October 8, 2009 by Marc Lamont Hill
On Monday, our nation will celebrate Columbus Day as a national holiday. Although Columbus was an immoral treasure hunter who merely stumbled upon a region that had already been â€œdiscoveredâ€ by indigenous non-white peoples, we continue to praise the vicious conquistador as a hero. In the true spirit of Columbus, I have decided to make my own list (partially tongue in cheek, of course) of overrated white people. (Yes, there are lots of overrated Black people too. Keep reading…) This list is not exhaustive, nor is it offered in any particular order:
Elvis Presley â€“ Elvis didnâ€™t write his own songs, barely played the guitar, and was a worse actor than the entire cast of Belly. Despite being a cheap facsimile of Little Richard, he is still known as the â€œKing of Rock â€˜n Roll.â€ Only in America.
Bill Clinton â€“ Despite bombing Africa and the Middle East regularly, approving the Welfare Reform Bill, the Prison Litigation Reform Act, and â€œthree strikesâ€ legislation, Black folk regularly regard Clinton as a messianic figure. He may be better than Bush, but Slick Willie was far from a savior.
Babe Ruth â€“ While there is no doubt that Babe Ruth was the most dominant player of his era, he was also the beneficiary of smaller playing fields and a segregated league. Still, Ruth, rather than Hank Aaron or Willie Mays, is the single most celebrated player in the history of the sport.
Bill Walton â€“Walton embodies hyperbole. As an announcer, Walton regularly refers to at least eight different players as the â€œbest player in the world, bar noneâ€ and regularly refers to routine turnovers as â€œthe worst play in the history of Western civilization.â€ As a player, Walton put together one of the greatest college careers in NCAA history and led Portland to a championship. Still, a career full of recurring injuries and his sixth-man role in Boston make Waltonâ€™s placement on the NBAâ€™s 50 Greatest Players list dubious at best.
Eminem â€“ Without question, Marshall Mathers is a dope MC. His first two LPs (particularly the second) will go down as classics. Still, the genius label is too quickly attached to Em at the expense of more significant old school rappers like Kool G Rap and Big Daddy Kane, as well as contemporaries like Black Thought, Kool Keith, and Common.
Tony Romo â€“ From mishandled to untimely interceptions, Romo finds new ways to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Still, the Cowboys quarterback is considered a top-tiered QB.
Justin Timberlake Â â€“ Yes, he can dance. Yes, he can sing. But is he any better than dozens of Black R&B singers? NO
Paris Hilton â€“ What does she do again?
For my next trick, Iâ€™ll make a list of overrated Black people. My top choice? Hereâ€™s a hint: it rhymes with Schmarack Chlobama
- Categories: MLH
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