An interesting article from La Shawn Barber about Joseph C. Phillips, a black man who grew up trying to be an American but was unable to escape the stereotypes of black culture. La Shawn doesn’t mention it, but where I grew up, people would have referred to Phillips as an ‘Oreo cookie‘ — black on the outside but white on the inside. Phillips has captured his experiences in a semi-autobiographical piece called “He Talk Like a White Boy”
Phillips comments on the black community emphasis on sports over academics. “Doing well in school and reading books become anti-black, joining the debate club instead of the basketball team is anti-black as well.” Interestingly, a movie that focused on the same theme was “Coach Carter“, starring Samuel L. Jackson. In the movie, the coach of the high school basketball team cancels games until the student-athletes meet minimum grade point average. Coach Carter gets into a dispute with the black school administrator, when she exclaims that playing high school basketball will be the highlight of their lives. Carter, responds that the kids should be leveraging basketball as a means to get a college education.