From the moment that the ‘good folks’ at the University of Texas (UT) settled, and yes I do mean settled, for Charlie Strong as their new head football coach I knew that he was doomed.
Actually, when I heard that Strong accepted the UT job, I openly questioned what in the world could he have been thinking? There was no conceivable way that Charlie Strong should have left the University of Louisville in favor of becoming the head football coach at the University of Texas; the only way that such a move made any sense was that maybe, just maybe, Strong was oblivious to the racial realities that governed the great state of Texas. There is a popular saying that says, “everything is bigger in Texas”; and after living in this state for over a decade, I must agree that this state’s unofficial mantra has to be ‘either go big or go home’. Unfortunately for those blacks seeking association with whites, such extremism applies to racial matters within the great state of Texas. I privately hoped that prior to signing his Faustian deal, someone who had Charlie Strong’s best interests at heart would kindly remind him that Austin, with all of its liberal elements, was still located within “the great state of Texas.”
As stated above, things were bound to be particularly funky for Strong at UT when one considers that he was not even on the ‘short list’ of candidates that tremendously influential alumni and boosters felt capable of addressing the Herculean task of reconstructing the University of Texas Longhorn football program that Mack Brown had run into the ground.
There is no clearer sign that the most powerful elements of the University of Texas community were greatly disappointed with Strong’s selection than the vitriolic rhetoric hurled at the new hire by longtime Longhorn booster Red McCombs. McCombs referred to Strong’s hire as a “kick in the face” to boosters such as himself by UT administrators.
According to McCombs, the former owner of the San Antonio Spurs, Denver Nuggets, Minnesota Vikings and co-founder of Clear Channel Communications, “I think the whole thing (the hiring of Charlie Strong) is a bit sideways. I don’t have any doubt that Charlie is a fine coach. I think he would make a great position coach, maybe a coordinator. But I don’t believe [he belongs at] what should be one of the three most powerful university programs in the world right now at UT-Austin.”
Unfortunately for Charlie Strong, he failed to understand that the duties associated with being the University of Texas head football coach extended further than the gridiron. The UT position, like most prestigious athletic positions, is akin to an ambassador position that requires socializing with and winning over wealthy boosters and alumni who under other circumstances would have little, if anything, to do with African-Americans or the issues facing the young Black males who serve at their behest on the gridiron. Put simply, such individuals have carefully crafted lives and social circles that by design do not include African-Americans. It is for such reasons that racially conscious African-Americans realized that it was only a matter of time before trouble and turmoil found Strong in Austin. Sadly, Black America has seen this scenario unfold in a host of arenas.
There is an unspoken truth among African-Americans that is rarely discussed in the presence of “mixed-company” that goes like this, success and longevity for African-Americans at an institution such as the University of Texas or even a mundane job hinges less upon their ability to fulfill the job duties and more upon their ability to fit within the dominant work culture.
Although it is rarely commented upon in public, conforming to and accepting the denigration that naturally flows from a socially offensive and outrageously discriminatory dominant culture is the path that African-American professionals must travel if they have any real aspirations to “get ahead” in America.
Unfortunately for African-Americans, their foolish decision to focus exclusively on integration and not pursue entrepreneurial endeavors at every turn has left them largely beggars, if not parasitic, in regards to employment opportunities from an often hostile white community that consistently verbalizes its unwillingness to share economic resources.
Nevertheless, whites hostility toward a figure such as Charlie Strong or any other African-American working in their midst rarely results in the vanquishing of Negroes from their presence. In many ways it appears that Negroes are more committed to working for, spending their money with, living among, and forcing themselves into white social circles than they are at either providing a future for future generations of Black America or healing themselves from the damages that result from their interactions with an overtly hostile white America.
In the end, I guess it is to be expected that Strong, and millions of others, will continue their dastardly fight to maintain their close, yet not quite intimate, association with an overtly hostile white community, it is what Negroes do after all.
What is most saddening of all is that I really do not think that Negroes such as Charlie Strong know any better; and I tell you, it is late in the game to be that damn stupid or naïve.
© Manhood, Race, and Culture, 2016.