Richie Incognito: There Is no Such Thing as an “Honorary Black”


“Richie is honorary. I don’t expect you to understand because you’re not black. But being a black guy, being a brother is more than just about skin color. It’s about how you carry yourself. How you play. Where you come from. What you’ve experienced. A lot of things.” – Anonymous former Dolphins player

First and foremost, let me begin this blog by stating that I am a lifelong Miami Dolphins fan. I have endured losing season after losing season, Dan Marino’s last game (we lost 62-7), and the Monday Night Miracle against the Jets, yet I have never been more embarrassed to be a Dolphins fan then I am now. The Jonathan Martin-Richie Incognito fiasco in Miami has forever damaged the Dolphins franchise, but after Incognito’s racially charged rant towards Martin for some Dolphin players to give Incognito a pass because he was seen as an “Honorary Black” is comically ridiculous!

Jonathan Martin is the offensive tackle the Dolphins drafted in the second round of the 2011 draft that abruptly walk off the team two weeks ago. Incognito (who’s currently suspended) has a troubled history of bullying, picking fights, sexual assault and harassing teammates, but he crossed the line when he left Martin the following text message:

“Hey, wassup, you half n—– piece of s—. I saw you on Twitter, you been training 10 weeks. [I want to] s— in your f—ing mouth. [I’m going to] slap your f—ing mouth.”                                      

“[I’m going to] slap your real mother across the face [laughter].” 

“F— you, you’re still a rookie. I’ll kill you.”

In a recent interview Incognito admitted that he went too far, but said he never meant to hurt Martin and considers him a friend. On being labeled a racist Incognito said: “I’m not a racist. To judge me by that one word, is wrong. It’s thrown around a lot. It’s a word I’ve heard Jon use a lot.” Incognito did not see a problem using the n-word because Miami Dolphin players gave him a pass to use a word that has historically been used to degrade African-Americans.

Let’s be clear, there is and will never be an “Honorary Black Man”. There’s no such thing as an honorary black person. And that’s because, after nearly half a millennium of slavery and active, institutional racism on these lands, there is no longer anything honorable about being black. We all know this, of course. Let’s run down all of the most common black stereotypes: Stupid. Lazy. Immature. Inarticulate. Impulsive. Violent. How many of these traits are good, desirable, honorable? And surely, it’s no accident that any African-American who’s smart, or rich, or articulate, or has white friends is considered white. These are all good things, traits of which whites are the sole proprietors (Greg Howard).

To be African-American or “black” in America is to live a constant struggle. The view of racial progress differs greatly depending on your ethnicity with Caucasians more optimistic and African Americans more pessimistic because there are many things that come with being African American that other ethnic groups do not face.

Let’s start with one’s name, now African-American tend to have names that are distinctive to our race, but just having a black sounding name brings employment limits. Think about that for a minute. If you have a “black sounding name” your chances of getting a job is more difficult than someone with a “white sounding name”.

The National Bureau of Research released a study that “suggests a black-sounding name remains an impediment to getting a job. After responding to 1,300 classified ads with dummy resumes, the authors found black-sounding names were 50 percent less likely to get a callback than white-sounding names with comparable resumes (Justin Pope)”.

African-Americans are also more likely to be arrested for possessing marijuana than Caucasians, even though both races use the same amount. According to the ACLU marijuana arrest rates for blacks were 3.73 times greater than those for whites nationally in 2010. In some counties, the arrest rate was 10 to 30 times greater for blacks. An overall increase in marijuana possession arrests from 2001 to 2010 is largely attributable to drastic increases in arrests of black people, the ACLU said.

I could go on and on about how like 1 out of 3 African-American men will go to jail or how the median wealth of white households is 20 times that of African-American households, but I think you get the point.

There are numerous reasons why Richie Incognito is not an “honorary black man”, starting with the fact that there is no such thing as an “honorary black man”. Incognito never had to worry about driving while black, being followed around in a department store, labeled suspicious for walking through a community wearing a hoody, shot dead while asking for help, or discriminated against for having a “black sounding name”. Any African-American Dolphin’s player that accepted Incognito’s rampant use of the n-word is not only a disgrace to the Dolphins organization, but a disgrace to his race.




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