I came across an article today through a Facebook friend today. It wasn't really an article but an OP-ED by Grant Hill in response to the documentary The Fab Five. The Fab Five refers to the Michigan Basketball teams of 91-93. The were considered to be the best of the best and virtually unbeatable. That is until the big game came along. They couldn't win the big one, two years in a row they made it to the finals of the championships and fell short. The team had a mystique even though they didn't win. The press that they received and the promise of the careers that would be coming once they made it to the NBA were talked about constantly.
The producer of the documentary was Jalen Rose, also a member of the fab five. The first championship they lost was to Duke. Duke is one of those teams that most people have very strong feelings about, you love them or hate them in most cases. Rose of course is a hater. The problem is that he got personal about his feelings, very personal.
For me Duke was person,” Rose said. “I hated Duke and I hated everything Duke stood for. Schools like Duke didn’t recruit players like me. I felt like they only recruited black players that were Uncle Toms.”Rose is giving a whole new meaning to the term Uncle Tom. At least this is a meaning I have never heard before. He was feeling that the black players on Duke came from a more middle class background and more importantly came from a two parent home. Grant Hill's parents got a very good education and had parents who are still married. Hill's answer is really a thing of beauty:
It was a sad and somewhat pathetic turn of events, therefore, to see friends narrating this interesting documentary about their moment in time and calling me a bitch and worse, calling all black players at Duke “Uncle Toms” and, to some degree, disparaging my parents for their education, work ethic and commitment to each other and to me. I should have guessed there was something regrettable in the documentary when I received a Twitter apology from Jalen before its premiere. I am aware Jalen has gone to some length to explain his remarks about my family in numerous interviews, so I believe he has some admiration for them.This is the second such story that I have heard about in just a few days. I have a Facebook friend who also lives in the DC area. She is a conservative black woman who is involved in the tea party movement. She also is very involved in the community to help the inner city youth in The District by tutoring them. She got into a conversation with the mother of the young boy she is currently working with. She brought up the fact that DC may be getting the voucher program back and she would be willing to help her fill out the paperwork to get him into a better school. Her response was something along the lines of why would she want her son to go to some private school with geeky white kids. How would he learn to fight then?
In his garbled but sweeping comment that Duke recruits only “black players that were ‘Uncle Toms,’ ” Jalen seems to change the usual meaning of those very vitriolic words into his own meaning, i.e., blacks from two-parent, middle-class families. He leaves us all guessing exactly what he believes today.
But since I am a republican and support the tea party I am the racist right?