Why does Whitlock write the things he does? This writer thinks he has J-Dub’s formula figured out. It’s not as simple as him having the opposite-of-the-“popular” opinion, its that he writes articles contrary to the popular (implied or otherwise) “black community” opinion. As a black man, he has Carte Blanche to write about race issues in a way a white male sports writer cannot, yet he chooses to do the opposite of what is expected of him, making him controversial by default. Whitlock’s reign of terror has garnered him attention on Oprah, ESPN and Fox Sports because his reverse takes and “black attacks” makes him such an oddity. However, at most of these past gigs, like ESPN, his formula backfires.
As Americans begin to put the black-white issue behind us with a presidential candidate of color and wars with people of a lighter shade of brown in the middle east; Whitlock the race-baiter continues to spew his contrarian nonsense; turning the Klieg lights on and pointing them at issues that were non-existent until he decided to illuminate them to “get people talking”- like someone anointed him the Official Black Voice of Sports in America. “Get people talking” in KC usually amounts to message board flame wars about race, water-cooler talk of how bad of a writer he is, and barbs at his physical weight.
What if Jason Whitlock was white? A White Whitlock, from here on out, Whitelock, if you follow the formula, would write stories about how much he dislikes Barack Obama, 80s Night, and Grad School. All things White People like according to StuffWhitePeopleLike.com. (To clarify, his articles would be the opposite of typical things white people like these days…and if you get mad about Barack Obama, just substitute “Toyota Prius” or “Coffee“). He would write negative pieces on white water rafting, organic food and having black friends. (sub: country music, standing still at concerts or wine for any of those if you disagree.)
“…Black people are tired of letting idiots define who we are,” Whitlock said. “And it’s not on old black people like Cosby and Oprah. We have to police our own.” While I can’t comment much on that as a white guy, I agree with Whitelock’s take, I just question his motivations. Bill Cosby and Oprah have done a lot for the black community as a whole, in Cosby’s case a one time $20 million donation to Spelman College and a past and ongoing commitment to furthering the education and its importance to minorities. What has Whitelock done for the black community? Surely not defending it often, nor does he do anything to make the media more accepting of black writers and editors. In fact, he may be doing just the opposite.
Scoop Jackson wrote a column on how only four out of 305 sports editors are black, and said to high school students “”Which means you all (blacks) have a better chance to make it to the NBA than you do doing what I do for a living,” (journalism).
Whitlock’s response in a column, (aside from the Uncle Tom comment) that, also, isn’t available on the KC Star, but is here. “The stupidity of such a comment could be laughed off and attributed to the writer’s desire to be viewed as a bigger star than LeBron James if I weren’t aware that many black youths have swallowed the self-defeating myth that white racism will prevent them from experiencing mainstream career success.” Just another example of his counter-point formula recipe. To quote a message board post – “Whitlock reminds me of the Black cop that is harder on Black suspects than his white partner…just to show that he is impartial.”
He’s not consistent, however. What’s crazy is Whitelock will spew these perceived black-backward views; then turn around and say something like this; “(Charlie) Weis’ new 10-year contract, (Notre Dame) reportedly worth between $30 million and $40 million … that strikes me as racist.” Whitelock also drew more criticism his black peers for his comments on NBA All Star game in Vegas, “David Stern seriously needs to consider moving the event out of the country for the next couple of years in hopes that young, hip-hop hoodlums would find another event to terrorize. All Star Weekend can no longer remain the Woodstock for parolees, wannabe rap artists and baby’s mamas on tax refund vacations.”
Its these opinions from Whitelock that make him stick out as a controversial black man in the media, and why you get this broad mix of people who either love him or hate him. Racists love him for the backward views – a black banging on the blacks, and the true minorities think he is a mouthpiece for the white media…but the empowerment, bootstrap African-American crowd loves him, while the PC college grad/grad school (shh…liberal) white readers think he’s full of shit. Win,win/win-win for the Star. A shrewd, but risky strategy that has paid off in spades for the Star, no pun intended, and afforded Whitelock a Ruth’s Chris budget. (You didn’t think I’d keep this free of a fat joke did you?)
He keeps his job in KC because the Star believes that the average, white, Joe Friday reader opens up the paper in his Leawood McMansion and turns straight to Whitelock for justification of his views- like tattoos ruining the NBA or hating Larry Johnson’s money and Maybachhs, so he can wail to his wife about how stupid (or smart depending on his racism barometer) he is as she runs out the door to the plaza with his plastic burning a hole in her overpriced purse. KC’s fans deserves better journalism.
I don’t hate Whitlock on a personal level, and would sometimes rather read him than some of the PollyAnna Posnanski pieces about how “this year is gonna be different for the Royals”. I just see through his transparent motivations for his subject matter and demand better from a journalistic standpoint than who Whitelock sat with at the Staples Center the night before or fake, contrarian opinions that are only blood in the water for racist message board lurkers to drive traffic to the Star’s site. Keep it real, yo.