I was listening to sports radio today and heard a story about Cam Newton, the quarterback of the Carolina Panthers. After hearing the story, I was shocked at my initial reaction. The story was about Cam Newton saying, “I’m an African-American quarterback that may scare a lot of people because they haven’t seen nothing they can compare me to.”
Now, now…don’t jump to conclusions. I didn’t think anything negative about the Carolina Panthers QB. I like him and the energy and joy he brings to the game.
What jumped into my 51-and-a-half, grumpy-old-white-guy head was, “That’s right, Cam Newton is black, isn’t he.” What surprised me was that, as a bona fide, 51-and-a-half, grumpy-old-white-guy, I just see Cam Newton as a QB.
Have we progressed to the point where—for most of the NFL football fans in America—race is beginning to matter less and less? But, race still matters and race should be celebrated instead of targeted with those unfounded stereotypes.
Hopefully, we are getting to the point where, thanks to guys like Marlin Briscoe, James Harris, Doug William, Randall Cunningham, Warren Moon, etc., we can finally bury the belief that it is not “normal” for an African American to play QB.
I wonder if we are re-defining what “normal” means?
What is “normal”, anyway? Is there even a normal in America anymore? Not the “normal” that is built on stereotypes. Maybe normal has become a patchwork of bits and pieces. Maybe normal is made up of many facets that shine from different angles and radiate many colors. Maybe, just maybe, things are changing for the better.
The day when old, grumpy, white guy sees an African American QB as just a QB, it is good news. It is a sign of progress. It’s a better place to be where things like skin color matter less than action and deed.
Bits and pieces bound together to make the world a better place.
We are, in fact, made of bits and pieces of damn good stuff.
We are a patchwork of awesome.