Jesse Jackson accused the Green Bay Packers this week of firing coach
Ray Rhodes because he was black. When I read this in the news, I thought
that the “rainbow reverend” had finally lost his mind. When Rev. Jackson
said nothing about the Dallas Cowboys (Jerry Jones) firing their coach,
Chan Gailey, I was confused. After all if, Jackson’s Rainbow Coalition
is real, shouldn’t the good reverend be just as concerned about a white
coach as he is about a black coach? Have you ever seen a rainbow that
has just one color?
In an attempt to be fair, to make sure that I hadn’t missed
something, I decided to look at the facts objectively. Here is what I
In both cases, the teams said that they fired their coach because
their team didn’t make it to the playoffs. This was the first time that
the Packers hadn’t made it to the playoffs in seven years. The Cowboys,
under Gailey’s leadership, went to the playoffs last year … and
promptly lost their first game.
The Dallas Cowboys were Coach Gailey’s first head coaching job.
Previously, he was an assistant with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Coach
Rhodes, on the other hand, joined the Packers after being fired as the
Philadelphia Eagles head coach.
Chan Gailey was an unknown commodity who couldn’t get the job done.
Ray Rhodes was a known commodity who had failed at his last job. Neither
gentleman distinguished himself at Green Bay or Dallas. So they fired
them. That should have been the end of the story.
After all, the teams will pay both men millions for not working the
rest of their contracts. Neither man will starve and both can coach as
assistants in the pros or as head coaches in college. Not exactly
charity cases, right? Nevertheless, for some strange reason, Jesse
Jackson decided that if he played the race card in the defense of a
two-time failure multimillionaire black coach, someone would care.
Well, I do care, and I’m tired of this game. Every time someone plays
the race card game, whether it is Al Gore, Pat Buchanan or Jesse
Jackson, it demeans and diminishes all of us. I can think of no worse
way to celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday Monday than to
play the race card game. After all, it was Dr. King who yearned for an
America where we all would be judged by the content of our character,
not the color of our skin.
As we enter the 21st century, it is time to leave behind a card game
invented in the 16th century. America invented the race card game when
she decided that poor whites and Indians were too sickly to do her hard
labor. She allowed her founding fathers to ignore the humanity of my
ancestors by entombing our lack of full equality into our nation’s
constitution. She allowed white Christians to treat my ancestors as sub
Racial politics worsened with the Dred Scott decision, in which the
U.S. Supreme Court said that an American of African descent had no
rights that a white man had to respect. Simultaneously, segregationists
invented a host of skin color laws that defined a person’s being and
legal standing by the amount of, or lack of, “black blood.” In my short
life, I was born colored, raised as a Negro, came of age as a Black Man
and now am proudly an American of African descent.
In 1835, Alexis de Tocqueville, in his seminal book, “Democracy in
America,” predicted that the most formidable challenge facing America
was the issue of race. One hundred years later, W.E.B. Du Bois, the
first black to earn a Ph.D. from Harvard, predicted that race would
dominate America in the 20th century. I share this history so that no
one will forget that the legacy of 16th century racism is still fresh
and raw with many of our fellow Americans.
Well, the 20th century is over. In spite of our harsh history, the
time has come to stop playing the race card. It is time to reject the
petty distinctions of the white segregationists and define people by
whom they are and not what they look like. Anyway, most of us have more
in common with those who share our value systems than with those who
share our “skin color.” Isn’t it ironic that those who cling most
tightly to the white segregationist’s definition of race are black
liberals like Jesse Jackson?
Although it is ironic, on one level, it makes perfect sense. The race
card game is a desperate attempt of white and black liberals to hold on
to a sinking lifeboat until the last possible moment. Black Americans
who think their skin color is their defining characteristic know that in
the next five years, Americans of Latino descent will out number them.
When that happens, they and their white “allies” will lose their
privileged place as America’s most numerous and politically power
“minority.” If power corrupts absolutely, how do you think it feels to
see power slipping out of your hands?
The importance of looking at the race card as a proxy for the “I want
to hold on to power” card is that it explains the unexplainable. The
“lust for power” card explains why Al Gore and his national campaign
manager claim that Republicans are racists. Translation? Without a solid
black vote, Gore is doomed.
The “lust for power” card explains why Jesse Jackson came to the
defense of high school thugs who created a violent riot at a Decatur,
Ill., football game. Translation? America is ignoring Jesse. He’s not
running for president and has no hostages to rescue. So he is now trying
to become the Jerry Springer of the civil rights movement to stay in the
The “lust for power” card explains why black social workers say that
it is better for black and mixed race children to stay in foster homes
than to be adopted by white parents. Translation? If race determines
suitability for adoption, you have to continue to employ “experts” on
The “lust for power” card explains the impassioned attacks of black
democrats in Congress against creating a mixed race category for the
census. As Tiger Woods so eloquently said, if your mother is from
Thailand and your father is African American, why should the census
force you to deny the existence of one of your parents? However, if you
allow folks who are half black and half something else to say so, the
whole federal system of racial preferences for blacks falls apart.
Oh my friends, we are witnessing the end of an era. But instead of
rising to the mountain top with Dr. King, today’s so-called “black”
leaders are sinking into the slime of Senator Bilbo. They are adopting
the racist, stupid and scientifically invalid claim that even one drop
of “black” blood makes you black. They have become soul mates with
segregationists because of their lust for power, not their compassion
for the oppressed.
Monday is Dr. King’s birthday. Let’s give him a special birthday
present. Let’s finally start judging everyone by the content of their
character and not by the color of their skin.
In that light, Green Bay and Dallas fired both coaches for just
cause, without regard to race, ethnicity, national origin or skin color.
Because both coaches failed at their jobs, which was to produce winners.