Seahawks’ Russell Wilson Controversy Shows Dangers of Racial Authenticity Tests

Posted in Articles, Communications/Media Studies, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2014-11-03 21:58Z by Steven

Seahawks’ Russell Wilson Controversy Shows Dangers of Racial Authenticity Tests

The American Prospect

Kevin Cokley, Associate Professor of Counseling Psychology; Associate Professor of African and African Diaspora Studies
University of Texas, Austin

The ‘are you black enough?’ question is perilously close to the racist one-drop rule of yore—whether called by blacks or whites.

Whether Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson is “black enough” is beside the point. The real issue is why we are still talking about racial authenticity at all.

“My feeling on this—and it’s backed up by several interviews with Seahawks players—is that some of the black players think Wilson isn’t black enough,” Mike Freeman writes at Bleacher Report, reporting on tensions between just-traded teammate Percy Harvin and Wilson, including a locker room reportedly divided into pro/con camps.

“This is an issue that extends outside of football, into African-American society—though it’s gotten better recently,” Freeman writes. “Well-spoken blacks are seen by some other blacks as not completely black. Some of this is at play.”

The “Am I Black Enough?” racial authenticity card is a recurring theme in the lives of black athletes in particular, and black people in general. Concerns about racial authenticity are always present, especially for those who are biracial or somewhat more racially ambiguous as Wilson, with his light skin tone and curly hair, is believed to be…

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