Published: Tuesday, February 21, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, February 22, 2012 11:02
Does it have to be about black and white? On Feb. 18, Yahoo Sports "Post Game" published a story by Eric Adelson about N.C. Central University student and basketball player Landon Clement.
The headline? "White Star, Black School: Landon Clement is the Face of Upstart North Carolina Central." Some serious questions need to be raised regarding this language.
The headline itself is divisive. In seeking to draw a contrast between Clement and his teammates, race is used as a primary descriptor.
This tells the reader by connotation: These men are not first and foremost students, athletes, sons and fathers. They are either black, or they are white.
In the opening section of his story, Adelson writes two phrases in italics: "What's White Boy doing here?" and, "Oh, he's trying to be black."
Neither phrase is given attribution. So, the question is, where did Adelson get those phrases?
Through interviews with Clement? From his teammates? I am a white student at NCCU. Nobody has ever asked me what I am doing here, or accused me of trying to be black.
These statements give the impression that black students are disrespectful to white students at NCCU. This is false.
Students here know their community is accepting of all people. That is the real truth. Later in the story, Adelson writes about "The Secret Game" between Duke and NCCU prior to the Civil Rights Act.
This is important history, but the use of the research becomes problematic when Adelson writes, "And few Americans know much of anything about North Carolina Central.
Both in basketball and in academics, the school is towered over by Duke." Really? Based on what?
Does Duke tower over NCCU because we are a "black school?" Perhaps we should take it for granted that Duke is a "perfect" institution with no equal.
I wonder whether Adelson would have dared write a phrase like that about Stanford, Harvard or Penn State.
Adelson's story could have been about Landon Clement and his teammates, a group of young men battling their way toward the NCAA tournament.
Instead it became about black and white. When Landon Clement steps on the court with his smooth jump shot, he isn't white and his teammates aren't black. All they are is Eagle maroon and gray.