely the right time to see the optimism of the 60’s give way to the race-baiting and mean-spiritedness of the Reagan years up to the present time.

    So reading the article was like being in MY living room, when I try to school young brothers about how the world works and has for a very long time. The interview wasn’t earth-shattering for me, simply reassuring that others see what I do.

    I’d like to address a few comments by Matt.

    It is good that you are willing to view SJ with a less critical eye. At least some small step towards a better understanding might come out of the interview. But I must address a few things you said.

    Were it not for “abusing” the English language” we might all be speaking the King’s English. That might be fine for you, but I’m happy the way things stand. As a black man who has a professional degree from Stanford, I am proud of the fact that I have the facility to speak to Presidents and B-Boys, Bank Presidents and Gangstas. We are a people who pride ourselves on our verbal agility and creativity. We should never make apologies for our verbal creativity, and I hope we never will. You say you think less of a man who writes his prose in what you must think of as Ebonics? That’s your take and your right. Personally, I think far more highly of Scoop BECAUSE of his verbal style. It’s like Hip Hop or the Be Bop that came before it.

    I fail to see the point you try to make regarding SJ’s comments about how we arrived here and how we have been viewed. Actually, I do see your point and it’s just not anywhere near the topic being discussed. How whites might have treated other whites isn’t really an issue since those differentially treated whites still learned the word “Nigger” on the dock at Ellis Island and realized, as James Baldwin so deftly noted in “The Fire Next Time,” that the surest way to become truly American was to join in on the fun of separating blacks from every one else. And making it clear that no matter how low they might be on the social scale, they were higher than the Niggers. As to those blacks who sold blacks into slavery, so damn what? Those people never came here, they never held us as human chattel here, they never beat us, burned us, cheated us, dehumanized us, made us to feel as second class citizens in the land we helped build. Bringing them into the conversation has one and only one purpose, to deflect in preparation for an act of denial. And as for placing blame in the debate of why Whites still act as though they’re superior, as though we aren’t fully American, as though we should act like them, well, good luck with that. I’m sure your white friends mostly agree with you on that 100%.

    I just have to laugh at the notion that black culture isn’t made available to whites to enjoy, as though WE are the roadblocks to that particular vehicle taking off. I mean, REALLY, is that how you see it. We sit on an island of our own making and purposefully decide to decrease our economic status and opportunitues in order to deny YOU the opportunity to get to know us. But weren’t YOU the one who criticized SJ for abusing the English Language? I mean, seriously , talking ’bout makin’ me wanna hollar and throw up both my hands! Tell me Matt, why is it that throughout the history of this nation what we HAVE created has had to have been de-blackified in order to make palatable for YOUR tastes if you’re so good about taking in what we have to offer. Matt, ever hear of Paul Whitman the “King of Jazz?”

    As to this:
    “Not strange for a struggling company to tell stories that 90% of the nation allready knew.”

    Well, I’ll just leave it to you to see where I or SJ might go with THAT one.

  15. McBias:

    I fail to see how SJ publically admitting that he would never dog Kobe, is an admission of inobjectivity. Perhaps you’re of the notion that the sportswriters job is to “dog” athletes. And if that were the case, you’d fit right in at ESPN despite your seeming understanding of the apparent inability of the vast majority of white Sportswriters-Mr Zirin being a notable exception- to write about us fairly and without an eye towards racist moralizing.

    I took it to mean something along these lines
    “Kobe gets lynched by a press devoid of integrity on a daily basis but I’ll never fall into that trap because I know the brother and he’s all-right.”

    Now frankly, I’ve seen SJ write an article about Kobe that was less than flattering IMO, but when he did so, he didn’t monsterize him, nor make him out to be the most arrogant prick this side of Barry Bonds. I appreciated that.

    Fundamentally, I have no problem with sportswriters writing positive articles. I KNOW it is needed in the case of our black athletes given the savaging thay take from the white media.

  16. [...] Scoop Jackson: Vantage Point [image]This is very long, so let’s get right to it. This is a candid conversation about issues that pain Blacks in […] [...]

  17. Dave Z-
    Thanks for the input and for aiding those who may be less open to the idea of language-bending writing as art instead of just grammatically-correct journalistic prose. Oh, and Matt, I was tryin’ to make that first sentence read well just for you – feel me?

  18. “Do you think there is conversations like this going on in White society?”

    I may be in a poor position to comment on this; I’ve spent the last decade entrenched in academia. But as a white person, I agree with the majority of the opinions and ideas expressed in this interview (and I’ve made some of the same arguments you both make in this interview). Most of the white people that I’m usually surrounded with would agree with the vast majority of the views expressed in this interview. It’s one reason I don’t like generalizations like “White society,” “Black culture,” etc. (though I recognize completely why the broader context requires terms like these, and why these terms are used in this interview). Most of the white people I know are having conversations like this, are examining society like this, are recognizing the institutional racism rampant in our society, are recognizing that the problems of the past are not simply in the past, etc.

    But, like I said, I may be in the smaller subset of academia, not in the culture at large. Most of the things you say in this interview are things that I was taking for granted as true by the end of grad school.

  19. Great interview. Makes me see Scoop in a different light.

  20. Insightful interview.

    I feel like I can truly read both writers better now.

    I would like to address one particular quote from Matt’s comment, though.

    This isn’t a grammar class. This is about the ability to express a thought to one’s audience. If I, as a writer, have a frame of reference that leads me to chose to modify a word spelling or even engage in colloquial slang to express myself in a manner I feel can best espress myself then I will.

    The abuse of the English language is NOT the concern of the typical writer.

    The English language is NOT in danger of obsolescence. If anything the creative use of it makes it stronger and more resillient.

    All that says NOTHING of the fact that you would even deign to say because he chooses to use the language in that fashion, that he is somehow incapable of doing so.

    That is just plain craziness.

  21. I want to bring up one point of disagreement, not because I’m trying to be disagreeable, but because I think it’s worth discussing.

    “There is no way Whites can see or feel what we see and feel. It’s impossible. We have two different existences in this country. Whites just can’t see the total scope from their eyes. Recently, the Sports Nation question was: “Should the Confederate Flag be removed from South Carolina’s State Capital?” I checked when there were over 32,000 responses and it was 53% yes and 47% no. Even if Whites agree that the flag should come down, they still can’t see from our vantage point. Even if they agree with me that this is a no-brainer, they still don’t feel the full impact as to why it is such. They simply aren’t considering what the Confederate Flag means to me. They aren’t looking at it though the same vantage point. It’s not just a flag, it what the flag represents. Unless you have been where my people have been you just don’t see it the same because you don’t have the same vantage point. It’s all about the vantage point, and it’s always going to be that way.”

    I really dislike the attitude that one group cannot understand another group, for a few reasons.

    1. It puts a limit on the human imagination, something I’m unwilling to do. My feeling is that if one is WILLING to understand another’s perspective, then one can. That’s the key: many whites are unwilling to try and see and understand things from a black perspective. But if I am willing to understand, and if you share your experience with me, I believe I’m capable.

    This is why I read. I don’t want to only read literature by people who think like me. I can only have the experience of a white male, which is precisely why I want to read literature by women, by blacks, by Asian-Americans, by Holocaust survivors, or just about anybody else who can describe an experience that I cannot experience myself. I recognize that I can only experience the world from a limited perspective, and that is why I will myself, partly through literature, to understand the perspectives of others. If I’m willing to understand, and you’re willing to share, I believe in the human imagination and ability for empathy.

    2. It is defeatist. If you say that whites cannot understand blacks, you are denying white people the chance to understand black people. And if you deny whites the chance to understand blacks, you’re not terribly far from denying white people the chance to see black people as equals, as fellow human beings. And if there is to be any connection, if there is to be any progress, there must be understanding. Again, there must be a WILLINGNESS to understand that, sadly, too many people lack. But I don’t give up on the hard work of understanding; I continue to believe, as E.M. Forster suggests, that we must “only connect.”

    Again, I’m not trying to be negative or disagreeable. I just thought I would bring up one area of disagreement I found in the interview.

  22. Hey Mizzo! Phoenix Woman here. Thanks for the kind words!

    During the interview with Scoop Jackson, the subject of whether whites ever get to see media messages from black people was broached. Well, I can tell you that this white person likes to read Steve Gilliard’s The News Blog and Oliver Willis’ blog — both to see what SOME black people are thinking (I don’t want to hang on either gent the awful weight of Being A Spokesman For All Black People), and because they are both damned good writers (Steve’s military history writing is very good — he predicted exactly what would happen in Iraq, and why; and Oliver gave us Brand Democrat and is always a good read.).

    The Bad News: Steve’s in the hospital now recovering from a nasty heart problem. The Good News: The News Blog is being held up by his co-blogger Jen and lots of Steve’s favorite posters, including several black posters such as “LowerManhattanite” who, as a Yankees fan, has a friendly rivalry with Steve, a big Mets fan. It’s well worth checking out, just to see the number and quality of the friends Steve’s made who are coming to his aid.

  23. 2 quick points

    1) I have to agree with the previous comment that this is vintage Scoop. What he submits, or at least what makes it through editing, at ESPN comes off more like the way white people would write if they were black. Follow me? While I can’t say I’m a huge Jason Whitlock backer, I do tend to side with his opinion that the ESPN Scoop comes off more as a minstrel than as a true sports voice. Bring back the old Scoop!

    2) At 28 maybe I’m a bit younger and haven’t given up on the hope for change, but I have to believe it’s detrimental to throw out the idea that things will never change. First all it does is show those resisting change that they have dissenting support. Secondly it diminishes the dreams of the youth. In so many arenas there is only a ‘talented 10th’ of black representation, as a current part of that tenth you have to believe that others are coming up behind you, using your voice as a motivation towards growth. A defeatist attitude insures we will never eclipse that 10th. Like I said before, BRING BACK THE OLD SCOOP!!

  24. Fellas it was well worth the wait. Quality work that should get some serious notice and attention.

    HNIC

  25. KevDog, my problem with Scoop’s article wasn’t that he refused to demonize Kobe. I am a reformed, repentant former Kobe-hater myself. My problem was more that it had a clear tone of “He patted my back years ago, so I’ll pat his now.” That type of reasoning is precisely why so many white journalists will protect Brett Favre (Hi Peter King!) or other stars. I was disappointed to see such blatant proof that the quid pro quo is alive and well across color lines.

    We need to get past that. No more demonizing athletes, but no more protecting them either. Can we get some truth in our coverage? Is that really so much to ask? It’s either the reporter at his desk who never meets any athletes and so flames relentlessly, or the reporter in the locker room who sees them every day and never has an unkind word in his columns. An inbetween would be nice.

  26. Great work. Great interview.

    I think this sort of dialogue is important for “people” to see. But, to be honest, as a black guy with a similar agenda, and pursuing many of the same goals, I am a little disappointed in the evolution of the conversation by blacks about the black experience.

    I think at the root of the disappointment, for me, is the sense that there’s still a strong ethos of finger pointing and defensiveness, and a willingness to use our history as a crutch.

    I know it’s easier said than done, and I know through your work and life experience you are sort of trying to be “all that you can be” for our people and generally setting a good example for how one in a disadvantaged position can turn that around, but in the context of that reality, how come the language and overall feeling here is negative and speaking to a lack of change. You two dudes, me, Jason Whitlock, whomever have a lot to be happy about. And our whole lives and access to opportunity speak to nothing but hope and upside from my vantage point. Why dwell on the negative? Yes, I’ve been falsely imprisoned because of my race, yes there is a “black experience,” yes we should maintain some sort of awareness. But there is conversation going on about race in Blue State bars and the media, yet it’s not changing much, and its not changing because its our conversation, and we are not changing it. We’re not getting over the hump and moving on. Black people, culturally speaking, could never play cornerback because all we do is think about the first play where the Team Whitey got us for a touchdown. Maybe they got us for three touchdowns on three consecutive offensive plays, either way, we’re down and thining about it, but we’re still in the game, and we need to be focused on the second half. And if all we talk about is the first three plays that set us back, we won’t win.

    I think matt makes some interesting comments, but you’re willing to ignore his call out of Scoop’s ignorance about his company’s history to harp on his reluctance to accept the stylish apostrophe as an artful rendering of the english language.

    I got nothing but more respect for all the interview participants, but in Matt and the subsequent response I see an all too typical byproduct of this sort of conversation. Some white guy says, “but wait, what about this, and this, and you’re sort of misinterpreting that…” and instead of really engaging and process some of the critiques it devolves into “whatever yo, you ain’t black [insert black equivalent of snark here].”

    The question about whether this conversation is going on in white society is intriguing. Especially in conjunction with the adamant point that “there is no way white people can say or feel what we say or feel”

    It seems to me that if we have a negative outlook with regards to change, or lackthereof, it is because somehow we’re trying to appropriate the white experience, To ASSIMILATE Negroes, and we’re dissatisfied with our results. But that runs in contrast to the notion that we have two uniquely different experiences. i.e. we don’t care about the White Experience, we only care about the Black Experience.

    Are we in search of one experience? no, right? I mean that’s why you guys (we guys) hold on to what’s ours, our language, culture etc.

    But then how can we be critical of white people who hold on to theirs?

    This is getting too long, and I may have to write about it on TAN to get everything out … but I think the end point is to say, I have no problem with acknowledging the black experience, and the inherent challenges to that, but to single us out as having the most arduous challenge seems clearly self-serving, and more importantly beside the point. We don’t want to forget the past, but I think we need to clear our cache space a little, because no coach gets his team ready to win by talking about the shortcomings of the past or what people can’t do. And if you do talk about shortcomings its in the context of also talking about what we can do, so we can focus on that and get the job done. So if you consider yourselves teachers of the people, ok, give us another history lesson. But if you’re trying to put out the words that empower our own people and enable the change you skepticize on happening, then watch your language because I can see this hindering a young brotha’s outlook as much as a cracka saying some blatantly racist ish.

  27. “there is no way white people can say or feel what we say or feel”–TAN’s quote.
    TAN, I do believe there is some truth to that statement, in that white people who have no experience with other cultures or are born as American natives will have difficulties understanding blacks. But the trick is, people who come to America from a different culture or have lots of experience with other cultures will understand more than blacks might think they do. It’s not so simple as “white culture” and “black culture”, I don’t think; it’s more like “mainstream culture” and “minority culture”.

    Because I grew up in America as a son of immigrants, I do perceive the American mainstream culture more as an outsider, and thus sometimes I do get what blacks are talking about. Not as much as I’d like to understand, but enough to make me think that my point above is true.

    And people can change. I remember a particular girl that used to draw my ire because she never seemed to understand anything outside her middle-class bubble. She went to NYC for a missions trip and came back a lot more enlightened about the poor and needy. Don’t give up yet.

  28. Oh, and I know TAN is quoting someone else’s thoughts, just to make that clear. It’s hard to attribute a quote of a quote correctly.

  29. Assimilated –
    History is not a crutch, historical references are statements of fact. Historic references aren’t excuses either, they are reminders that NOTHING racially has truly been rectified; history and historical references serve to pound home that reality.

    There’s a great song by Jane’s Addiction about Ted Bundy titled, “Ted, Just Admit it.” I could easily say the same about the institutional infrastructure that props up racism and makes similar excuses for its fear-based, psychotic behavior, as did the serial killer, Bundy.

  30. TheLastPoet Says:

    Pacifist Viking,

    Some white people are having this discussion from their lofty positions in the ivory tower, it’s true. Some are eager to do so, while others are reluctant. Some regurgitate the same tired questions and arguments time and again, and often the Black or Other participants in these discussions find themselves running frantically in place, as if on a treadmill, going from room to room, popping the same ol shid, like I’ll be forced to do below, in response to The Assimilated Negro.

    Meanwhile, down here on the ground, racism and the fact of blackness continues to loom large, and to play out negatively in the real world and in real time. There is much MUCH less meaningful discussion (and no action) about these facts between everyday mainstream whites and Blacks who, as exclusive categories reflective of conditions that remain segregated, continue to regard each other with unease and contempt.

    The Assimilated Negro,

    You say, “But how can we be critical of white people who hold onto theirs?” and by “theirs” you mean “white” language, culture, and experience.

    You even set this statement off in its own neat little stanza, for added emphasis.

    Why?

    And does this tidy little bit of nothingness really need an answer? In 2007? After hundreds of years of “white” language, culture, and experience in America has produced THESE results, when no such similar results can be found among the disperate, historically disadvantaged groups of Blacks, Browns, and Yellows who have been trampled underfoot? Not to say that we Blacks have been reduced to pure victimhood. How could anyone ever say that about our people? I, for one, would never say it or even imply it. Indeed the greatest legacy of Black language, culture, and experience is the part of it which is adamant about the demand for justice, equality, and an end to domination, exploitation, and disrespect. That is what we celebrate. And to the extent that the white experience in America (and elsewhere), as it relates to us, has been about the denial of these basic human rights, well, THAT is what must be criticised – by us AND by the white people who have benefitted from their unequaled, elevated status.

    Ya dig?

    I’ma stop there because, truthfully, I’ve grown SO tired of explaining things to people all of whom should know better. But these words are really just the beginning, and I hope you go further.

    Brothaman, my words are heartfelt, and not intended to sting you, but the very last thing we need to do, as a people, is to start bailing out whitefolks with statements like that.

    Then again, I guess that’s EXACTLY why an n-word like me remains un-assimilated, and cannot, will not, in fact, assimilate.

  31. the Last Poet,

    Where is this Ivory Tower you speak of? I’d like to visit it someday.

  32. TheLastPoet Says:

    Pacifist Viking,

    Please don’t nit-pick with me. D-Wil and Mike T may take kindly to it, but I do not (in fact, I’m old enough to remember when D-Wil didn’t take too kindly to it, either!). If, out of everything I said, the only thing you heard was some euphemism I used for life in academia, then you’d do better just to leave me alone. See, it’s the little things like that which leads me to believe that whites will never really listen to what Black people are saying, or, God forbid, act upon it. It’s not the blatantly obvious things.

    Anyway, the Ivory Tower is an intellectual construct – not necessarily a financial one (although some professors do quite well in academia), built by whitefolk, for whitefolk. For a long time it was exclusive to whitefolk (anyone remember The Bell Curve?), and only recently accessible to the most disciplined, cheek turning, long-suffering Blackfolk.

    That answer your question?

  33. I’m sorry I used a snarky remark to summarize what bothered me in your comment. If I have a hobbyhorse peeve, it’s the assumption that college professors live in some isolated protected world and have no understanding how the “real world” works.

    Just a quick bio: I’m an adjunct professor (meaning my job isn’t secure and I make less money than a starting H.S. teacher) at a college teaching mostly working class students, I live in a racially diverse neighborhood in a city, and my wife teaches at a high school in that city that is made up primarily of minority students. So the assumption that I’m having conversations about race in a “lofty position in the ivory tower” just tends to irritate me.

  34. Thank you all for the well informed comments. This is exactly what TSF had in mind when conducting such an interview.

    Here’s my two cents. Dwil and I approached Scoop with the thoughts of creating a definitive piece on his past, present and future–from the broad ranging perspective that is TSF.

    That’s what we do and will continue to do.

    We wanted to get the best out of SJ–straight no chaser. Too many times, the “faces” of society choose the PC route which ultimately take us Jim Crow back.

    Yes, we as Blacks have our shortcomings. We admit that all the time.

    I never hear it from Whites. Sure as hell, not in a public forum.

    PV, I have to agree with Poet here and that’s not excluding anything substantive in your consciousness.

    Where do we go from here?

    I implore everyone to take a (Ruthian? Bondsian?) swing at formulating solutions without prejudice.

    I like to think that most of us here are that talented tenth. Show and prove your mettle.

    If any of you have been to my site. I have an intro that speaks to this loftly ambition.

    Whitlock is divisive and doesn’t offer any solutions. That’s why we slam him here and will continue to do so regardless of race, creed or chitlins greed.

    Seriously, all the layers that we use every single day in our lives are nothing but a detriment. We get all bent out of shape–and rightfully so–when something happens to us personally.

    What happens when it’s not your Mother, boss or neighbor?

    Absolutely nothing. That’s the disconnect we want to attack here.

    This is fact. Amber’s law means nothing to Blacks. There’s kids missing in the ‘hood right this very second that the national media fails to attach itself to.

    Josh Hancock died while just Darrent William’s mother cried.

    Somebody step the fuck up and help change the tide before to Hell we collectively ride!

  35. TheLastPoet Says:

    Pacifist Viking,

    Your bio is acknowledged, but it doesn’t change anything I said about the existence of the Ivory Tower. Remember, I said it was/is an “intellectual” construct (one with obvious material ramifications, but still…), not a financial one. Think about it.

    And please, let us bury the hatchet quickly here. I have always found your comments to be insightful and well reasoned, even if I happened to disagree. You are certainly a welcome contributor. Besides, the last thing I need is to start a beef with yet another commenter on Mike T’s and D-wil’s blog site!

    Shid, maybe I came on a lil strong. Like the old PE song said, I can be “quite hostile.” It’s who I am.

  36. TheLastPoet Says:

    Now how about responding to the actual substance of my comment? I understand how the “Ivory Tower” remark could set you off, but that’s minor. And the fact that we’ve digressed into a discussion about such a triviality is actually a major part of the point I was trying to make. Read it again, if you wish…

  37. [...] “I just better hope that I die after Jason Whitlock so that he can’t write my obit for Time magazine.” That’s hilarious, Scoop. I’m sure you’re celebrating with us today. The Starting Five conducts a comprehensive interview. [...]

  38. “I got a right to be hostile, my people being persecuted!”

  39. [...] “I just better hope that I die after Jason Whitlock so that he can’t write my obit for Time magazine.” That’s hilarious, Scoop. I’m sure you’re celebrating with us today. The Starting Five conducts a comprehensive interview. [...]

  40. TheLastPoet Says:

    What up, Mike T???!!!

    You know the real Flava. Not this Bamboozled minstrel show bullshid he’s perpetratin now… I mean, was Spike Lee on point, or was he muhfuckin on point with this showbiz bullshid?

    Burn Hollywood Burn

  41. Ok..I’ll give one of my own.

    A required class on race. Take one entering high school and again as seniors.

  42. Sup LP! Glad you f-i-n-ally chimed in ;)

    Like Chuck said in part two of the interview that will be up on my site shortly, “Flava Flav for goodness sakes!”

    Ain’t that the truth!

  43. Burn Hollywood Burn

  44. DJDiggyDiggy Says:

    Wow, what a read!!! Wonderful perspective to gain and read about. Very informative to find out about Scoop’s insight and why his writing is the way it is. To find out why everyone seems to bristle at his style of writing. Except me. I enjoy his look upon things with his particular perspective. Great read.

    But I do have my own opinions about much expressed in this article. I understand that the article dealt with many issues, the primary of which is the black/white relationship in America, but a few other items concerning other races were brought into the column. Asians were also brought here against their will and forced into slavery. Land was taken from Asians as well, just to build this country. Black nor whites have been here longer than Asians. I bring this up only because it seems like there is a great divide between the plight fought by Blacks, Yellows, Browns, and every color in between. One important statement made was that the Black Voice has been the only voice of dissent to White America, and with that, I cannot argue. Just seems to me that while mostly Blacks are speaking against it, it doesn’t mean that many other races aren’t suffering from the same slights, the same injustices, and the same wrongs in today’s society. There’s just not a sense of U.N.I.T.Y. among separate races. We’ve all been divided, and trying to fight the same battles!!!

    Divided we fall indeed…

  45. Scoop and I spoke about the irony of him wearing a USA basketball jersey.

    Wasn’t that the team that the sportsmedia at large slammed unmercifully.

  46. Last Poet: I’ve got no hatchet to bury, even if I responded sarcastically at first. I’m sorry about that, and I’ve got no animosity. Peace.

    As far as content, I think I did try to deal with the content of the argument. What I suggested is that academics aren’t in a separate sphere “above” it all commenting from afar, but are often, as you said, “down here on the ground.” There are some people in the lofty perches above it all discussing this, but I also believe their conversations can be sincere and purposed, directed toward change.

    Mizzo: I’m of the belief that education can solve a lot of issues. I like your suggestion on required classes on race. I also believe that a lot of classes that are not primarily about race should often deal with issues of race (literature and history courses, obviously, but others too).

  47. That must change DJ I agree. Thanks for coming. I hope you continue to check us out from time to time.

  48. So true PV. There is always going to be resentment if minorities are continuously fed George Washington cannot tell a lie and chopped down a cherry tree.

    Irrelevant.

    Blacks do not see any honor or integrity in any past American “hero” who owned slaves.

    Why should we?

    Open up the curriculum to be more inclusive of all races when it comes to history.

    There is a lot that isn’t known..trust.

  49. true true, mizzo…

  50. Sportsbruh Says:

    Man, I’m loving Scoop more and more.

  51. Great interview.
    I guess I never realized Scoop was that old. Having only read him on ESPN.com, I guess I lumped him into the “thug life” era of black consciousness. You know, the one that is unfortunately being pushed on consumers that to be successful means bling and spinners and “makin’ it rain”. I was surprised Scoop was from a slightly older era of true consciousness. A time when P.E. and X-Clan were popular and Ice Cube actually had a social message. None of that is conveyed on ESPN.com, although I can kinda understand why. It is not popular to have an agenda of differentiation. That doesn’t sell. Will we ever see a “Fight the Power” video on MTV again? Doubtful. Very doubtful.

    Personally, as a white kid, I like to think of myself as using the same influences to my advantage. I grew up listening to Cube and 2Pac and P.E., stopped listening to rap when the thuglife era came out and got into blues and grunge. I would argue all of these types of music deal with life problems. Tormented souls are tormented souls. I can honestly say songs like “Juicy” motivated me to improve my own situation, go to college, and get my ass in gear. No, it wasn’t Biggie’s type of hustle, but it was mine. And the way I knew to improve and get by. Haters be damned. But I digress.

    My one point of contention is Scoop and the interviewer’s lumping of whites and black together. Maybe I am just naive and haven’t travelled enough, but I think perhaps geography and socio-economic factors also play a lot in people’s views, especially in whites. For example, in my opinion, white middle class suburban Americans whose families have been in the US for centuries have little to no defining culture. Most of what they do have has been either influenced by other cultures or told to them by stereotyping mass consumerism.

    In closing, I heard a phrase recently that went something like “You can’t beat the system by fighting the system, you are better off learning the system and taking it down brick by brick.” Something like that.

    I hope all that made sense. Excellent job again.

  52. [...] Esta entrevista é muuuuuito longa, mas é com o meu jornalista de NBA e esportes americanos favorito, o Scoop Jackson, e fala sobre [...]

  53. we as Whites have our shortcomings. many.

    Enough of generalities.

  54. Thanks for your disclosure.

    G, what are your solutions?

    Our intent here was not to generalize.

    We ALL have our shortcomings.

    Do we just shut up and hope things change, or change them now?

  55. First of all I thought this was some riveting stuff, especially informative for someone like myself. I grew up suburbs, I mean stereotypical white stuff, and I always considered myself to be a pretty progressive dude, that was until I lived with Black people. When I first went to prep school to play ball, I had only a limited experience with people from the city and a very limited experience with black people from the city. Well, I found myself doing things that I would watch white people do in movies or here about. I had a hard time making eye contact, if something of mine went missing I would catch myself thinking black before white. I was ignorant. But once basketball season started everything changed, I mean white or black, if you can ball you can ball. And I realized how ridiculous I had been. What the point of this story is, is that often times us White people perpetuate racism without even realizing that we are being racist. Just like the more conversations I had with my friends at school about how hard things can be when you aren’t the dominate race in a society, this article reminded most people in my posistion in a life are not rewarded the oppurtunity to get real cultural diversity.
    AS far as Imus is concerned the punishment should not of been having his show taken off the air, he should be rewarded the same oppurtunity I had, and he should become the minority on his own radio show. I mean imagine what we could learn from having that useless time slot filled up everyday with meaningfull and productive racial talks.
    And lastly and I know this is long, as much as I hate to agree with point that whites cannot understand what it feels like to be called the n word or what it feels like to see the Confederate Flag. As a human being I can recognize that it deeply affects another human being so in turn it makes me upset.
    Great Stuff.

  56. Tim Adkins Says:

    Action items, dog.

    At the risk of devaluing conversations like this one, can we, for once, have someone formulate a plan of attack? Like, there are sketches of it there. But most of it reads more like venting. Analyzing, at best.

    The passage about fixing potholes in the ‘hood or paying higher insurance rates seemed like a really good opportunity to talk solutions. Sure, we can explain that occurence as the byproduct of institutional racism. But is that it? Is there anything else that we can attack to get something done?

    In the case of the potholes, let’s talk basic civics. Municipalities spend money on whatever need speaks the loudest. Generally, that correlates with whomever has contributed money (or to a lesser extent votes) to an elected official. If the ‘hood ain’t got the funds to buy a city councilman’s attention, then it damn sure has the manpower to get out the vote, holla at a council meeting or whatever else is necessary to get shit done. All it has to do is assemble. Maybe America ain’t a real democracy, but why can’t we use its own tools against it? What’s stopping us from doing that?

    I don’t think anyone would deny that racism still exists. And I wouldn’t dare tell anyone to just get over it. But let’s be for real: this generation has fallen down. Some of it is beyond our control. We ain’t exactly grow crack under the sidewalks we used to double dutch on. But we don’t have to spend so much of our energy on lamenting what happened or what continues to happen.

    I don’t know Scoop, but he seems like the kind of dude who has his hands in a lot of different things. Where’s the talk about the foundations he supports? What about his own lobbying efforts? What about his own civic engagement? I don’t need to know his voting record. But what’s he doing ’round the way to make the block a better spot for the young homies?

    Venting is cool. Lament is necessary. Analysis is crucial. But what is we gon’ do? What ARE we doing? Can we PLEASE talk about that?

  57. I think the more exposure at a young age between blacks and whites the much better things will be. The racism occurs when one race is polarized from one another, education and experience, with the other race becomes neccessary. And in order for stuff like this to happen, the issue of how we elect congressmen and women needs to be adressed. How can these people go to DC with the ghettos best interests in mind when they never lived there. I think their should be dramatic reform, Scoop is right the only way things are gonna get better is if power is relinquished.

  58. An anecdote: I’m a graduate student at an “urban” campus, and I often teach freshmen. The neighborhoods on two sides of the campus are predominantly black; many of the staff (in which I include food service, custodial services, and secretarial positions) are black as well. However, in the classes I’ve taught, out of 23 students per class, I’ve never had more than three black students. Usually there are one or two. And the vast majority of the faculty (from full professorships on down to adjunct faculty) are white. The student body is 11% black. Keep that number in mind.

    One day, I was leading a class discussion on race and education with the freshmen in my composition class. One African-American, one Asian-American. The white students denied that real racism existed, racism of the varieties D-Wil, Mizzo, and Scoop (as well as several commenters above) spoke about. None of them, certainly, would have called themselves racist. So I mentioned a few statistics and studies that demonstrate racist hiring practices, class and race bias in standardized testing, as well as anecdotal accounts of racism. (The latter made less of an impact on the students.)

    At one point, I asked them what percentage of the student body was black. The lowest number, from the African-American student, was 25%. One white student blurted out 50%. 50%!

    So I told them the actual number, 11%. They were incredulous. At first they thought I was joking. Then they realized I was serious, though they still refused to believe me. “I heard it was 25%,” one student said. I didn’t press the issue of that statistic further, in part because we had other issues to get to (long story, but class time is especially limited where I teach), but also in part because I was dangerously close to being a white teacher telling an entire class (the white students, anyway) that they were racists.

    But here’s a question I have: what terms can/do we use to describe levels of racism? If I had called my class a group of racists, they would have assumed that meant the KKK, when in fact I meant the myriad ways white people perpetuate racist attitudes and behaviors, even when they don’t mean to–even when they have what we ineloquently call “good intentions.”

    (And as a relevant final point: in calling the white students racists, I would have been compelled, as ashamed as it makes me, to include myself. I was raised in Arkansas in white neighborhoods around people with racist attitudes, many of them overt. Despite my formal and informal education and my maturation into an understanding of how pervasive racism is in this country, I still notice moments I don’t make eye contact, moments the first thought I have in interacting with a person of color has some vestigial element of a racist attitude I learned as a kid and hoped I’d finally done away with. It’s painful to confess this, but I feel it’s necessary, given the above rambling anecdote. I certainly don’t see myself as the model of how people should interact.)

  59. So it’s okay for Scoop and Michael to be massive (MASSIVE) racists?

  60. Adriano Albuquerque Says:

    i liked it a lot. i’m a big fan of scoop’s and, now, of yall as well

    being from another country and livin in nother country, it’s hard for me to really relate to everything u said, but it helps me understand what yall have to go thru. i’m a big believer that blacks are being screwed over by white society in america and still in most parts of the world, and i found that mike’s particular statement that we needed white reps to call out the whole Imus thing the absolute truth. if it’s just blacks complainin about it, there’s no point and there will be no changes

    the suggested question-back of “why fo you wanna use the word nigger?” opened up my eyes and mind. again, being south american and a whole hemisphere away, it’s hard to grasp the meaning of this word. i’ll tell you my view of it: thru my fascination of hip-hop music n culture, i end up emulating what i hear, read and watch, and u start “talking the talk” cuz u perceive it as being cool and a part of it. but in truth it is direspectful to say the least

  61. Brian, you don’t know me. Some of my best friends are White ;)

    Seriously, I really appreciate all the comments. Yes Brian, even yours.

    I really want to extend the welcome to all of our new visitors. I really hope you come back often to continue this well needed discussion.

    CLT, thank you so much for your comment. I truly admire your honesty. Keep growing and continue to be gracious to the possibility of change.

    I want to address an earlier comment by Matt: “Oh, and MT, the reason so many of Disney’s movies are Victorian themed is because they are fairy tales, which originated in Europe.”

    Disney could have taken an important step by updating fairy tales with more diverse characters which are more representative of our present existence. They are really doing a disservice to White youth (specifically) by presenting them with almost exclusively lily white images early in life.

    Tim Adkins: Your comment is representative of what we were trying to accomplish in conducting this type of interview. I’m with you. I want change. I want people to want change. Watching my daughter sleep is one of the most priceless experiences I could ever have. My intentions here come from my sense of urgency regarding the future of my children.

    I want to do whatever is needed of me to help provide them with a more comfortable life.

    I really appreciate all of you that have visited the site. I just wish more of you would offer some viable solutions that could help in our collective development.

    The Race (think about developing an acronym) class. Is this something that’s possible? Why or why not?

  62. I haven’t bothered to read all the responses yet, so I’m sorry if anyone has mentioned this before.
    I think that one of the [many] problems right now is that the majority (in this case white people), tend not to think of themselves in terms of race. I know when I think about my own identity, I don’t immediately think “white.” On the other hand, it often seems to be the case that those who are in the minority will take their race as a significant part of their identity. Where this becomes a problem is when so many white people try to say that there is no racism if everyone is treated equally. What they really mean is that they want everyone to be treated the same (I do make a distinction between those terms). The problem is that we’re not all the same. If we try to ignore the differences between cultures, then we are inherently suppressing the minorities, all the while claiming that it’s all ok because we’re treating everyone the same. Equality does not come from treating everyone the same, it comes from respecting our differences and treating each other accordingly. In trying to treat everyone the same, we end up forcing the majority culture, and the majority society upon everyone, even if they don’t want it.

    It’s really the Marxist ideal, although that doesn’t have the greatest connotation anymore: “from each according to their ability, to each according to their needs”. THAT is equality.

    As for solutions–that’s hard. I think one of the biggest needs is for education– in both cultures. Barring radical changes, i think what we really need is more diversity in positions that have historically been dominated by the majority. Jobs such as teachers, professors (especially in the sciences), or positions in research, or in medicine. I don’t have any statistics to back it up, but I feel as if blacks are underrepresented in these positions. I’m a first year grad student in physics, and while there are several hispanic, indian and asian students in my class, there are zero black students. In the entire department, i think there are two black professors (there may be a few more, but that’s all I’ve met). Is this entirely because of institutionalized racism? It’s possible, but I doubt it. I’m sure it plays some role, but I think there is also a problem with the value placed on education in the current culture. It seems as though school and education, and especially the sciences, tend to be thought of as “white” things among youths. This leads to the idea that either black students can’t, or shouldn’t work hard in school, or try to become scientists or doctors or teachers. This needs to change. I don’t know how to change it; maybe it’s a problem with the way school is taught or presented. Maybe just getting more black teachers will help with that, I don’t know.

    I feel like I’m starting to ramble, so I’ll cut this short and go to bed. If I’ve said anything massively stupid, let me know; I’d certainly like to become more enlightened on the different viewpoints on this subject

  63. Vincent Says:

    reply to Tim Adkins:

    The point that lots of people often miss is this: It’s Scoop’s choice to work at ESPN because he becomes one more eexample to black youth that you can do that if you want to but you don’t have to. He stays in Chicago very near the neighborhood he grew up in and he is visible in his community ready to spark up a conversation about any topic. He makes enough money to move where he wants but he has chosen to stay where his presence is most needed and felt. It’s not about foundations for him. Scoop makes the block better by showing that you can have a graduate degree, work for a national sports voice and not have to run from your hood because you have some perceptual semblance of having made it. It’s not about “keeping it real” it’s about being real.

  64. Vincent-
    Thank you so much for putting Scoop back into the proper perspective.

    Incidentally, that was part of the initial conference call that was came out inaudible. We were saddened by this unfortunate mishap as Scoop provided us with invaluable personal background material…

  65. Crazy Little Thing: You ask “what terms can/do we use to describe levels of racism?” I think that’s exactly the point: it can’t be about simply outing the overt racists, and splitting people up in some Manichaean “racist” and “non-racist” categories. There’s a continuum of prejudice. When I was teaching Ernest Gaines’ “A Gathering of Old Men,” we got into the habit of asking of each white character, “Is he/she racist?” Eventually I realized this was an absurd trap. There were violent racists, there were overt bigots, there were “average” white people with all sorts of racist assumptions, there were white people opposing racism but not doing anything about it, there were white people tyring to help the black people but doing so in a patronizing, condescending, paternalistic way, etc. We tend to focus on outing the overt racists, when we should be examining that continuum of prejudice, which is (I think anyway) at the heart of most institutional racism. What we (and I think this “we” includes everybody) can hope to do is examine the prejudices that are perpetuated in the culture we are raised in, and do our absolute best to resist and overcome these prejudices.

    Matt: what you just described is “white privilege.” The majority has the luxury not to think of itself in terms of what makes it the majority; the minority doesn’t have that luxury. I was once in a seminar of about 60 people, and almost all of us were white. The speaker was going through a series of questions, and at one point asked “Stand up if you identify yourself by your race before you identify yourself by your gender,” or some similar question. The only person who stood was an Asian-American woman–which made a certain sense, since the rest of us had the luxury of not even thinking about our race. The solution to this? I have no idea, and I’m not sure there is one. It seems to be a trend consistent around the world when there is a minority group living amongst a majority group. It might also be related to what Deborah Tannen calls the “marked woman”: women are always required to mark themselves in society, whether they try to or not, while men are allowed not to be marked. Another problem without a clear solution in the near future, one that will require massive changes in social thought that will likely require a long time.

    I do still believe education is the bedrock of progress, but education is also directed toward long-term progress. It’s directed toward changing minds rather than policy. When a white student is required to read literature written by minorities, to study the brutal honest truths of history, to examine the problems still prevalent today, the harder it is for that white student to deny that racism is a problem.

  66. Regarding white people’s lack of vantage point in regards to the symbolism of the confederate flag, Scoop responds somewhat angrily, saying, “Unless you have been where my people have been you just don’t see it the same because you don’t have the same vantage point.” uh… yea? and?
    Of course I can’t see it from the same vantage point; I’M WHITE. Unless I die tomorrow and reincarnate as a black man, I can’t even pretend to know what it’s like to have an image that makes me feel that kind of personal anguish and pain. That doesn’t make me incapable of loathing the sight of that flag.

    There’s an episode of South Park, that, as silly as it sounds, makes a good point on this issue, and I’ll try to link to it tomorrow if I can.

    Peace

  67. [...] by HG on May 3rd, 2007 Really good conversation with Scoop Jackson. Courtesy of The Starting [...]

  68. Look, I hate to be insensitive. Really, I do. But here’s my list:

    1. I am sick and tired of hearing the word “brutha”. That’s just me. You may call it verbal creativity, I call it abuse of the English Language. It’s almost as if the black community WANTS to separate itself.

    2. Skin color betrays no natural tendencies to act differenty. There IS no difference between blacks and white. Blacks, however, are actively trying define themselves as not white. “white’ blacks are looked down upon.

    3. You may want to talk about the racism in the media (only 1.1% of sports editors are black…I don’t care. You may wonder why I don’t care? I’m looking for the most qualified people. Why does this matter? Because if the majority of black journalists are going to be speaking in a form of English that encourages abuse of the language…), government, etc. Fix your communities before you come and scream to the “white” people. Stop letting your kids get into gangs, stop trying to feed into the desperation. Bill Cosby was/is right.

    4. Perhaps my biggest problem is the foreign policy mistakes = racist. I’m sorry. That kind of attitude, that kind of intellectual falsehood is what make me favor a white journalist. Because at least he or she isn’t revising history. I want to see Scoop or somebody call out Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson. I don’t care if there were racist statments made by the Duke players, I care that Al Sharpton demonized them and led a witchhunt against them that has devalued their lives tremondously. But it’s all equal, right? Until George Bush apologizes for a war that isn’t racist?

    History is the tradition of old white men. The revisionist movement in our schools to teach about “minority” influence in schools is ridiculous. As much as we hate it, old white men were the foundation of much of history. To deny this is to be ignorant.

    I’m out. I am not white.

  69. I am a white Gen-Xer with an adopted African-American son.

    I just want to thank you for publishing this dialogue. I found it refreshing and enlightening. Of course, I don’t necessarily agree with everything that was said (just as I can’t have a black man’s vantagepoint, the black man can’t have mine–and it’s dangerous for you to presume you can, or that “the white man’s vantagepoint” is homogeneous), but on the whole, I take it at face value as useful insight to expand my horizons and influence how I look at the world.

  70. Glad we could do our part H. The dialogue elicited from this interview is also refreshing. Thanks for taking the time out to comment.

  71. I think a lot of these problems we speak of can be solved through education. In terms of helping white people understand the black experience, I think the educational system does a very, very poor job of this. I mean there are kids that I’ve gone to college with that think racism can be summed up with a blurb about Slavery and Jim Crow. They have no idea about restrictive housing covenants, the crack epedemic, etc. I know for myself, I make an effort to teach my white friends the black experience. Just like I make an effort to learn the experience of the variety of friends that I have. It’s about making the effort to teach and to learn.

    In terms of fixing the problems in the black community, a lot of the problems can be solved through education. Think about the black folks you know that come from poor backgrounds but are now actually living successful productive lives. Outside of the stereotypical rapper, actor, athletes, it’s almost gauranteed that education was the key to that persons upward mobility. The problem is that most don’t have access to a good education because our education system sucks. Seriously, if my mom didn’t figure out a way for me to attend school in Beverly Hills, I probably wouldn’t be attending school in the fall.

    Maybe Scoop can get some of those big time basketball players that he knows together and figure out a way to put some money into our inner city schools and neighborhoods and help improve black education.

    Off topic a bit, but I’m really interested in knowing the Assimilated Negros socio-economic background. I read him from time to time, but haven’t really picked up on that. I have made assumptions about his background, but would like to know what he comes from before I pass judgement.

    And to Scoop, the only thing I have ever really been critical to you about is always defending black no matter what. I’ve seen you glorify guys like Wes Wesley. From what I know about him I don’t think he’s a guy that should be glorified. You’re in a position to call black folks out when their wrong and glorify them when their right. But I don’t think you ever really take the position of knocking a black person when they are wrong. I can understand why you don’t do that. I mean, there are already enough folks knocking black people as it is. But I think you’ve been pigeon holed because it’s obvious what your position is going to be before I evern read one of your columns. Same could be said of some of the ignorance that Bill Simmons has spilled over at PG 2. Maybe you too should come together on a joint column? You guys could give your perspectives on different columns and then give reasons for your perspectives. Maybe that would give his readers a better understanding of the black experience and give your readers a better understanding of the white experience?

    There’s a balance between the black can do no wrong and the blacks are lazy and need to get their shit together notions that seem to always be floating out there. And I for one would like to see more of that.

  72. Great idea Jones. That would be hot!

  73. Adriano Albuquerque Says:

    loved jones’ idea too, scoop and bill should definitely do something like that

  74. Damn, I had spell checked and even added some more info to my last comment, but I guess I accidentally posted the original instead. Here is the way I wanted it to come off:

    I think a lot of these problems we speak of can be solved through education. In terms of helping white people understand the black experience, I think the educational system does a very, very poor job of this. I mean, there are kids that I’ve gone to college with that think racism can be summed up with a blurb about Slavery and Jim Crow. They have no idea about restrictive housing covenants, the crack epidemic, institutional racism, etc. I know for myself, I make an effort to teach my white friends the black experience, just like I make an effort to learn the experience of the variety of friends that I have. It’s about making the effort to both teach and to learn.

    In terms of fixing the problems in the black community, a lot of the problems can be solved through education. Think about the black folks you know that come from poor backgrounds but are now actually living successful productive lives. Outside of the stereotypical rapper, actor, athletes, it’s almost guaranteed that education was the key to that person’s upward mobility. The problem is that most don’t have access to a good education because our education system is sub par. Seriously, if my mom didn’t figure out a way for me to attend school in Beverly Hills, I probably wouldn’t be attending a top law school in the fall.

    Maybe Scoop can get some of those big time basketball players that he knows together and figure out a way to put some money into our inner city schools and neighborhoods and help improve black education. I’ve always wanted to see a black professional society that worked to do that. Once I get in a position to contribute in that fashion, I hope I’ll be able to start something like that. But with all of the successful blacks that we have in the country, how come we don’t already have something like that? I mean, if no one else is going to do it, we need to be the ones going back and contributing and fixing things. I see this all the time in the Jewish, Latin, and Korean communities in L.A. Yet, I hardly ever see it in the black community. Most successful blacks in this city give all of their money to the church. And all the churches do is build these massive campuses and make sure their pastors drive nice cars. I know the black church was the catalyst of change in the 50s and 60, but that time has come and gone. Black folks: Get organized and give your money to inner city education, not the church! I get so mad when I pass by West Angeles Church in Los Angeles and see that massive stadium like building in the middle of all of that poverty. If we can pool all of your money together and build those massive churches, why can’t we pool money and resources together to help educate are youth and rehabilitate some of our adults?

    And to Scoop: The only thing I have ever really been critical to you about is always defending black no matter what. I’ve seen you glorify guys like Wes Wesley. From what I know about him, I don’t think he’s a guy that should be glorified. You’re in a position to call black folks out when they’re wrong and glorify them when they’re right. But I don’t think you ever really take the position of knocking a black person when they are wrong. I can understand why you don’t do that. I mean, there are already enough folks knocking black people as it is. But I think you’ve been pigeon holed because it’s obvious what your position is going to be before I even read one of your columns. Same could be said of some of the ignorance that Bill Simmons has spilled over at PG 2. Maybe you too should come together on a joint column? You guys could give your perspectives on different issues and then give reasons for your perspectives. Maybe that would give his readers a better understanding of the black experience and give your readers a better understanding of the white experience?

    There’s a balance between the black can do no wrong and the blacks are lazy and need to get their shit together notions that seem to always be floating out there. And I for one would like to see more of that.

    Off topic a bit, but I’m really interested in knowing the Assimilated Negro’s socio-economic background. I read him from time to time, but haven’t really picked up on that. I have made assumptions about his background, but would like to know what he comes from before I pass judgment.

  75. This article was definitely worth the read. I recently had a conversation with an intelligent individual about what I believe to be something of a “conspiracy” to promote mainstream (minstrelism) Rap Music. There is a “chicken and egg” dilemma here in the question of whether “sex sells,” or people buy what is forced down there throat by mainstream radio stations, tv shows and advertisements. If Talib Kweli and Common and Mos Def were promoted and got the radio play that say Lil’ John gets, would we then have a community filled with up and coming “Conscious” rappers and progressive youth? We will likely never know the answer to that question (although I don’t think our current state is irreversible).

    I agree with JONESONTHENBA in that education for EVERYONE could have a huge impact. Black children suffer from lack of identity stemming from their lack of history of themselves. White children (and many their parents) are somewhat apathetic because they never learned the true history either. If I look back on my education I remember the quick lesson on Malcolm, Martin and the famous photo of the slave with severe scarring on his back from the whip. That was it. There is no way to sympathize or even understand another race’s plight without learning more that three stories about their history.

    We need some more positive examples to be promoted and pushed to mainstream so that young black boys and girls can have something to look up to besides the ridiculousness that is shoved down their throats. When a 16 year old, publicly educated young Black Man has never heard of W.E.B DuBois, but can tell you every detail of the Game/50 Cent Beef, there is an obvious imbalance on what information is made available to him.

  76. DJDiggyDiggy Says:

    Education for everyone would have a huge impact, but that seems to be both a systemic problem, as well as a cultural problem. The systemic problem stems from the underfunded public schooling, to the underpaid teachers that are hired, to the afterschool programs, so on and so on. The cultural problem is much harder to identify and to assess blame/ responsibility. Education seems to have taken a backseat to many other pursuits in this day and age. Children are encouraged to pursue extracurricular pursuits (sports, hobbies, etc.) while academics seem to no longer be the primary focus. I can only comment upon this with my own particular point of view, but in my culture (and in my household particularly), academic achievement and success were assumed and expected, not just encouraged. Anything less than an “A” led to discipline and further study, and nothing else was accepted. I’m not sure of too many other families/cultures where this is prevalent, but it was quite effective in exposing me to what I believe to be a well-rounded education.

    Where exactly am I going with this??? Well, arguing for education (especially equal representation in that education) is a noble effort, but in how many families, white or black, do you see education as the primary and sole focus for children??? How many expect achievement and success??? Many of my schoolmates received incentives and rewards for good grades, yet I received only a knowing nod. Should there be rewards and incentives for what is expected of you??? It is easy to argue that there should be a comprehensive history taught in classes, but much more difficult to get our children to attend, pay attention, and excel in such an environment. What use is there to have the classes if no one pays attention??? What use is there to trumpet education as the solution when so very few seem to value it???

    A troubling situation indeed…

  77. [...] Starting Five posted two great interviews this week as they were able to secure Scoop Jackson from ESPN and Jeff Pearlman from Sports Illustrated for interviews. I was a huge fan of Scoop’s while I was [...]

  78. [...] Jackson doesn’t want Jason Whitlock writing his obit. You don’t say? (The Starting [...]

  79. [...] Jackson doesn’t want Jason Whitlock writing his obit. You don’t say? (The Starting [...]

  80. Another example of why Scoop isnt respected. Hes so far out in Left field. He cant write or say anything where he doesnt hit you over the head with the fact that hes black. Ok, guy, we get it.

  81. Jappy add something substantive. The purpose of this interview was to elicit meaningful dialogue.

    What are your solutions?

  82. [...] Turn; A Tour Doping Admission; More Bengals Profiling News – The Miseducation of Jemele Hill Scoop Jackson: Vantage Point « San Antonio-Utah Game 4: The Spurs Escape the Bushes Again: Kobe Bryant and the [...]

  83. [...] been conducting with public from around sports journalism (see: Jemele Hill, Wil Leitch, and Scoop Jackson). Go by there and check them out. You honestly won’t be disappointed. Even though I was initially [...]

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  85. [...] I will say that Jemele Hill had a lot of great things to say about you. Are you cool with Jemele and Scoop? [...]

  86. [...] Scoop Jackson and I talked about implementing a RACE class into the curriculum. Taking it initially in junior high and then as [...]

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  88. [...] with having true diversity and why is there an apprehensiveness for Whites to respect a true Black vantage point in the name of journalistic [...]

  89. [...] in around 7:30 for the real thought out TSF vantage point. Sphere: Related Content FShareWidget.displayFShareButtonCode({ [...]

  90. [...] Scoop’s interview, Vantage Point, Scoop asks this very same question. Sphere: Related Content [...]

  91. [...] of just sports. It also contains quotes from writers here at TSF as well as noted journalists Scoop Jackson, Dave Zirin, Jemele Hill and Chris Broussard. There is also some words from Neal [...]

  92. [...] turf), got my plate and sat down in a room where no table was empty but mine. I looked around for Scoop Jax because he said he was coming up but he was no where to be [...]

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