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Was Grantland Rice a Bigot?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Boom_70, Jun 13, 2011.

  1. derwood

    derwood Active Member

    Berlin Olympics were held in 1936.
  2. Boom_70

    Boom_70 Well-Known Member

    Can't buy that it was "the times" The big story of the '36 Olympics was Hitler standing up Jesse Owens, so certainly the media had to have some awareness of race.
  3. Look at that little monkey go!
  4. dirtybird

    dirtybird Well-Known Member

    I'm not sure if it's just that. I'd imagine most journalists don't want to call media to task more, becuase it could concern any future editors/hiring managers. Sort of like the locker room code for athletes. If you have the stones to challenge the largest sports media entity in the world, you won't have any issue becoming a headache on the local level. Perhaps that's why the most coherent criticism of SI's "College Football and Crime" enterprise piece from early March, came not from standard media or Poynter, but from a well-written blog that led it's post with an idiosyncrasy of video games.

    On another (hopefully non-thread jacking) topic, what do you think of Whitlock's podcast? I think it cuts out some of his more abrasive qualities... but after listening to the deadspin one, it feels like he doesn't do a lot of preparation for the show.
  5. Ben_Hecht

    Ben_Hecht Active Member

    Snag a few representative issues of the first couple of years of Time magazine. The broad racial
    insensitivity was stunning -- and we're not only talking about blacks.
  6. Bubbler

    Bubbler Well-Known Member

    Yeah when damn near every white American held views that would be considered racist by today's standard. Perhaps I shouldn't have said "early 1900s", but instead, "pre-WW II".

    My grandparents' generation grew up in a completely different world.

    Hell, even after WWII, racism was much more overt than it is now. Want proof? Go into your newspaper library and check out some of the ads from the 1950s, especially if you live in the south or in the lower midwest. You've got the worst kind of Stephin Fetchit iconography used to portray blacks.

    Grantland Rice's time -- the 1910s to the 1930s -- was a time when it was totally acceptable in much of America to call a black person a nigger.

    So yes, he was a man of his times. Does it makes his times right? Hell no. Does it make what he wrote embarrassing in hindsight? Hell yes.

    It's like the sportswriting version of Birth Of A Nation.

    I guess my point is I don't know why anyone would be surprised by this.
  7. Boom_70

    Boom_70 Well-Known Member

    Instead of Grantland maybe Simmons should have went with something more contemporary like "Greek" or "Campanis"
  8. derwood

    derwood Active Member

    Non-sense. Not everyone was racist at that time, FDR singed Fair Employment Act in 1941. Executive Order 8802. Progressives movement was very strong at that time.
  9. jr/shotglass

    jr/shotglass Well-Known Member

    Nothing could be truer.

    My grandmother, who lived with us, was actually afraid of black people. My mother and father were considerably less racist, but I can remember a time or two they showed tendencies. My father, especially, didn't like to see mixed couples. That always disappointed me in a good man.

    I like to think I'm much more advanced than my parents as far as appreciating differences and understanding the intricacies of race. And I know my daughter is better at it than my generation.

    It's an evolving process.
  10. Grantland wasn't Simmons' idea. The suits at ESPN thought it polled well and it wasn't a battle he wanted to fight.
  11. Boom_70

    Boom_70 Well-Known Member

    Pretty funny with all their polling, that the name they came up with could come back and bite them on the ass.

    Imagine the outcry if one of their writers referred to the NBA as "Darktown on parade".
  12. Starman

    Starman Well-Known Member

    Actually that's a pretty accurate synopsis of one of the favorite memes of the "Angry Young White Fratboy" sub-genre of sports-radio hosts, a sub-genre which makes up about 77% of the field.

    As far as Grantland Rice: he was born in 1880 in Murfreesboro, Tenn., the son of a cotton dealer and the grandson of a CSA army officer. The idea he would have exhibited progressive attitudes about race seems rather far-fetched.

    And yeah, if you look at newspaper back issues even as recently as the 1950s and 1960s, you'll do a few spit-takes.

    The rhetorical excess of Rice's prose seems ridiculous now, but he wasn't the only one who got carried away with mythological references, syrupy metaphors and bloated boilerplate verbiage. That was pretty much SOP back in those days throughout all of journalism and most American literature.
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