A craze is breaking out all over America, but it’s not about Super Bowl LI in Houston. People are going absolutely crazy over “whiteness”—more specifically, “white people”—and the poster boy is New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.
“Before Colin Kaepernick decided to take a knee before NFL games to protest American-perpetrated injustices against subjugated people,” writes David Dennis Jr. in the Huffington Post, “there was Tom Brady and his hat.”
That would be the red “Make America Great Again” hat. Brady, a friend of Donald Trump, had the temerity to have one visible—he wasn’t actually wearing it at the time!—during a press interview in September. The quarterback failed to understand why some people made a “big deal” about his choice of lid.
“Brady’s obliviousness reeks of white privilege and dismissiveness; a #MAGA trait if there ever was one,” according to Dennis. And it was worse than anything from Colin Kaepernick, who “donned a Fidel Castro shirt.” Cuba’s white Sado-Stalinist dictator unjustly imprisoned many black Cubans, but Tom Brady’s choice of hats was much, much worse. As Dennis has it, “There’s still time to question Brady about his un-American beliefs and treat him like the media treated Kaepernick.”
According to VerySmartBrothas editor-in-chief, Damon Young, writing in GQ, it’s not just about the Patriot’s quarterback. As Young explains:
But if America is actually serious about living up to its ideals and resisting Fuckface McPussyGrabber [sic], white people need to be better. It’s white people who have to learn how to be better citizens, friends, and allies. White people who need to be better patriots, neighbors, and Christians (if applicable). And it’s white people who have to get y’all’s backwards cousins forward-facing somehow, because we just aren’t equipped with the tools necessary (say, conveniently acceptable whiteness) to do it ourselves.
And so on.
Though beyond satire, Young’s rant recalls Garrett Morris’ “Black Perspective” skits on the old “Saturday Night Live,” and Tim Meadows’ reflections on “Whiteitude.” On the other hand, as Dave Chappelle put it, the white devils are out oppressing the Third World “to compensate for their inferior penis size.”
The sad thing is, the real issue of race has been neglected for the past eight years.
The President Formerly Known as Barry Soetoro, in his 1995 book, Dreams from My Father, encounters a tall, gaunt man named Malik, “who mentioned that he was a follower of the Nation of Islam.” The narrative portrays the NOI uncritically, as a positive force, and doubters are caricatured in comic fashion. “Gotta have them ribs. And pussy, too,” another character says. “Don’t Malcolm talk about no pussy? Now you know that ain’t gonna work.”
Readers of Dreams from My Father and The Audacity of Hope (2006) get no indication that, as Stanley Crouch explained in the Village Voice in 1985, according to the teachings of the Nation of Islam and Louis Farrakhan, “the white man was a devil ‘grafted’ from black people in an evil genetic experiment by a mad, pumpkin-headed scientist named Yacub. That experiment took place 6,000 years ago. Now the white man was doomed, sentenced to destruction by Allah.”
As a candidate or president, nobody in the old-line establishment media ever asked the author of The Audacity of Hope and Dreams from My Father if he agreed with that view or supported the notion that people such as Nikola Tesla, Marie Curie, Michelangelo, Joan of Arc, William Wilberforce, Albert Einstein, Eleanor Roosevelt, and even Tom Brady were “devils” resulting from Yacub’s racial experiment. It seemed a rather pertinent question. Or, at the very least, a strange one to omit.
“Neither [The Rev. Martin Luther] King nor any reputable people doing serious work would have anything to do with the Nation of Islam,” Crouch wrote in 2010. “It was too racist and too much of an intellectual embarrassment.” One could forgive any observer, African-American or otherwise, who applies that judgment to the tide of vitriol against “Fuckface McPussyGrabber,” as Young so beautifully put it. And of course, Tom Brady’s hat is “an MAGA trait, if there ever was one.” Why, any fool could see that.
As it happens, no sort of “white privilege” made Brady the Patriots’ starting quarterback in the Super Bowl. Unlike politics or show business, nobody gets to play in the Super Bowl because daddy did, or even if daddy owns the team. Like every player on every NFL team, Brady got there on pure merit. Brady has won four Super Bowl titles and was three times named Super Bowl MVP.
Meanwhile, here’s a play for this year’s game: deflate the rhetoric and boot racism right out of the stadium. Win or lose, judge Tom Brady, and all others at all times, by their performance and the content of their characters.