Black Head Coaches Reignite Debate About Whether We Should ‘See Color’ in America

Two Black head coaches, the Tampa Buccaneers’ Head Coach Todd Bowles and the New England Patriots’ freshly hired Head Coach Jerod Mayo, have reignited a debate about whether or not Americans should ‘see color’ when judging people, or whether they should judge people according to individual merit.

An underreported exchange between Bucs head coach Todd Bowles and a ‘Woke’ reporter has resurfaced, gaining fresh significance in the light of recent statements by New England Patriots’ Head Coach Jerod Mayo.

Bowles answered a reporter’s leading line-of-questions suggesting that race played a factor in his relationships with other Black head coaches in the NFL, particularly Pittsburgh Steelers’ Head Coach Mike Tomlin.

“I have a very good relationship with Tomlin. We don’t look at what color we are when we coach against each other. We just know each other,” Bowles said.

Bowles challenged the reporter’s narrative by stating that the emphasis should be placed on individual merit rather than racial identity.

The video has regained momentum in light of recent statements by the Patriots’ new Head Coach Jerod Mayo, who suggested that people need to ‘see color’ in order to recognize racism.

“I do see color, because I believe if you don’t see color you can’t see racism,” Mayo said.

A number of conservatives rallied around Bowles’ comments:

The debate is reminiscent of the media stir caused by legendary actor Morgan Freeman in 2005, who pushed back on the left-wing narrative about systemic racism in America.

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Here is a transcript of the exchange:

: Black History Month, you find …

: Ridiculous.

: Why?

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: You’re going to relegate my history to a month?

: Come on.

: What do you do with yours? Which month is White History Month? Come on, tell me.

: I’m Jewish.

: OK. Which month is Jewish History Month?

: There isn’t one.

: Why not? Do you want one?

: No, no.

: I don’t either. I don’t want a Black History Month. Black history is American history.

: How are we going to get rid of racism until …?

: Stop talking about it. I’m going to stop calling you a white man. And I’m going to ask you to stop calling me a black man. I know you as Mike Wallace. You know me as Morgan Freeman. You’re not going to say, “I know this white guy named Mike Wallace.” Hear what I’m saying?

It should be noted that Morgan Freeman has heterodox views on race that are not easily typecast. For example, he argued that former President Barack Obama made the racial divide in America “worse,” however, he also said that the GOP has stated “racist goals,” such as removing Barack Obama from the White House at “all costs,” and that the Tea Party movement represented  the “weak, dark underside of America.”

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But Freeman has been consistent in his views of Black History month, and divisive terms like “African American.”

In an interview with the Sunday Times in 2023, he carried on with his familiar refrain about racial distinctions in America.

“Two things I can say publicly that I do not like. Black History Month is an insult. You’re going to relegate my history to a month?” he said.

“Also ‘African-American’ is an insult,” he added. “I don’t subscribe to that title. Black people have had different titles all the way back to the N-word and I do not know how these things get such a grip, but everyone uses ‘African-American’. What does it really mean? Most Black people in this part of the world are mongrels. And you say Africa as if it’s a country when it’s a continent, like Europe.”

Another prominent media personality, another sports figure like Bucs’ head coach Todd Bowles, who argued passionately about judging people by merit and not race, is NBA Hall of Famer and TNT sports analyst Charles Barkley.

The Black Conservative shared a clip of Charles Barkley commenting on the media narrative about “racist” cops hunting down Black people in America.

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“My grandmother taught me that you judge people on their own individual merits,” Barkley said. “You don’t care what any other jackass has to say. You don’t put everybody together.”

“Black is not always right, and white is not always wrong,” he added.

Barkley also called the narrative that White cops are out there just killing Black people is “ridiculous.” And he also gave praise to the police who work in tough neighborhoods in the inner city “awesome.”

Barkley, another media personality who is difficult to classify by ideological viewpoint, has given other interviews reinforcing his point that people should be judged on merit, not race.

“I grew up in the civil rights era,” he told USA Today Sports in 2014. “I’m very cognizant of everything around me, white or black. It doesn’t give you the right to be racist in any way.”

Barkley again cited his grandmother as an important influence on how he views race.

“She taught me to be very aware,” he said. “There were a lot of white folks in the civil rights movement that were pretty spectacular. Even when you go back to this thing in Ferguson (Missouri) right now, there are just as many whites folks out there marching as black folks.”

“You can’t have a preconceived notion of anybody. You have to judge everybody on their own individual merits, white or black,” he added.

“We’ve always had a racial problem in this country and you have to weed through the BS to realize that all black people aren’t great and all white people aren’t bad,” he said.

This is an important debate to have in America and there may be no better spokespersons to argue for individual merit, rather than race-based “equity,” than accomplished Black actors and athletes, who have achieved success in the nation through hard work and talent.

It might actually behoove more professional sports figures of any race to show a little gratitude for achieving success in America, instead of constantly complaining about it and airing all of their grievances.

By Melinda Davies
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