Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Rivalries, Basketball and the Black Family: Why Grant Hill's Commentary Was About MUCH More Than Defending His Alma Mater

Twitter is LIT Up with talk about The Fab Four Documentary and Former Duke Star Grant Hill's reply posted in the New York Times today.

University of Michigan.



Duke University.


The State of the Black Family.

The Black Family?  - How in the world did I get that from the reading that article?

While the gist of the article is Grant Hill's reply to Jalen Rose's accusations about Duke only recruiting "Uncle Toms" or blacks from two-parent, middle income families. There are lots of basketball related chatter and but this is the quote that jumps out at me...

"To hint that those who grew up in a household with a mother and father are somehow less black than those who did not is beyond ridiculous. "

Wow. Love it. Couldn't wait to tweet the article.

Then I jumped on Twitter to see what was being said and that's when I got mad.

Attack after attack on Grant Hill for responding. Further - there were side conversations about Duke's recruiting record but universally many think Grant missed the point of the Rose's commentary.

NEWSFLASH - He did not.

He, like me and many others, are sick and tired of the majority dominating the conversation on what's "black" as it relates to family and relationships. We are tired of people minimizing the importance of family in our community and Grant not standing up for it would have been a miss. It is not about Grant Hill or his family.

It's about stopping this madness of our own people making people feel less apart of black community because of what their particular black experience is. "Uncle Tom" is the way Rose described the types black players that Duke recruited particularly Grant Hill - you know "safe black people." Really?

Why can't we applaud strong black families when we have the opportunity? Why can't we praise them for raising upstanding citizens and passing on that legacy to their kids? Yeah passing it on - Grant Hill is married with children for the last 15+ years to R&B singer Tamia. See what can happen when we start a cycle of healthy relationships in family line?

We get plenty of reminders of the breakdown of our families. Daily. Moment by moment even. How in the world can the family that Grant Hill or other black Duke players had possibly be turned into a negative thing?

Even in the context of the comments - 20 years ago, college rivals, jealousy, etc. etc.  -it is upsetting to me that more was not done to denounce this way of thinking to our kids.

To Jalen Rose's credit - he sent Grant an apology in advance of he documentary's release and has since stated that his comments were fueled by jealousy of Grant's family. Kudos to Jalen for being man enough to say it. But now I'd love for him to use this platform to stand up for the black family.

I'm not asking Jalen to join me in my Relationship Revolution.

But I'd love for Jalen to state that this line of thinking, regardless of when it happens,  is destructive to our community,  our potential and people personally. I'd love for Jalen to say that it is OK to be angry and sad when you don't have the family you want but it is never OK to project that on someone who does.

I'd love for him to give Grant kudos for continuing the legacy his parents gave him by building a healthy, stable family for his kids. It is not guaranteed that everyone in his family will live "happily ever after"but it certainly lays a foundation. Not just for them but for all in their immediate community. I remember vividly that "one" married black couple in my church that exemplified ideal family to me. Their marriage is still strong and they recently celebrated 40 years together. They are still impacting people all these years later. I'm celebrating 10 years with my husband next month.

Don't underestimate the power of a strong black family in a community.

Let's raise our voices and show the world there are many family and relationship dynamics in our community and we are proud of all of them - especially those who can build healthy strong two-parent homes.

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