Archive for Thursday, November 19, 2009

Whiter Sosa is an embarrassment

November 19, 2009


Dear Sammy Sosa:

Are you happy with yourself now? Are you more confident and self-assured? When you look in the mirror, do you like yourself better, now that you are white?

As you know, photos taken of you at an awards show earlier this month have the whole country talking. Last time we saw you, you were a brown man from the Dominican Republic, star slugger for the Chicago Cubs. Now you are white, facing the camera with a complexion strikingly reminiscent of Dracula’s.

You claim you’ve been using a skin-softening cream and that it, combined with the bright lights under which the photos were taken, made your face look whiter than it is. Which is an extraordinarily lame excuse. Indeed, if that excuse was a horse, you’d shoot it.

While it is admirably metro-sexual of you to be so concerned with the softness of your skin, I must say: if I slathered something on my face that was supposed to render it tender and it left me looking like the Joker instead, I’d sue. You, on the other hand, are reported to be considering an endorsement deal.

Skin softening my fanny. Skin bleaching is more like it.

So I want to know if it’s made you happy, being white, if it’s given you what you felt you lacked. Me, I’d have thought you already had the brass ring by both hands: You were a handsome sports hero, had made beaucoup dollars, had the requisite gorgeous wife. What could be missing?

Whiteness, apparently.

You know how transsexuals will sometimes say they never felt at home in their original gender? Was that what it was like for you? Was there always a white man inside you trying to get out?

Sorry if I can’t relate, Sammy, but I’m a child of the era when James Brown sang, “Say it loud! I’m black and I’m proud!” It was a seminal moment in the history of a nation which had always taken for granted that negritude and pride were mutually exclusive. Those years found black people shrugging off the idea that they should be judged by what other people deemed beautiful. It was like a butterfly leaving a cocoon ... if butterflies wore Afros and dashikis.

We walked with a brand new swagger in that era, Sammy, having buried the Negro — and all the attendant connotations of obsequious servitude and knowing your place — for good. From now on, we would be black. “Black is beautiful, baby,” we said.

And it was possible to believe something fundamental had changed, that the Rubicon had been well and truly crossed.

So you can imagine what a bitter pill the last 20 years or so have been for some of us, what a harsh lesson in the changeability of change. We spent those years watching Michael Jackson use creams and surgery to scrape Africa from his face; listening as “entertainers” made fortunes selling coonish caricatures of black life; cringing as black children decreed academic achievement synonymous with “acting white;” aching as teenage filmmaker Kiri Davis re-enacted the old “doll test” and found black children still choose white dolls as prettier or more desirable than black ones; and fuming as black people clung, stubbornly and stupidly, to the custom of referring to themselves by a certain six-letter epithet that begins with N.

But I’ll bet you don’t see any of that when you look in the mirror. I’ll bet you don’t see 400 years of internalized inferiority, little girls crying for lack of “good hair,” black folks obsessively categorizing themselves by a color scheme which holds, in the words of the old saying, the lighter, the brighter, the better.

No, I’ll bet you see a face you’ve always dreamt of seeing — white and smiling you. And I’ll bet you’re not embarrassed in the least. But that’s all right, Sammy.

I’m embarrassed for you.


gr 8 years, 1 month ago

"Indeed, if that excuse was a horse, you’d shoot it."

Pitts recommends shooting horses.

"if I slathered something on my face that was supposed to render it tender and it left me looking like the Joker instead, I’d sue."

Pitts would sue over minor things. He also discriminates against Jokers.

"found black children still choose white dolls as prettier or more desirable than black ones;"

And some blacks choose white spouses. The outrage!

"white and smiling you. And I’ll bet you’re not embarrassed in the least."

Is Pitts saying it's embarrassing to be white?

Brent Garner 8 years, 1 month ago

Pitts once again demonstrates his obsession with the color of a person's skin. Perhaps he should re-read what Dr. King said about that in King's "I Have A Dream" speech.

jaywalker 8 years, 1 month ago

Don't see what the rest of ya do. Haven't seen nor heard Sammy, but I gotta agree with Pitts, he should be embarassed. Attempting to 'whiten' sure was a freak show w/ Michael, what could drive someone to do such in this day and age?

Mel Briscoe 8 years, 1 month ago

if any of y'all have the opportunity, find that clip on youtube of jimmy kimmel live where they're talking about this-- it has that mexican fella who is a regular on kimmel doing an "interview" w/ sammy sosa. hil-frickin-larious, i tell ya! i have it up on my facebook page.

Mel Briscoe 8 years, 1 month ago

agequo, wow-- that has to be THE most racist comment i have seen on this board. period. with that one comment you out-did all of the ultra conservative, obama bashers who post on a regular basis.

and i didn't know that men of color were the only folks to father children by different women?... even the saintly president reagan had TWO baby mamas.

Mel Briscoe 8 years, 1 month ago

ooooh, okay. agequo is a troll. didn't catch that-- i should've thought to look at the bio before i even bothered to be offended.

Ricky_Vaughn 8 years, 1 month ago

When was the last time Sammy Sosa was relevant? Let the guy fade into obscurity in peace.

Fruity22 8 years, 1 month ago

Welcome to the club Sammy. Our numbers are dwindleing in the U.S. and we're always looking for new membership.

Mel Briscoe 8 years, 1 month ago

oh, and liberty 1, i agree w/ you on the asian symbols that people get as tattoos. never could figure that one out...

canyon_wren 8 years, 1 month ago

jaywalker, I'm with you. I thought this column was quite good and can't figure out why even people like Tom are attacking it. I am no Pitts fan, as a rule, but it is interesting to get this perspective. I, too, don't know a thing about Sam Sosa, but Pitts' other comments are worth reading.

Kam_Fong_as_Chin_Ho 8 years ago

Back in the 1980s, white supremacist Daniel Carver tried to discourage his fellow white people from lying out in the sun. He said that those who tried to make themselves tan were ashamed of their white heritage and preferred "look like (african americans)."

Leonard Pitts is the new Daniel Carver.

rrgdeb 8 years ago

I consider Leonard Pitts to be an intelligent and articulate writer. I am consistently impressed by the strong feelings his columns inspire, and agree with his viewpoints as a whole.

Mel Briscoe 8 years ago

okay okay, so i will admit that i didn't read the entire column when i first commented... i read the headline and the first couple of sentences.

however, i can now say that i've read the whole column and i really don't see why folks are taking such offense to it. especially considering most (if not ALL) of the people who have commented in here and said how foul mr. pitts is are caucasian (admittedly, i haven't met y'all or seen your pics but most of you have posted in other threads and i have been able to ascertain which ethnic group category most of said posters fall under).

what's so offensive??... i mean, is the man not correct, atleast to some extent? what is so cool about a person of african heritage, like sammy sosa, lightening him skin? that's a little bit different than if brad pitt and angelina jolie take a trip to bermuda and come back w/ a sun kissed hue. this is a person who is going out of their way to alter their appearance.

i am a michael jackson fan (was before he died and still am today) but i will be the first to admit that i was sickened by what he did to his face. he was a beautiful dark brown man w/ handsome features on the cover of his 1979 album off the wall. i was a 6th grader at the time and remember all of the girls, myself included, thinking and commenting on how cute he was. then on his next album cover, thriller, he had gotten some work done. but he still looked like the mike we all knew and loved. and we all know where the story ends... he ended up the color of, as one comedian said, "the walls in someone's guest room". not only had his skin color changed but so did his facial features.

when white people go out in the sun and get a tan, it usually doesn't take alot of effort and minimal money... plus the effects are only temporary. as for those white folks who have memberships to tanning salons so they can stay a coppery brown all year long?... i can't really say... perhaps they have the same self image problems that mike had... its pretty apparent that they want to alter their skin color permanently or it wouldn't be a year-round thing.

Fruity22 8 years ago

I would like to be tan year round honeychild but I don't have the time to visit a tannery once a week. I do get pretty tan in the summer however does that mean I secretly want to be another race. If so you have opened my eyes. And to follow up, you are saying that white folks who tan year round have self-image problems but those who just go outside and get tan in the summer have no self-image problems. Interesting stuff

pace 8 years ago

I don't care what color someone is.

puddleglum 8 years ago

barry, you are sad.

darwin must, nevermind.

Ricky_Vaughn 8 years ago

I'm so pale I can only turn pink and red...

Flap Doodle 8 years ago

Lenny's spending a lot of time lately waxing wroth about people who don't meet his standard of blackness.

Stuart Evans 8 years ago

but I thought dark skinned people could do whatever they want. after all, we've all seen the Wayans brothers and Eddie Murphy dress in white face. That seemed to be perfectly acceptable. but Sosa goes and uses some lotion and lights and Leonard goes nuts at the thought of losing a brother.

redmorgan 8 years ago

It's his appearance, not yours, Mr. Pitts. It's none of your damned business how other people choose to look. Now, please, kindly go get a life.

Fruity22 8 years ago

Does Sammy go back in the race draft that was featured on the Dave Chapelle show a few years ago. African Americans, Latinos, and now white folks can all lay claim to him. Who do you think uses a pick on him?

jonas_opines 8 years ago

"While we're at it, what's up with non-asian people getting tattoos of asian symbols?"

Are you Chinese? No. Do you speak Chinese? Yes, Japanese too. Have you ever been to China? Yes, and it means the male half of the Phoenix, or bird of wind. No guessing required. That's really deep. Thank you.

jonas_opines 8 years ago

jaywalker, honeychild, I think you're drawing an awful large assumption that there was any rational thought put into the matter before the attacks. Rather, see it's a Pitts column, then react. Stimulus, response.

/you can see the same thing happen on the rare occasions Cal Thomas says something that makes sense.

Mel Briscoe 8 years ago

answering fruity, i dunno.... white folks who want a year round tan may, in fact, have issues w/ self image. shrugs shoulders

luckily, me being a halfrican american (props to mr. limbaugh for coining the phrase), i have a nice beige tint to my skin at all times. so i don't have to worry about that. tee hee! ;P

Fruity22 8 years ago

Okay honeychild I use to work close to a tanning establishment and I mean beautiful white girls would flock in and out of that thing all day year round. How do you think I can use that self-image problem to my benefit if you know what I mean. wink, wink, nudge, nudge. I mean if nothing else I'd have something in common with them we'd both agree that we look better tan. Speaking of beautiful tan women I notice that Jennifer Aniston gal is always pefectly baked. I bet she has some real issues huh.

And by the way props to you for being a "halfrican american". I'm so jealous of you and your beautiful beige skin.

jonas_opines 8 years ago

I guess I missed where Mel Gibson and Paris Hilton had apparent skin augmentation to make them look black. Pitt's point seems to be that Sosa is embarrased of his own race. Which would be quite sad, and worthy of comment, if it is true.

Mel Briscoe 8 years ago

jennifer anniston may, in fact, have issues... she maybe beautiful but she can't seem to keep a man so you never know-- her self image may very well be very bad.

many pretty girls have very low self esteem... but it sounds as if you already know that. they have to be validated by a man's, woman's, society's attention. and of course, shortly after that validation, their confidence is right back in the pooper. (man it feels good having a shrink for a dad-- growing up hearing psychobabble... makes me feel like i really know what i'm talking about.)

i'm sure there are things about you, fruity, that i would be very enviable of. i may have a permanent tan but you probably don't have any worries if you were to drive thru mississippi by yourself. :D

Fruity22 8 years ago

Lets put the cards on the table honeychild, if somebody asked me. Do you want to be tan year round like you are in the Summer and I say yes does that mean I want to be black like the king of pop wanted to be white? If so I find that awfully facsinating and am amazed at the amount of white folks walking around who must want to be black.

Fruity22 8 years ago

I hear you about Jennifer Anniston by the way. Look at George Clooney as well, he has got a great tan and can't settle on one woman. I bet you he locks himself in his yacht at night and cries like a baby

KansasPerson 8 years ago

While I don't think Sosa's new look is an improvement, I thought this was a free country where people could do whatever they wanted to their appearance without first submitting a proposal to a Correctness Committee.

Mel Briscoe 8 years ago

well ms. anniston did make some rather catty comments about angelina taking her man... so i think she's probably still smarting from that whole sitch.

anyway, enough about jennifer anniston. i was never a friends fan and i can't stomach most romantic comedies...

i don't know if most white folks who want to bake and bake and bake both in the sun as well as in tanning beds just to get the complexion that i can get after being in the july sunshine for 2 hours are practioners of self-hate. i'm not white and i don't have to bake to get that way. by that same token, i don't have to put any lighteners on my face because i am what some older black folks would call "high yella" so maybe i shouldn't comment on such things.

i agree, odensraven. africans are beautiful people. just look at alek wek, iman and djimon hansou. why anyone w/ flawless skin and chiseled facial features would want to alter themselves is beyond me... then again, i realize that not all africans are as beautiful as the 3 afformentioned celebrities but then again, not all germans are as gorgeous as heidi klum.

Bossa_Nova 8 years ago

i'm so glad i live in brazil. nobody gives a sh!t about race, race-mixing, shades of brown, white, black, etc down here. when i see americans (and i mean ALL americans) obsessing over race, i become dumbfounded. just the fact that some reknown columnist would waste his time writing a story about what sammy sosa does to his skin and making headlines tells me that america is still way behind on the race thing.

Mel Briscoe 8 years ago

^^^ marion, i had heard that about india. what a shame. why is it not beautiful for east indians, africans (or people of that ancestory), hispanics, etc to have brown skin but it IS beatiful for people of european extraction? it seems all twisted and effed up.

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