Culture vs. Religion: In America Religion Wins

Posted: September 3, 2011 in Uncategorized


I heard an exchange this morning on ESPN radio that sparked this build. Let me lay the groundwork and you’ll ultimately see how everything ties together. The topic of discussion involved the number one pick in this year’s NFL draft, Cam Newton. He’s a black quarterback who won the heisman trophy and a BCS Championship with the University of Auburn Tigers last year. He was drafted by the Carolina Panthers, whose owner is a white man by the name of Jerry Richardson. Allegedly, during a pre-draft discussion between the two, Richardson asked Newton if he had any tattoos, to which he answered no. He then asked him if he had any body piercings and again Newton replied no. Richardson’s next statement was a directive to “Keep it that way.” As usual the sports radio show host took what he felt was the politically correct position. He prefaced his initial statement of opinion by expressing his sensitivity to the fact that black people would tend to take offense to the idea of an old southern white man telling a young black man how he should or should not adorn his body. I’ll give him the obligatory recognition for that. Additionally I understood his angle, although I didn’t agree fully. His stance was basically this. Quarterback is the most revered position in American professional sports. He’s essentially the face of the franchise and is therefore held to a higher standard than the rest of the team. As such, he should always “look the part” in order to remain perpetually marketable to virtually any demographic, thereby maximizing his, and the team’s power to earn money based on the image he projects. Again his logic is sound if viewed through a purely capitalistic “image is everything lense.” He and I diverge in that I thinkĀ  although Newton should always strive to put his best foot forward, it’s HIS foot. That being said some people will like him while others will loathe him whether there’s a loafer or a Jordan on said foot. This young man should be free to express himself and grow into his adulthood organically without having this 10% bloodsucker strivin’ to turn him into Alex P. Keaton.

Anyway, here’s where the radio show got interesting. The host, Colin Cowherd, began to take calls knowing that people were eager to weigh in on the topic. He took a call from a black man named Ignatius. The brother stated that he was an unemployed accountant looking for work and he mentioned that he has dreadlocks. He went on to say that he’s been told point blank in interviews that he wouldn’t be hired with his hair locked up. Cowherd’s comeback was that accounting is a very conservative profession so he could see how that might happen, which is a valid retort. Ignatius rebutted that Jewish men who wear Yamaka’s aren’t met with such rejection. He also stated that his wife and children all have locks just like he does because it’s a cultural expression. Cowherd replied that if dreads held the same religious significance that the Yamaka did then it would be more widely accepted. Further driving home this perception, he read an email from a white fan of the show who echoed the same sentiment. At this point we need to take a step back & draw this up so that the absurdity can take center stage. What a sad commentary on the cognitive state of America this is. Basically, a symbolic representation of a person’s systematic allegiance to a mystery God, who is not real, takes precedence over a symbolic representation of another person’s culture, which is the actual way that they choose to live their life. What a crock of shit! Culture being a way that a person lives is real because it can be observed. Regardless of the philosphy that guides it the outward manifestation of it will yield the truth about how it impacts people. Religion is different in that there are so many preconceived notions that follow it. Depending on the faith in question, people will automatically assume certain things about you based on the denomination you claim. Naturally this can be good or bad. The dangerous thing about religion is that it is a shield behind which all types of filthy affairs can be concealed based upon the reverence with which it’s treated. Also, due to the fact that it can impact culture there is a perceived overlap between the two which can be problematic. It’s not a forgone conclusion that the way a person lives will be based on their religion. As a matter of fact alot of people claim to be religious to garner social acceptance. They don’t actually practice the faith or even know very much about it aside from the fact that it has alot of members. The bottom line is that an individual living in what is supposedly the land of the free, should be able to live their life how they see fit. If they choose to have culture be the driving force vs religion then that’s their perogative and it should receive no less respect than what would be extended to a religious person. America needs to stop being so hypocritical and face the fact that it’s a melting pot in which every ingredient should be considered equal. I won’t hold my breath.



  1. Serenity says:

    Well said Supreme

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