Henley: Race issues remain, but race shouldn't define us

Henley: Race issues remain, but race shouldn't define us

December 18th, 2012 by Gene Henley in Sports - Columns

Three To Watch For Tonight

Bradley Central boys at Baylor: This will be a good game. Bradley's Bears need to find a way to finish close games; they've lost five of six decided by seven points or less. Baylor's biggest question is whether freshman Desmond Upshaw can keep trending up. He was big in a victory over Howard last week.

Meigs County at McMinn County girls: Meigs' Lady Tigers suffered their first loss of the season to district rival McMinn Central last week. Things won't get much easier going to Athens to face another rival in the Lady Cherokees, who are well rested after a week off.

Heritage girls at Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe: The two teams played a tight game two weeks ago, with Heritage coming out on top 53-51. Perhaps the home court could be the difference for the Lady Warriors this time around.

What defines us?

A simple question, yet the determination of the answer seems so complex. For example, are we defined by wealth? Race? Social or relationship status?

Or an even bigger question. Are we defined by who or what we are?

Last week, a black commentator on a popular morning debate show raised eyebrows by questioning the "blackness" of the Washington Redskins' Robert Griffin III, based on the color of the quarterback's fiancée as well as the political party he chooses to vote for.

It was very, very disturbing. I will admit that the easiest thing to do is ignore anything related to race and act as though it doesn't exist, so I applaud the commentator's attempt to introduce race into an argument, albeit an extremely poor one. Most of us don't care what color you are, the ethnicity of your significant others or anything else -- especially in sports where it's simple: If you're good, you're good.

Who you show yourself to be determines who you are, regardless of what color you are -- no definition needed.

What I do know is that there still is a racial element to a lot of things in our society, from the president ranging downward. To ignore that fact could mean that it's not a problem for us. Or it could mean that we're just afraid to talk about it because we're not sure how to talk about it.

The one minor hope most of us hold onto is that if judgment comes into question, it will be based on our history, potential and value as a person. When things such as skin color and politics become the criteria determining the core value of a person, questions about how far we've come as a nation cease, because the answer to that question becomes very clear.

Not very far.