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November 22, 2009 | | Comments 17

Slamming Sammy Sellout Teaches Us A Lesson

Sammy Sellout

By Demetrius D. Walker

After I saw the recent photos of MLB legend Sammy Sosa sporting his new anti-tan, I declined to rush to conclusions. I just knew it was a crappy photoshop hoax, you know, some kind of an internet prank. As a couple more days passed and Sammy admitted he was indeed the pasty creature in the pictures, I remained in denial. They were obviously remnants of Sosa’s Halloween evening dressed as Count Chocula I rationed. Then I turned my Dell Plasma to Univision, a channel I frequent to ogle the amazingly hot female reporters English speaking American channels could never get away with exploiting brush up on my Spanish. To my utter disbelief I watched a grown up Eddie Munster, purported to be the Dominican home run king, give an interview bragging about his new skin “rejuvenation” cream. Left with no other conclusion besides “this Negro done lost his natural Black mind,” I proceeded to torch my Sosa Topps rookie card.

As the card disintegrated under the flame, I reflected on what could make my formerly Jheri curled brethren cave in to white supremacist ideology. Was Sammy dealing with post-traumatic stress stemming from Michael Jackson’s death? Was he attempting to revive the spirit of MJ through self replication of his vitiligo? Maybe his wife’s light characteristics just started to rub off on him; you know, the longer people stay married the more they start to look the same (just look at Billary Clinton). Nah, for the second time in his life Sammy Sosa simply sold out to the Cream. He let everyone down when it was revealed that he cheated by consuming those magical home-run enhancers, and now he has destroyed any confidence that his remaining fans had in his integrity by whitewashing his pigmentation. countchocula

The perpetual optimist, I am ever so grateful to Sammy Sosa Sellout for giving me a platform to discuss the overarching problems that are indicative of his predicament. First, as a man of mixed Negro and Latino heritage I must address the problem of race misidentifcation in the Black and Hispanic community. I can recall days where I kicked it with my Puerto Rican and Dominican homies and comments about “morenos” were hurled around. Most of the time their skin was as dark, if not darker than mine, yet there was a clear distinction made between Blacks that spoke English and Blacks that spoke Spanish. It was clear to me that in their minds the Spanish language created a physiological distinction between them and English speaking Black people. It mattered not that they congenitally inherited just as much African blood as the next Negro; Spanish meant you were phenotypically different from English speaking Blacks.

This division, based predominately on language differences, has always disturbed me. Growing up with my Dad’s side being African-American and my Mom’s side being dark, Spanglish-speaking, Panamanians, I never considered myself anything other than Black. I hate when I have to fill out a form and I am forced to make a decision between shading in the “Black” bubble or the “Hispanic” bubble. It’s as if I’m being told it’s impossible to be both; or better yet, Blacks who natively speak Spanish are Hispanic, while Blacks who speak English, French, German, or any other language are a different race altogether. That’s absurd… and this is why Sammy’s overt attempt to make a clear distinction between himself as a Black man and himself as a Latin man is a wake up call – Blacktinos we must unite!

As Sammy Sosa has suddenly burst onto the scene as the real life Clayton Bigsby, I must also address the issue of self -hatred in the Black community. Females always ask me what type of women I find attractive. When I simply respond “sexy women” they tend not to believe me. After all, every guy has a certain “type” of women they explain. 9 times out of 10 they’re referring to skin color and body type. “Do you date dark skinned girls, or light skinned girls only?” they ask. Once again I assure them that I date sexy women. Period.

Years of being a sought after Black man (don’t hate!) has led me to understand why Sisters feel the need to ask this question. I recall conversations at Vanderbilt University with my boys. Sitting around talking ish about chicks, I can vividly remember a couple of buddies confessing that they exclusively devote their attention to light-skinned females. Strangely, these were some of the darkest brothers I ever met. I could never grasp how they couldn’t find women of their own skin color attractive. Not only were they Black-than-a-mofo, their mothers were dark as well. “Do they despise their mothers?” I pondered. Better yet, “do they despise themselves?” Clearly, white supremacy has permeated the minds of Black men to the point where many do not find mates of their own skin color to be worthy companions. In their eyes light is right.

Unfortunately, many Black women are guilty of the same sin. I realized this as I watched Precious (Monique deserves an Oscar BTW) last weekend. There’s a scene where the lead character looks into the mirror and sees a thin, blond-haired, White woman in the reflection, instead of a heavy-set Black woman. Also, the main character frequently fantasizes about her desire to find a light-skinned man with “good hair” to settle with. It is due to this mentality that situations like Sammy Sosa’s are more common than you might think. Skin bleaching products are a big hit in the Caribbean right now. Don’t believe me, check this out:

At the end of the day I am thankful for Sammy selling out so publicly. The conversations this fool has sparked will hopefully bring attention to the issues of Black/Hispanic race identity, self-hate, and the global skin bleaching epidemic. Whether you agree with my analysis of this situation or not, I hope you will heed the moral of this story: be comfortable with the skin you’re in.

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  1. Angenita Perry says:

    What my problem with the whole African American generation of today is why can’t we stop worshipping White people? Instead of African American learn about what was taking from our black race when we was slaves; start living the way a God; we choose to believe we our all the same people yes there are alot of mixing race; but there still blacks race out here coming up still believing the garbage that was taught to our ancestors when we was slave the white race was the better race when we need to get on the program and educate our race and get them back; I heard a Kul Kuk Klans man says they don’t have to hurt blacks any more they do it to there selfs. Our people parsh because of lack of knowledge. We as black adults need to teach your children instead of giving up on them.

  2. UHURUBE says:

    Good Post.. Wale got a new song that exposes that light vs dark mentality that we so ignorantly embrace!!!

  3. Covegirl says:

    what it comes down to is self identification…who do you see yourself as and who do want to be?…as you eluded to in your post, precious saw herself as a white, blonde and fantasized of her lightskinned-good haired-dream lover…now i understand the psychology of this subconscious transformation-seeing herself this way allowed her to escape her pain…but what made her think that as a white-blonde she’d have a perfect life or even a life better than that whe was living? i’ll tell you what made her think such a thing…it was the same disillusionment most of us have as blacks living in a majority society…yeah i know, the minority is becoming the majoirty as we continue to blend…as a jungle fever baby trust me i get this…but it’s very clear that we as a people have been conditioned to see the white life in a near perfect light, no problems, no racism or prejudice, no oppression…and believe me i’m not saying that the majority absolutely identifies with these setbacks but what about identifying with the idea and not the person with the lead role? its amazing to hear “brothuhs” and “sistuhs” categorize their love interests…seriously, you really determine the person you date by the grade of their hair? just dumb-ass-ness…regardless your preference, to categorize in such a way only conveys a small and disillusioned mind set which some may not recognize as a mental health issue…yes, mental health…apparently somewhere down the line something happened to you that established a set way of thinking…maybe the star student in your second grade class was a little light skinned girl and you hated her for getting all the attention or maybe the little dark skinned boy tripped you and you can’t wrap your mind around letting yourself become drawn to someone who embodies these characters in your life…there is a reason for everything-a cause and effect and we as a people are still getting over years of deep ingrained horrible ebodiments of our ancestors’ past…light or dark we have to come to love ourselves and let go of these daunting embodiments…me personally? i’m an EOD (equal opportunity dater)!

  4. YoGirl says:

    very enlightening comments… now I know why one of my co-workers (from Panama) who is 10 shades darker than I thinks she’s better then me… I always thought: b*tch, yo azz is blacker than I am no matter what kind of splanglish yo azz is speakin’…

  5. I’ve looked all above for this details. You have been definitely valuable. Thanks so very much. I’m gonna go get a sunless tan now 8-)

  6. Meta-PhyzZ says:

    Up until now, I’d always thought that those feelings and thoughts among black people towards lighter skin tones was something more underlying than that – that it was just a fleeting feeling or an undertone of thought that certainly influenced one’s preference towards what does/doesn’t attract them; now I’m more aware of every off-handed comment I’ve received from my West Indian family about my light skin. I’d been of the mentality that yes, they thought that light skin made you seem somehow more educated, nobler, more beautiful, etc. – but I always thought they were denying what I was within themselves. I’m the product of an interracial coupling, and am what I like to call a dark “yellow ocher”. However, they themselves can recognize family members back in Barbados that were Caucasians from Ireland or Wales or any other former citizen of the U.K. I thought that since they only identified themselves as black, they were just glorifying what I was while denying themselves the same glorifications, even if their skin was darker than mine. However, now I really know how deep-seeded these feelings and thoughts are amongst, not just Caribbean folk, but African-American folks as well. It makes you think: Have we as a people truly left the 60′s? Is being “high-yellah” really the same as it was back then? And what are the stereotypes portrayed of lighter-skinned African-Americans or people of mixed races? You’ve inspired me to get crackin’ on a 10 page research synthesis paper I’ve been slacking on lol. For anyone who comments after me, feel free to try and answer these questions. Your own opinions will help me with my research.

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