The New York Times (uncritically)reports:
“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated.” That quote, from Maya Angelou, inspired The Undefeated, an ESPN media platform that, from its start in 2016, has helped shape the national conversation by exploring the intersection of race, sports and culture from a Black point of view. On Monday, ESPN said it would rebrand and expand the operation, which will now go by the name … Andscape…
“It’s time to talk about Black and everything,” Raina Kelley, Andscape’s editor in chief, said in a phone interview. “Far beyond just sports and athletes.” She continued: “How do you be an individual as a Black person in America with your own unique set of interests, some of which are bound together by melanin, but not all of them? And how do you feel whole? We wanted to create a space where Black people could be Black people: Black led, Black P.O.V., absolutely. But also where there were no definitions and no rules about what being Black meant, what you had to talk about.”
Stipulated: if there is a way to exploit tribalism and societal divisions and make a profit out of it, American corporations can be counted on to do so. After all, the tobacco industry once created cigarettes for feminists with the ridiculous slogan, “You’ve got your own cigarette now, baby! You’ve come a long, long way!”
Today, thanks to Barack Obama, Black Lives Matter, pandering progressives and our fully Leftist institutions in education and the news media, the United States’ racial harmony is running backwards. Blacks are actively seeking segregation; one entire political party has endorsed racial quotas and discrimination. Now Disney and its subsidiary ESPN is telling blacks, “You have your own sports platform, baby! You’ve come a long, long way!”
Is that really progress? Has anyone thought this through ethically? Like so many other “advances” during The Great Stupid, the ESPN project begins with the assumption of innate racial differences in perception and perspective, and rather than attempting to unite society, “Andscape” will work at making the divisions sharper and permanent.
There is an intrinsic flaw in this strategy. If the objective is to eliminate racial bias and discrimination, then our society should be focused on creating shared cultural attitudes, experience and viewpoints. The rhetoric around Andscape says to me, “You white folks can’t comprehend us, so leave us alone to do things our own way and think our own way.” That position also tells us that all blacks necessarily think alike, or if they don’t, they ought to.
If I were to say to ESPN’s “broadcasters of color,” “How would you feel if there was a whites-only sports platform? Do you think that would be healthy for the culture?,” I am 100% certain the answer would be, “ALL of the existing sports platforms essentially reflect a white perspective! You’re complaining about a single operation for blacks?”
My view is that such segregated projects and organizations guarantee that racial tensions in the U.S. will never be alleviated, and will almost certainly get worse. I’m willing to be convinced otherwise. (How I wish Mrs. Q was still around to provide her wisdom and guidance….but I wish that with all Ethics Alarms topics.)
Your Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz of the Day is…
18 thoughts on “Ethics Quiz: The All-Black Sports Platform”
They are a retreat. It’s in line with Harvard doing the all black graduation and all the other nonsense we keep seeing. College presidents and deans are feckless.
In my early years (40s, 50s), there was racism aplenty. The small community I lived in, the schools I attended, the activities I was involved in, all were white and as WASPish as they come. My parents didn’t seem to be especially racist, but one comment I do remember was my mother saying that Negroes (the accepted term way back then, although ‘colored people’ was also used) were okay so long as they stayed in their place. Their place was the segregated part of the nearby rather large city.
Fortunately for me, my career path took me away from both that mentality and that kind of segregation, via a military that was integrated and a second career in education in a community even more thoroughly integrated. Times changed. I changed. And, now, I am supposed to accept segregation once again? Well, count me out.
It’s terrific that “Andscape” wants to provide uplifting stories about black athletes. But, in my two careers, great achievements were not defined by the color of one’s skin nor ethnicity; they were defined by the achievements.
I recall one conversation with a black officer. I said the routine morning sessions with the commanding general helped establish my credibility within the organization. He replied that he did not need those sessions, that his credibility was independent of that, and that his accomplishments could stand or fall on their own. He had undoubtedly endured many instances of prejudice and had a tough climb to get to the position he was in, yet he saw quite clearly that he had agency.
Affirmative action, as originally implemented, was a step away from agency. As it has evolved, the steps have grown longer. “The Undefeated”, and its devolution to “Andscape”, diminishes agency to a greater extent. Are we now to keep separate stats on the performance of athletes according to race or ethnicity?
There is no question that there are great black stories to be told, and we all should be receptive to them. But, to categorize achievements in a field such as sports according to race, and to highlight just those of one race, is to deny the essence of excellence. It diminishes rather than elevates.
Race-focused platforms are, to answer the question, neither responsible nor benign. They are evil.
Excellent post, HJ!
Thank you, Paul.
Thank you for telling this story, HJ. I’ve had similar conversations with many black friends, colleagues, and acquaintances that I’ve known over the years.
They don’t want to be treated differently. They don’t want to be segregated or considered oppressed victims. They want their accomplishments to stand on their own, regardless of skin color.
Andscapes is completely unethical, and is only there to serve the racist political agenda a certain party is pushing under the guise of “lifting minorities up”.
Instead they’re causing a negativity and regression that left the hearts/minds/attitudes of people 50+ years ago and far longer.
A self-evident Comment of the Day, HJ. It will be up tomorrow. Thanks.
I am reminded of my own parents. My sisters are convinced that our father was bigoted — and they could well be correct. He grew up in Nebraska during the Depression, and outside of Omaha back then I am sure it was almost all white.
But whatever his feelings and beliefs might have been, I do not recall him acting in a bigoted way. He rose to some fairly prominent positions in the VA and had to be dealing with both staff and patients of all races and ethnicities. I do not recall him disparaging people he dealt with because of their race or ethnicity.
I don’t think you can ask more of a person. I celebrate him for his actions and deeds, not his thoughts.
I am less annoyed by BET. They are marketing a product to a select group. As a minority group, they may not have mainstream entertainment options (this coming from a guy raised on What’s Happening, Good Times, The Jeffersons, etc.). BET is a one-stop entertainment stop.
Andscape seems worse. This description makes it sound like, “we are different and need different analyses.” It’s SPORTS for God’s sake! BET caters to a unique taste; Andscapes suggests it is catering to a different mind-set.
However much you might not like the idea of BET, Andscapes seems worse.
It is. What’s more, those minds will be set in concrete in a very short time. It’s the worst idea that’s come along since women who became “feminists” cut their connections with other females as well as men because of non-existent differences: “You can’t understand me, and I don’t wanna understand you. We just don’t think the same way; so we can’t communicate … so I’m gonna stay in my backyard and just play with my friends who play the games I already know and like.” It’s… un-American; that’s what it is!
These humans seem to be trying to build up parts of their culture, which I think is a good idea. Their culture was metaphorically starved and under constant attack for a few centuries, and on a cultural timescale things only recently started to change.
That said, humans in general are not good at building cultures on purpose.
I am concerned that many of these humans who will be on Andscape (at least many of the loudest ones) will define themselves based on what they look like, rather than figuring out what their culture means and what they want it to mean.
We’ve already heard people defining their groups based on oppression that their ancestors experienced, and that to varying degrees they themselves are still experiencing. While that may indeed be something they have in common, it’s not going to end well to define a community based on shared suffering. That means the only thing keeping the community together is continued suffering. If members of the community want to stand for something constructive but they all choose different constructive things to stand for, the people who have a vested interest in keeping the community cohesive through ideologically homogeneity see that as a bad thing.
Humans are also bad at defining constructive ideas and getting different such ideas to work together. It doesn’t come up that often, because most humans follow some sort of tradition or at least an example someone else set. These humans on Andscape will probably be making a deliberate effort to redefine themselves, and I wish them the best of luck with that. They’ll probably be breaking with tradition more, or in some cases the tradition may not be there to begin with. There are some good traditions they can draw on, though, so I hope they use those where and when they find it useful.
I would like to help humans go beyond tradition, though. There’s some building blocks for culture that I’d like to see the people of this planet adapt into their own contexts and make their own. I’m worried about what happens when they try to do things without a solid foundation of basic existential concepts. It’s gone wrong too many times in human history.
We wanted to create a space where Black people could be Black people: Black led, Black P.O.V., absolutely. But also where there were no definitions and no rules about what being Black meant, what you had to talk about.”
I heard a new term on an episode of “Naked and Afraid” that my wife was watching this weekend courtesy of an African-American contestant — “Crazy White People Shit.”
This right here is Crazy White People Shit.
Are race-focused platforms and projects like Andscape responsible and benign, or do they represent a retreat from racial comity?
I think they can be responsible and benign, but knowing ESPN, I have low expectations for this “project.” There is nothing wrong with examining issues from racial perspectives, but as we have learned over the last decade or so, this is not at all what interests the Leftist-dominated broadcast industry. Instead, they want to implement CRT on their shows, shaming white people and casting them in the role of villain based purely on skin color. It is highly likely to be pure racial politics dressed up as sports programming. In other words, it is likely to divide the audience along racial lines and put them at odds.
ESPN will aver that you can’t avoid politics in a project like this, but that only raises the question, “Then why do it in a sports context? Are shows covering racial politics so rare that we need another one taking up programming time on a channel ostensibly dedicated to sports?”
So I am not optimistic, and I consider it the high probability that this will be another screechy CRT-based white-people-shaming disgrace, and hence, a retreat from racial comity. The promo of it I watched last night during a game seems to bear out this perception.
Sounds like Crazy White People Shit to me.
Though I have no idea how “Andscape” has meaning, I really like it as a product name.
Money talks, right?
Andscape will be around as long as advertising dollars flow. Advertising dollars depend on who buys products being advertised. Buying products depends on having money to spend. Do the math and follow the money.
I keep thinking “Andscape” is missing a primary “L”
The letters also spell “Acne pads.”
In the ’60s, the word was “integration.” Now the word is “diversity.” Polar opposites. “Separate but equal” has been replaced by “separate and pretty much better than equal.” If you can’t win the game by playing by the rules, change the rules.
Thinking about the recent issues, I recall Ms. Clinton saying to Russia that she will e resetting the clock. Which she did indeed. She reset it back to 1956. Even FEMA is re-publishing guidelines of what to do in the event of a nuclear detonation. Not a being a sports an, I care little about it on any level, but I do recall Jackie Robinson who integrated MLB, but that clock has just been set back also to 1956 and before with the establishment of this new platform that seeks to segregate rather than integrate. The same can be said for BET.
Duck and cover, baby. Duck and cover