One of the best art displays at Art Basel in Miami in early December was the neon sign that said, “Obama is the new black.” Truer words have never been spoken.
However, it seems to be common ignorance in South Florida to define human beings by their skin color.
There are plenty of scientific evidence and glowing examples that humans from various cultures and different shades of skin can and have accomplished great things. Nevertheless, some people still insist that their skin color is better than that of others.
The controversy surrounding Miami Dolphins football player Richie Incognito, who is white, accused of hazing fellow player Jonathan Martin, who is black, in the workplace brought to the forefront this issue of race once again. Incognito left a voicemail on his co-worker’s phone saying that he was a “half n-word” which is completely unacceptable.
Why? Because words like those offend people. Not only do offensive words insult the receiver but they also offend others, even when the words are not said directly to them.
To compound the issue, journalists such as Armando Salguero of The Miami Herald reported that black Dolphins players said that Incognito was more black than Martin. Neither Salguero nor The Miami Herald has yet defined what “black” means in that context.
So, what does “acting black” mean? When a sign says that “Obama is the new black,” does this mean that Jonathan Martin doesn’t act like President Obama? Maybe this means that Richie Incognito acts more like President Obama than does Martin.
Perhaps the stupidity goes even further. Jonathan Martin, an All-American player, who graduated from the prestigious Stanford University, doesn’t fit the negative stereotypes associated with blacks or black professional athletes. Both of Martin’s parents graduated from Harvard University, as did President Obama and his wife Michelle. Martin’s profile simply doesn’t fit negativity.
Apparently, Incognito’s profile does.
It has long been established that you cannot define a person by skin color. The Declaration of Independence in 1776 states that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, among which are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
In 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. asked that his four children not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. Yet, in 2013, people are still treated unequally based on the color of their skin.
A large majority of Americans honor our Declaration of Independence and we live by the words of the great Dr. King. But there are still a few unintelligent, weak-minded people who insist on defining people by their skin color.
Maybe, just maybe, “acting black” means acting like President Obama because, in 2014, Obama is the new black.
John Dudley is a freelance writer living in Miami Beach. He may be reached at Mrinvestor2u2002@yahoo.com