Jason Whitlock is fearless about being anti-Black
OPINION: Whitlock does the same job as Candace Owens, but he's just not very good at it.
Editor’s note: The following article is an op-ed, and the views expressed are the author’s own. Read more opinions on theGrio.
Sometimes I wish I had the soullessness to be a right-wing media star like Jason Whitlock. People like him make a lot of money selling out Black people, and they don’t have to work hard. People like Whitlock don’t have to read or study or even think deeply. There’s no need to follow logic or know historical reality. The world is whatever you feel like you want it to be to make your argument.
Whitlock is a longtime sports reporter turned professional Black friend of the far right wing. Whitlock is an enemy of Black people: “Wherever there’s a white man being accused of using racial slurs, Whitlock is there sporting his favorite cape and ready to leap tall cylinders of white tears in a single bound in order to shield a Caucasian from an onslaught of anti-bigot bullets.”
And he’s not one to let facts get in his way. Once Whitlock said this on his show: “I don’t have the stats, this is speculation on my part, but I would bet that Black people in America index at a higher level than the rest of the country, in terms of calling the police. The people we’re allegedly terrified of and live in fear of. We call them at a higher rate — in my opinion [which is] speculation. I’m sure they’ll have stats that will back me up.”
So he’s admitting that he does not have statistics to back up his claim, he concedes that he has not done his homework, yet he’s going to plow ahead with his claim, asserting that surely data exists that will back him up; no need to actually look at it, and once he’s done that, he’s free to make an assumption that’s meant to delegitimize the movement against police violence toward Black people. It’s so amazingly irresponsible and anti-intellectual.
Is Candace Owens for real?
Also, his claim is actually difficult to check. First, many people who call the police to report a crime don’t give their information so we can never really know the demographics of people who call. Second, after considerable Googling, all I could find on the issue is a 2011 Department of Justice report on Requests for Police Assistance. This study found, “No statistical difference was observed between the percentage of white (9%) and black (7%) persons reporting a crime or neighborhood disturbance to police in 2011.” I don’t have any stats on recent years, but I’m absolutely certain that if I had them, they would back me up. That’s how you do it, am I right, Whitlock?
Whitlock gets paid to repeat the right wing’s dogma whether or not it’s true. It’s a solid gig. It’s dangerous to Black people and helpful to white supremacy to have a Black villain like Jason Whitlock running around blaming Black people for everything and denying racism whenever he can but, as I said, it’s a solid gig. He’s not going to get fired — he’s there because they want him to say things that would get other people canceled.
Whitlock once said that if he was the owner of an NFL team, he would “think twice, three times, four times, five times before drafting a Black quarterback because of what the media will do.” What? “When it comes to a Black quarterback,” he said, “if you don’t meet his every whim and demand, you run the risk of being called a ‘racist,’ and I wouldn’t want that hassle if I’m an NFL owner … I would just avoid the hassle of it and go find me a white one so that if I want to mistreat him, I can mistreat him. If I want to treat him well, I can treat him well. You don’t have that freedom [with a Black quarterback].”
Once again, we see Whitlock giving white people the freedom to be racist because, hey, if a Black person says it then it can’t be racist, right? No. Whitlock says all the crazy things. Recently, he went on Tucker Carlson’s show to suggest that conservative states should secede from the union because they just can’t live in a world with transgender people and their allies. “Finding common ground is impossible with people who think men can become women.”
Whitlock, like Candace Owens, repeats crazy right-wing buzzwords — Jill Biden wants to groom Caitlin Clark for the Dems. He also says things meant to put white people at ease. After Tyre Nichols died at the hands of the police, Whitlock said it happened because we have too many single Black mothers. It’s really helpful to have a Black face saying racist things because it can make those things suddenly seem not racist. But where Owens is a star, Whitlock is a lower-rung member of the right-wing ecosphere hierarchy. If the right was the NBA, Owens would be on the All-star team while Whitlock would not be a starter.
The name of the game is attracting attention, and Owens is much better at that than Whitlock. She’s able to come up with wilder ideas than him, and she’s more telegenic than him and, most importantly, she’s better at stoking outrage. That’s the key for right-wing media people — you have to make the audience outraged. If you can do that, you can be a star. When Owens looks into the camera and furrows her little brow, you can tell she’s a bubbling cauldron of rage who just does not understand how the left could be so stupid. Whitlock is far less intense. He doesn’t inspire outrage; he’s more world-weary. Where Owens makes her lines sound fresh, Whitlock seems like an old actor who’s grown tired of saying the same old lines but he’ll say them again if he must. Where Owens has the energy of a self-confident female rapper, Whitlock is giving tired, old blues guitarist who can’t wait to get back to the hotel. Or maybe he’s more like a hostage who’s doing video and saying what he’s forced to say by his captors but his heart isn’t really in it because he doesn’t really think he’ll ever get released.
Owens is a better broadcaster and she’s a go-getter. While Whitlock was sitting in a studio, she was out in the streets making a whole propaganda doc about George Floyd that I will not name or link to. The point is, Whitlock isn’t even one of the best Black right-wing media maniacs. He may be a butler for white supremacy, but he’s a forgettable one.
When I was growing up, Mom used to say you can be whatever you want to be but whatever you do, make sure you’re the best. I don’t know if Whitlock ever got that speech from his mom, but he did not grow up to become one of the best at whatever it is he does. I could do Whitlock’s job; anyone could. Owens, as a performer, is uniquely talented. Whitlock is not. As long as you can emotionally stomach the pain of being a soldier for white supremacy and a pawn for anti-Blackness, you can do his job. It doesn’t require any reading or studying or even deep thought beyond looking at a news event and asking yourself: what would white people most want me to say?
Touré is a host and Creative Director at theGrio. He is the host of the podcast “Toure Show” and the podcast docuseries “Who Was Prince?” He is also the author of seven books including the Prince biography Nothing Compares 2 U and the ebook The Ivy League Counterfeiter. Look out for his upcoming podcast Being Black In the 80s.
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