I Don’t Represent Everyone

Former Georgetown coach and Hall of Famer John Thompson.

John Thompson opened up a Pandora’s box on Wednesday that made sense to me.

The former Hall of Fame Georgetown University basketball coach aired his displeasure on how media sources select a few successful African-Americans to talk about the progress of black America on the heels of the Dr. King holiday coming up on Monday, and are considered as an “authority” on the status of the black community.  On his radio show on ESPN affiliate WTEM-AM 980 Wednesday afternoon, Thompson railed on the idea that if one African-American is asked about the progress of the black community, then it is accepted that the individual’s opinion represents all African-Americans.

He also voiced his disdain of having these “special” town hall meetings to discuss the progress of African-Americans around the Dr. King holiday and February, which is Black History Month.

His rant was stemmed from a conversation between co-host and former Washington Redskins tight end Rick “Doc” Walker and their producer about an (sports) “owners summit” which was hosted by the Washington Post, which begins at the 29:00 mark (the start of the last segment of the show).  Thompson asked if there were any African-American owners present.

I have the audio clip of Thompson’s thoughts, courtesy of ESPN 980 below.  Click on the 1/12/11 Hour #2 clip of the John Thompson Show.  Please forward to the 35:00 mark of the show for his monologue. It is well worth the listen.

January 12, 2011, Hour #2 – John Thompson Show


I’m glad that Coach Thompson said it.

As a well-known coach and visible sports figure, Thompson has decided to take a stand against the silliness of rounding up people to talk about some issues that they may have never experienced or do not have any interest in.  Not all African-Americans live in the same neighborhood, grew up the same way, or are successful.

I commend Coach Thompson for saying something that is unpopular, but is sorely needed to be voiced. Just because I’m black, there is no way in hell that I am an expert of what all African-Americans in this country are going through.

Not everything looks like a “hard-knock” life for all African-Americans, including me.  So, don’t ask me to tell you if things are going well in the progress of my community because I don’t have a clue.

I don’t represent everyone whose skin color is the same as mine.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Claire Celsi says:

    Hey Romelle, I really liked your post. I wanted to let you know that it’s not just African American folks that get asked silly questions. For example, people ask me all the time about Mafia Wars, whether I know all the Italians on the southside, what I think about the garbage situation in Naples, etc.

    Even though I don’t have the answers, I do have opinions…

    I think the reason people ask those types of questions is to test the boundaries of their own thinking and do a quick check with a friend who they respect or trust. I wouldn’t take it personally. If you’re interested in those subjects, just keep up on it a little so you can give an informed opinion, if you truly don’t care and have no opinion, it will get very annoying to avoid those questions for the rest of your life.

    My sister-in-law is an African American teacher, so I find myself asking her all kinds of questions about the state of young, poor black kids (mostly from Chicago) who are attending their school system in Iowa City. I feel sorry for these kids, but she sees both sides of the issue and it’s usually a very good discussion. If she’s annoyed with me, I can’t tell.

    I mostly talk to her because I am trying really hard to be objective about these issues and want to make sure my views are somewhat compatible with hers. There’s no better way to check myself than with a trusted friend from a different point of view or skin color. I would be proud that so many people trust you to be their friend, and care what you think. I think it’s a high compliment.

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