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Jalen Rose’s recent comments that he thought that Grant Hill, and other black athletes that went to Duke, were Uncle Tom’s has caused quite a controversy in the sports world. It has also generated a discussion in America about race, racism, and what it means to be black.

 According to Rose, blacks that are raised by successful and affluent parents do not share the same blackness as those from inner-cities. There is no doubt that the experiences of Jalen Rose and Grant Hill have been extremely different. However, Rose’s comments are dangerous to the black community he comes from. Instead of criticizing Hill’s upbringing as being non-black, he should celebrate the fact that Hill’s family was able to succeed in America.

 Too often, being poor is seen as a necessity to being viewed as a legitimate black person. This is a terrible situation. Blacks should rejoice when a member of their community works hard to find success. Instead, success is often greeted with insults and accusations that the person is forgetting where he came from and conforming to white society. Blacks should not have to choose between being successful or maintaining their identity. Success should be a welcomed part of their identity.

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