ESPN has a thoughtful essay from Touré today about Michael Vick and race, touching on the popular question of whether Michael Vick would be as villified if he were white quarterback:
Would a white football player have gotten nearly two years in prison for what Vick did to dogs?It's a great read (although we take issue with the conclusion that Michael Vick is "heroic") and one that's been screwed by ESPN's editors. Because they were the people who decided the best way to package the story was to give it a headline the piece itself thinks is stupid ("What if Michael Vick were white?") and place it beneath a bizarre image of a "White Michael Vick" that, even putting aside issues of whiteface, is incredibly unsettling. It's like an Uncanny Valley of whiteness: No one is that pale! No one's eyes look like that!
This question makes me cringe. It is so facile, naive, shortsighted and flawed that it is meaningless.
[...] The problem with the "switch the subject's race to determine if it's racism" test runs much deeper than that. It fails to take into account that switching someone's race changes his entire existence. In making Vick white, you have him born to different parents. That alone sets his life trajectory in an entirely different direction. Thus when this hypothetical white Michael Vick ... wait, I can't even continue that sentence in good faith. I mean, who would this white Vick be? [...] If Vick had been born to white parents, you wouldn't even be reading this right now.
Toure himself is unhappy with the image, as is nearly everyone else! What do you think? Also, leave your best guesses as to what "White Michael Vick" looks like in the comments. So far, we're going with "Robot sent from Mars to unsuccessfully infiltrate American culture," though we will also accept "CGI representation of the average Wal-Mart customer."