Privilege by Proxy: "White People Sports" and The Validation Of the Oppressor

I told myself I was taking a break from heavy stuff this week. But as in the godfather, someone always drags me back in. I was giddy yesterday to get a chance to watch the video clip of my mentor (sshhh, don't tell her. I'm keeping it a surprise), Denene. There she was on the Meredith Viera show in all her shoeologist splendor!White-People-Sports

It was a great segment with a mom panel being asked their perspective on a couple of subjects. All good, right? Not so fast.

The shit hits the fan (at least for me) around 3:15 when the question is posed as to whether or not the moms on the panel would let their children play football considering the potential for injury. Carolina Bermudez, a New York radio deejay makes a comment that still makes me cringe.

"My son is half half Latino, half white and I want him to gravitate towards the white sports. I want him to play tennis,  I'm going to give him a racket, golf..."

You see Denene's epic side eye as she names black people that play the sports that Carolina is mentioning? I want to tell you that I do not know where I was when Denene was standing in line and God was handing out patience and poise. I'm thinking I was getting coffee. This is probably why I can't have nice things, like bomb shoes and invitations to be on television. She held it together on screen and gave it to us on My Brown Baby today.

Y'all, I don't know how to come at this. The statement reeked of this privilege by proxy that so many Latinos are prone to. I recall  my best friend being told that she had to marry a light skinned man to "better the blood". The fact that this was said on national television by a Latina who obviously has a social following and fan base...talk about disappointment.

First of all, the initial question was thrown to the side. The question was clearly about football and really it was about contact sports. The fact that this person equates football with, let's say...non-white and somehow that tennis and golf become the sport that she wants her "half Latino" son to play because...why exactly?

Mel B (Scary Spice) makes a comment about Carolina's statement and it is clearly waved aside. Moreover, Carolina took to Twitter to dismiss and belittle the comments from people who were offended by her statement. Telling folks to "get over it" and it was just a joke.

I'm tired of the damn jokes, Carolina! I'm tired of the ignorance from my own people. It's sad that you see nothing wrong with what you said. It's not even about an apology. It's about the fact that you don't seem to get it. This is self-hatred at its best whether you see it like that or not.

Can someone get me the pivot table where I can clearly see the detailed sports to race combination so I get it right? Wanting your son to gravitate towards "the white sports"? Because the white sports are good, is that what it is? And then the black sports are...and what about the Latino sports?

This privilege by proxy in the Latino community needs to stop. Having a child with a white man doesn't transfer his white privilege to you. And perpetuating the narrative that sports that have traditionally been associated with privilege and with the exclusion of people of color makes you just as bad as the folks who tried that.

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This IS important! The fact that she trivializes her statement, attempts to say that it was a joke and then dismisses folks who are offended by it is ludicrous. That "joke" is heard behind closed doors every day. That "joke" is what keeps ugly commentaries from continuing.

And the worst part is that by having someone on national television, a Latina at that, making that type of statement, the folks with those centuries-old beliefs and racists views receive that as confirmation that they've been right all along. And THAT'S what hurts the most. That the joke is in juxtaposition with how things should be. And from where I stand, it's not funny at all.

He Owned Life: Stuart Scott Wins!

I have been watching sports for a long time. I can say that my favorite thing to watch was SportsCenter. Well, I'm lying. My favorite thing to watch was Stuart Scott. You guys ever fall in love with a person that might not know your name? So many of us felt this way about Stuart. This dude that strolled up and owned his presence, refused to fit the mold set before him and by doing so shattered the mold for all those that will come afterward.

Robin Roberts just eulogized him in this piece:

He had me crying  when he gave his speech at the ESPY's. Listening to his speech now brings the tears all over again.

He fought hard to stay alive for something that many of us can relate to: his children. And while he changed an entire industry by simply being him, I am sure that his greatest pride is that he fulfilled his duties as a father (short as that time might have been) in a way that will indelibly shape his daughters' lives.

And for that, today, I salute him and send Sydni and Taelor prayers of comfort and peace as they deal with the loss of their father.

Stu, you will always be cooler than the other side of the pillow to me. Thank you for keeping me company late at night, giving me something to laugh about when I least expected it and changing the spectrum of my television. StuartYou beat cancer by how you live, why you live and in the manner in which you live." On a day when I've worked to put up my visions on my wall, motivate myself and my clients, Stuart has brought forth yet another thought: LIVE! Live well, recognize what matters and leave the other shit behind. LIVE so that you may LOVE. LOVE so that you may always and forever live in the hearts of those you leave behind.

"To live in the hearts of those we leave behind is not to die" Joseph Campbell

A Princess That Plays Like a Girl

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Disclosure: this is a sponsored post. I've been fighting the gender demons since I announced to the world that I was having a girl.

Don't get me wrong, I think I might be considered a girly girl. I love nice clothes (though I don't love to shop), I love nice hair (though I don't like doing it myself) and recently I've even started painting my nails. I danced at Harlem School of the Arts as a girl and have a deep love of the artistic form. I can look rather "feminine" but being a slight feminist means that I've never wanted to be just a girl. And I certainly didn't want that for the frog princess.

I love football. Every Sunday I fret over my fantasy line up. I run an all-girl fantasy football league. And my proudest moment was when my girl sat in front of the TV during preseason and actually didn't want the channel to be changed.

At almost 4, I started explaining the game to her. I mean it's kinda hilarious as she yells at the screen telling the defensive line it's not nice to push and cheers on the refs when she hears they're putting those guys on timeout. Ah yes! We have a long road ahead.

I have struggled to keep the princesses out of this house. But somehow, they have waltzed their way in. Her nursery wasn't pink and yet she announced at age 2 that it was her favorite color. And while she has very few dolls, she is now talking about them regularly.

But I've never met a more competitive kid. Errr...she doesn't get it from me. I blame her dad. He used to run track in college and so as a good Mami, I make a game out of her jumping across cracks as we walk as I train her for the long jump. We also dance around the house as ballerinas.

I love the idea that she can (and does) do it all. I've learned to allow her to be herself (all pink and princessy and sparkles) knowing that she has many different interests and continually exposing her to all of those things which people have traditionally thought of as "for boys". Like, she wants trains for Christmas. There's a balance in there.

Which is why I love the Verizon FiOS Football Girl videos.  Do you know about FiOS? With 100% Fiber Optic FiOS empowers you to take your football experience to new heights. With great connection, no pixelation during a play, HD and all around best picture quality, FiOS will help you play like with the big boys.

VerizonFiOS

This video is EVERYTHING! This looks like something I'd do. And the last line? Captured my heart!

http://youtu.be/m4zVqy9fQuE

I don't want to put on any limitations on my girl. Ever. And I get the feeling that anyone that tries will get something akin to what that adorable girl did in the video. Her competitive nature means she comes home and strategizes on how to beat her male schoolmates in races.

There's no way she's not going to play sports. And she will bring that same intensity that she uses when trying to figure out a puzzle or writing out her name or yes, figuring out what dress should go on a doll. And when she steps on to the court or the field of whatever sport she will play, I will be on the sidelines. Waiting to see her play like a girl.

PlayLikeaGirl

How do you empower your princess to play like a girl? Head on over to the Verizon page and show off your photos or videos of how you do it. You will be entered in a chance to win a SWEET bundle of prizes (which you are free to share with me):

  1. Samsung Galaxy NX 20.3MP Camera with 18-55 Lens (ARV $1,699)
  2. Microsoft Surface Pro 2 – 128 GB (ARV $1,000)
  3. Type Cover 2 for Surface Pro 2 (ARV $130)
  4. HEX Surface Sleeve (ARV $40)
  5. Surface Mini Display Port HD AV Adapter (AVR $40)
  6. Monster iSport Victory In-Ear Headphones (AVR $150)
  7. Apple iPod Nano (ARV $150)
  8. Amazon Gift Card for Sports Equipment purchase (ARV $1,800)

Pretty awesome, right?

Verizon FiOS gives your family the connection and speed you need to play with the big boys. Share your proudest moment of your daughter’s athletic achievements at www.verizon.com/playlikeagirl. You could be chosen to win a grand prize valued at $5,000!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Verizon. The opinions and text are all mine.