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When Dallas Cowboys tight end Martellus Bennett's ridiculous and stereotype-enforcing Black Olympics video (video may be offensive to some) first surfaced it seemed like a horrid prank. Someone surely was impersonating Bennett, right? A virus had taken over his video equipment. Had to be. No African-American with a functioning cerebrum would ever purposely compose such a self-degrading, self-hating piece of tripe and then present it to the world.
But Ashton Kutcher never bolted from behind a wall to declare that Bennett had been Punk'd. This was real. Unbelievably, this was damn real.
Did Bennett go too far with this video? Well, ah, yeah.
In the age of President Obama, in the supposed era of ethnic enlightenment and new racial horizons, here comes Bennett, pulling a Rush Limbaugh, sabotaging not just his own image but the image of his own people.
There's a fine line from bombast to buffoonery but clearly Bennett has crossed it with his recent and past videos.
When Jimmy the Greek stereotyped the black athlete, he was rightfully castigated. When Al Campanis claimed that blacks lacked the necessities to be managers in the Major Leagues - another stereotype -- he was justifiably publicly discarded. When Limbaugh made ugly comments about quarterback Donovan McNabb, he was fired from ESPN.
Bennett did an unfunny video bit he called the Black Olympics in which he competes against his brother, Michael Bennett, in a watermelon and fried chicken eating contest as well as a Kool-Aid drinking competition. For that piece of Uncle-tomfoolery, Bennett should be held to the same standards as those other misguided men.
Here's what you're going to say: Bennett's act was a joke; those others weren't. They all, however, have one thing in common. They served to reinforce ugly imagery that should've been buried right alongside a casket containing the N-word.
You're also going to counter with Dave Chappelle a frequenter of racial humor. Chappelle is funny. Chappelle is biting and brilliant. He used his racial grenades as a way to raise a mirror to society. Chappelle's barbs - or Richard Pryor's or Eddie Murphy's -- didn't possess the unfunny, non-lesson teaching sentiment of Bennett's blasts.
We all make errors in judgment; I've certainly made them. There's a learning curve though. Smart people don't repeat those mistakes or make excuses for them. Bennett does both. He was fined $22,000 by the Cowboys for an earlier video in which he repeatedly referred to blacks and gays with various slurs.
Then, on the Michael Irvin radio show this week, Bennett defended his Step 'N Fetch routine. "[There are] white comedians that do stuff like that all the time," he told Irvin.
Well, let those white comics do it. That doesn't mean Bennett must follow their lead. Besides, unlike true comedians, Bennett isn't funny.
In any way.
And if he keeps up these inane routines, he never will be.
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