Speaking of people who should forego performing mental gymnastics on race and intersectionality, Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant suggested this week, on his Instagram, that black folks’ problems start and end with black folks, and not the forever-building evidence of systemic racism. The fallout has been loud and decisive across social media.
Here’s the rundown of the short-sighted reasoning for Bryant’s assertions, which are admirable but operate without historical context. His argument is that complaining is not a solution, and that his against-all-odds success is proof that people should lift themselves by their bootstraps.
Needless to say, Twitter has much to say to and about Bryant:
There's a whole history of white supremacy that led to your problematic views on race. You should probably read about it @DezBryant
— Jennifer Edwards (@MSUDrJen) April 11, 2017
I agree focusing on the future is the goal. But when you speak on a thing you can not exclude the history of the subject
— Corey Coles (@coreycoles) April 11, 2017
Necessarily going back through history, Fox Sports 1’s Undisputed commentator and Hall of Fame tight end Shannon Sharpe had a “woke” response for Bryant’s “accountability” angle.
“What is happening, Dez, when you say personal accountability—OK, so I’m supposed to hold me accountable for slavery,” Sharpe asked. “What about Reconstruction? What about the Jim Crow South? What about segregation? What about the violation of my civil rights and my voting rights? So who do I hold accountable for that?”
Bryant responded Tuesday afternoon via Twitter, calling Sharpe “wrong” and saying that the TV host “twisted” his words. He also pledged to appear on Undisputed to correct the record.