• August 8, 2022

Jalen Rose Calls Grant Hill An Uncle Tom For Growing Up In Two-Parent Family

My Dad forced all of my brothers and sisters to do well in school, but I hated it because of some of the other black kids in the school would call me an “Uncle Tom” behind my back because I did my work and didn’t get in trouble.

Many of the black kids who went to my high school did bad on purpose because it wasn’t cool to do well in school, if you were black. That’s why former NBA star and current ESPN NBA analyst Jalen Rose’s comments about the black players on Duke’s basketball program and Grant Hill in particular, hit home with me.

His comments were made in the Fab Five documentary which aired on ESPN this past Sunday. The Fab Five was a group of five African-American high school All-American basketball players, who all decided to enter the University of Michigan and play basketball there in the early 90’s. Chris Webber, Juwan Howard and Rose were the three most popular names of the five.

The Fab Five had a hip-hop flavor to them with their stylish haircuts. They popularized the long baggy shorts which NBA stars wear these days. Their popularity amongst young African-American college basketball followers was off the charts.

Their arch-rivals during those days was the Duke team which was coached Mike Krzyzewski and led by Christian Laettner, Bobby Hurley and the aforementioned Grant Hill. Duke was the team that the entire country seemed to love. They were clean cut, disciplined and focused.

Here’s what Rose said word for word and you can see that he had a problem with the Duke basketball team and Hill in particular.

“Schools like Duke didn’t recruit players like me,” Rose proclaims. “I felt that they only recruited black players that were Uncle Toms. … I was jealous of Grant Hill. He came from a great black family. Congratulations. Your mom went to college and was roommates with Hillary Clinton. Your dad played in the NFL as a very well-spoken and successful man. I was upset and bitter that my mom had to bust her hump for 20-plus years. I was bitter that I had a professional athlete that was my father that I didn’t know. I resented that, moreso than I resented him. I looked at it as they are who the world accepts and we are who the world hates.”

Rose voiced a sentiment that is found frequently in the black community. Many times African-American who try to live successful lives are hated and chastised by those of their own race. Rose’s comments pulled the cover off of some of the poisonous attitudes which are dooming African-American youngsters who grow up without their Dads, intentionally shun education, get in trouble with the law and go on to live their lives in poverty amongst crime and ruin.

Rose basically called Grant Hill an “Uncle Tom” because he came from a two-parent family and his parents were both successful and well-educated. For those of you who don’t know what an Uncle Tom is, it’s a derogatory name for a black person who kisses up to white people because they feel they feel inferior to them.

I understand how Rose felt when he was a young man whose father wasn’t part of his life, but he can’t stand by those feelings now. You could see that he was mad at his Dad, Jimmy Walker, who was an NBA player. Fathers, who aren’t involved with their children is a runaway epidemic in African-American communities.

I saw this face to face when my Dad would come into the locker room when I was playing in the NFL, he was treated like a star by the my African-American teammates because I talked about him and those guys were so surprised by the relationship we have with each other. He’s the person who has been the biggest influence on my life.

How could any black person in America criticize or disparage a black couple and their children because the couple got married and stayed together? I’ll tell you that the number one destructive behavior in Black America is out-of-wedlock births, which is now about 70% amongst African-Americans.

Studies have shown that the out-of-wedlock births promote poverty, crime, juvenile delinquency, drop outs, and many other community maladies. Before the studies were done the Bible said it was best to have one man and one woman have a family and stay together. A woman trying to raise kids on her own is tough and many times the kids pay a price for it.

I go to the Youth Study Center (a youth detention center) in Philadelphia two or three times a week and I talk to and counsel thousands of African-American youngsters who have no relationship with their fathers and no direction in their lives. Every week there’s another batch of youngsters who lack a decent education and have gotten involved in criminal behavior. It seems that a lot of these inner city communities are nothing but criminal factories.

Somebody explain to me what Grant Hill had to do with his parents getting an education, getting married and staying together. What does that have to do with being an Uncle Tom. Like most of the youngsters I meet who either don’t know who their Dad is or have never spent much time with him, Rose is really angry at his Dad for not being there for him, but he pointed his anger at people who have nothing to do with his predicament.

Donovan McNabb’s upbringing in a two-parent, middle class family was part of the reason he never became as popular as you would have thought in the African-American community. If a player gets in trouble with the law, like Michael Vick, it seems that the African-American community identifies with him better.

I understand this phenomenon because I see the extraordinarily high incarceration rates of young African-American males. In quite a few communities in Philadelphia going to jail for a youngster is like going away to college. It’s expected.

Checkout what Hill wrote on his website in response to Rose’s claim,

“It was a sad and somewhat pathetic turn of events, therefore, to see friends narrating this interesting documentary about their moment in time and calling me a bitch and worse, calling all black players at Duke “Uncle Toms” and, to some degree, disparaging my parents for their education, work ethic and commitment to each other and to me……..”

“In his garbled but sweeping comment that “Duke only recruits black Uncle Toms,” Jalen seems to change the usual meaning of those very vitriolic words into his own meaning, i.e., blacks from two-parent, middle class families. He leaves us all guessing exactly what he believes today……”

“I am beyond fortunate to have two parents who are still working well into their 60s. They received great educations and use them every day. My parents taught me a personal ethic I try to live by and pass on to my children. They remain committed to each other after more than 40 years and to my wife, Tamia, our children, and me. They are my role models and always will be.”

Single-parent families has become a dominant part of the inner-city African-American culture. They are now the norm rather than a rarity. Phrases like “my baby’s Mama”, “my baby’s Daddy”, are used rather than someone saying this is my wife or this is my husband. Many black kids nationwide tell their teachers that “black people don’t get married”.

The youngsters in the Youth Study Center ask me if I’ve ever done a bid, which is a stint in jail. When I tell them I haven’t they marvel. They think black men are supposed to go to jail.

Quite a few of these youngsters are raising themselves and their siblings at early ages. They don’t know who their Dad is and their mother is on crack, so they sell drugs to provide for the family.

It’s a sad situation and even sadder because there are millions of African-Americans who question the “blackness” of other African-Americans simply because they chose to get married, then stayed married and raise their children. If you’re not in jail or headed to jail or spent time in jail, you’re not a “real” brother.

If you weren’t raised in a one-parent family or are married to your wife and are raising your children, then you’re not really black. You’re probably an Uncle Tom.

Unfortunately in too many circles, a two-parent African-American family isn’t celebrated it’s disparaged. Going to school, not getting in trouble with the law is looked down upon. The drug dealers are portrayed as heroes by the rappers. The police are regarded as bad people in their raps.

It’s a cycle of poisonous mindsets that perpetrates bad behavior. Quite a few of the youngsters who enter the Youth Study Center are already parents, and many of them have more than one child. They don’t see anything wrong with it, despite the fact that they hate their fathers whom they barely know, while carrying the same behavior down to another generation.

That’s why it disgusts me to see our so called leaders criticizing anybody who is talking about sexual abstinence until you get married. Some think condoms are the answer, but why do you think a youngster is going to use a condom, when they’re irresponsible to begin with and look forward to having children at an early age. To them they see having children as being a real man.

I’m not saying I have been Mr. Pure because I haven’t but I can see what is wrong and what is right. There’s a great reason a person should stay out of that sack until marriage and that’s because of the jeopardy it puts the kids in if the Mom becomes pregnant before marriage. It doens’t take a genius to see why it would be best if these youngsters stopped jumping into bed with each other.

There’s a genocide going on with these kids having kids and perpetuating some of these problems. It’s not cool to see so many youngsters who can’t read at a fourth grade level, but already have three children. Some of them have no value for life and would think nothing of ending someone else’s life for any number of silly reasons.

These poisonous attitudes are the most destructive factors occurring in African-American communities throughout this country and they will destroy everything in their path until they are opposed and destroyed.

I believe the only real solution to these problems is for these youngsters to first of all learn their own value, then begin to value others. Somebody has to show them that they’re genuinely loved. We need let them know that somebody cares about them and that God loves and cares about them, as well.


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  • GCobb

    Numerous times in the past, you’ve asked that those who post on your website not make racism or any of its byproducts a topic of discussion. However, it seems you’ve changed your stance and are promoting that type of discussion. Am I wrong here?

  • Man, talk about a convoluted post . . . I guess my mind isn’t very sharp today.

  • Thank you, Gary, for having the courage to shine a light on some of the very serious cultural problems that seem to plague African Americans in this country. I think it’s a shame that this mindset persists, even today, among such a large percentage of the black community and that folks like yourself and Bill Cosby are often shouted down and call traitors to your race (or Uncle Toms if you prefer) for trying to foster an open and honest dialogue about it. It’s inarguable that African Americans have and continue to suffer from biogtry and racism in this country, but unless and until they as an ethnic group get their own house in order it’s going to be difficult to diffuse the stereotyping that they themselves help to persist.

  • Powerful statement Mr. Cobb.

  • G. I blame mostly the government & the libs for this problem, they made the government the father and this is the result.

  • Good work G. You can tell that you are speaking from the heart here.

    I am with you until the abstinence part. I agree that it should be presented as an option, but not in place of condoms for kids. You know as well as I do that kids are going to be sexually active. It is unrealistic to think that they are going to wait. Why not present them with all of their options?

  • Good article g and way to bring attention to one of our most important social obstacles today.Anyone who has a problem with this article needs to rethink that and look at our inner city culture.

    The gov’ment and libs dont hold a gun too daddys heads and tell them too leave there kids in the lurch.Its called step up and be a man. Its passed on by your dad. If you dont have one it means your not gonna teach that too your son..cause your not gonna be around to do so. Hence the cycle.

    I went too a mostly black and latino Wilmington High in the mid 90’s(im white)….it was frowned upon for some of the guys on the football team too wanna do well and keep outta trouble. If you werent being kicked off the team for grades or behavior by the end of the season you were an “Uncle Tom”. A sucker duck..i herb…a nerd n—-…why? Kids on my team were struggling..dealing drugs too pay for lunch…heating there house with there oven open…sleeping over my crib cause there parents beat them. Its a serious issue that needs to be dealt with .

    Jalen Rose is an a$$hole too.Never did ish in the p-offs and just like Charles Barkley uses the card too much when talking sports.

  • Amen, G.

    “I looked at it as they are who the world accepts and we are who the world hates.” – That is a lie straight from the Devil that keeps people oppressed.

    G, Steve Harvery talks about this all the time, how his/your generation is really to blame for not being fathers and stopping the cycle. Black people aren’t the only people who grow up without fathers. I’m white and grew up without a dad and it probably set me back 10 years from a maturity standpoint. I was lucky to stay out of jail. It got to a point though where I had to take accountability for my actions and stop blaming the world. I have a real heart for the fatherless because of that. It’s destroying our society but we have speak life into each other and especially these young men. Wish I was still living up in Philly, G. I’d love to go visit with some of these kids with you.

    Sometimes it’s as simple as no one EVER telling you the Truth.

  • G,

    I thank you for this insight in to young african-american men. Personally, I married an african-american women with 2 childern, they were in their early teens when we first got together. I have a child that is just now starting his teens. My 2 african-american sons are only a year apart, but much different. One of them is a Marine and the other has been in and out of youth detention centers or jail. The both had a child out of wedlock, and only the Marine is taking care of his business, married and doing well. The other has been offered a scholarship to a small catholic college to play basketball, but refuses to take the offer. I had no clue why until I read this article. I feel this might be is last opportunity for success, as he has already destroyed many other opportunities.

  • Daz, please elaborate. First, how does blaming huge groups of people contribute anything helpful? And second, how is this the liberals’ fault?

  • and as for condoms v. abstinence – the only problem is when someone argues 1 v. the other. That’s dumb. We should push kids and youngsters, and adults, to use BOTH. Teaching kids to avoid early, unappropriate pregnacies by not having sex is a good thing. Teaching them how to prevent unwise pregnancy while having sex by use of condoms is also a good thing. There shouldn’t be an argument of either/or. It should be both, so the kids who might consider abstinence and stick to it will get that ‘seed planted’ in their head (pun intended), and those who won’t, will at least know that it’s dumb not to use a condom.

    This is so typical of arguments in our society – we get caught up with taking sides, and ‘either/or’ thinking that we prevent positive change.

  • Schil, you see I worked in Gov. you might not want to hear this, but I seen it first hand. Gov. wants power and control over the people & the US Consitition is suppose to stop this, but that is not the case anymore, so you see Gov. becomes the god, and who wants more power in Gov. LIBS(Leftists) like(Castro + Hugh C.). Now let me give you an example, that I Work on. A Women called her Daughter & G. Daughter the bread winners in the family
    because they had 19 children between them, all different Fathers and the Women made $194,000 in income for 1 year off the Gov. That is how I can make that statement, and she is not the only 1. There is 1000’s of cases like this. Freedom from Gov. is the only way to solve this problem.

  • I’m pretty sure Jalen and Jimmy were expressing how they felt as 17 and 18 yr olds…not today. They weren’t justifying their feelings either, but just expressing that as a kid, which they were, that’s how things were perceived by them. It certainly didn’t help that the media pimped that meme either and still do till this day. These teenagers were getting death threats, but somehow that point has been missed by the media. Amazing.

  • daz, thanks for sharing. I think you’re saying that there are cases of people abusing or unfairly taking advantage public welfare systems designed to support vulerable women and children. Fair enough, I’m sure you are correct. But then to extrapolate that to the whole government and suggest that one (or a few) extreme examples of problematic welfare point to the single problem for poverty and race issues – that’s ridiculous.

  • Exactly Daz, and those in power cater to this to remain in power. The growing national government is the greatest threat to freedom

  • famu – exactly. But I think it could be reasonable to say that Jalen would have been better off qualifying his statement by saying ‘now it’s not fair to have anything against Grant Hill as a person, but at the time, to be honest, that’s how I(/we) felt.’ He could’ve expressed it better.

  • jakedog and daz, do you believe the conservatives want to shrink government?

  • schill, true conservatives want limited federal government, required by the constitution, which is a limiting doctrine, but through agenda, power, and largely liberalism, the constitution has been violated.

  • Great Article G……. Being African American in the mid 80’s to late 90’s was really rough for teenage youth……. Our culture was very misunderstood and people/Media/caucasian americans didnt except our way of life……. It was unheard of and was portrayed as very un american…… Tradition is one thing….. But to be excepted for who you are is another…… Being different wasn’t in back in the 80’s, and 90’s but we as african american’s had to make due with what we had…… Anger and resentment for a ton of young kids still happens today in time due to the FOOD CHAIN process that every country seems to follow……. Hatred will never end……. Spanish hate other spanish, whites hate other whites, in this case blacks hate other blacks…. We are all man and women…… We aren’t perfect and we have flaws……. GOD created us here on earth with the gift of life….. It’s our job to understand life which some of us haven’t figured out the meaning!!!!!

  • @jake dog….. I agree with your post……. I heard in VA….. That Virginia Beach passed/ or trying to pass a bicycle law that you have to get your bike registered through the DMV…….. Have a plate on the back and pay taxes to have your bike?????? LOL man say it aint so!!!!!

  • jakedog, then why do conservatives want to expand the federal government’s power to block things like gay marriage and abortion, that’s expanding governemnt, not limiting doctrine. The conservatives want to expand the governemnts spending on military. They only want to limit fed. power for what they disagree with.

  • G

    Walking the walk before talking the talk as usual. I admire what you do at the YSC and the SPCA. I sincerely respect you.

  • Why am I reading about something a 18 year old kid said 20 years ago

  • and tell me Why is Grant responding..to this ?

  • schill you’re really on to the truth here … it’s to the benefit of BOTH parties to not only expand government (and thus their own power) but also to point fingers at the other party and accuse THEM of trying to expand government! Why? Because it keeps half the country angry at the liberals and have angry at the conservatives and meanwhile our country continues spiraling right down the tubes. We’re all being suckered … be you a Democrat or a Republican. You’re footing the bill for career politicians to live a life of leisure and luxury and what’s even FUNNIER about it is that the same people will point the finger at “greedy corporate executives” getting rich off the sweat of their workers. I find that deliciously ironic from a group that’s funded how? ENTIRELY BY TAXES!!! Which are what? Say it with me … the fruit of another man’s labor. As a nation we need to stop being snake charmed by these crooks and take back control of our country.

  • have = half

  • gotta – great point, Grant Hill looks bad responding to this. He should be above that. And it sounds like he was initiating the comment as opossed to responding to a reporter’s question.

  • Both parties suck and are full of liars. Schill is right about Republicans limit what they don’t like and fund what theyfo like. The Democrats would tax toilet paper if they were given a chance, and would give away money and have a lack of rules until we were the most ineffectual and unproductive country in the world.

    Drummer Winslow, you are flabbergasted that G continues to make strong, cogent, thoughtful points. It seems to me it’s just not the racial points you like to make. Slavery damaged this country and, of course, black people specifically. It was so inhumane and extreme it created the situation that G describes:

    “Rose voiced a sentiment that is found frequently in the black community. Many times African-American who try to live successful lives are hated and chastised by those of their own race. Rose’s comments pulled the cover off of some of the poisonous attitudes which are dooming African-American youngsters who grow up without their Dads, intentionally shun education, get in trouble with the law and go on to live their lives in poverty amongst crime and ruin.Rose basically called Grant Hill an “Uncle Tom” because he came from a two-parent family and his parents were both successful and well-educated.”

    Someone needs to straighten Rose out. That is what G was doing. This kind of crap is so ugly, a behaviour so counter-productive and damaging, that G’s point was totally bold and cogent and positive. Own the American Dream! Quit the negative and become powerful and successful, financially and family-wise.

  • Slavery and racism did not create the problems Mr. Cobb is addressing. The welfare state did, the insidious indoctrination by liberals that you need government because without it you are inferior and cannot provide for yourself and your family. And it is not limited to blacks

  • jake, agreed about poverty and underprivilage not being limited to blacks.

    But, as you are suggesting that welfare caused poverty, um, why exactly do you think welfare was created? To make all the economically equal american’s uneaqual? By your logic, everyone was fine and dandy, then welfare came around and made part of the population poor. Does that sound absurd to you? (hope so)

    Welfare sure hasn’t been a perfect solution to economic and privalige discrepencies in this country, but to suggest it’s the root of economic disparity is absolutely ridiculous.

  • Fan

    Exactly what caused you to think I am flabbergasted? I merely sought clarity. Whenever I had broached these types of subjects on his site, I was dissuaded from doing so in the future.

  • Jakedog, you are wrong. Slavery destroyed black families, humiliated men, is the cause of high drug use in black communities, makes people hate and fear and distrust the “man”, etc. etc. etc. Continued racism after slavery coupled with government guilt and stupidness after slavery created the continued problems we have in America. Poverty and bad behaviors resulting from poverty is universal, but we are talking about racial issues whose root cause is slavery.

  • DW, I got the impression you were surprised, slightly annoyed, and even befuddled because you thought G had changed his policy. I didn’t agree at all. I think G is the most straightforward, sensible, “healing” force in sports radio. He can be provocative, but never ever generate bad feelings in leading a discussion. The few times G has interceded, it has been because a certain percentage of people at this site can’t have intelligent discussions about race without getting negative and sometimes hateful. That is what he has warned against. Have you ever heard anyone rip into G while he was on the radio? No, he’s too smart and straight ahead! Managing this group of fans dialogue is a major effort. Have you ever seen the ugly responses in the Daily News and Inquirer? It shows one how much prejudice, anger and hatred still exists under the surface. I see it here as well. I will withdraw my word flaggergasted and replace with “surprised.”

  • Slavery may explain continued racial tensions, distrust, but does not explain continued impoverishment, especially in light of affirmative action, civil rights act before that, and slavery poor excuse for not taking advantage of opportunities that blacks have over whites, the new minority is the middle class white male, the guy who never accepted a damn dime of welfare, took care of his children, is taxed out the wazoo to support the American idle, the nonproductive dependent on the government, but the problems Mr. Cobb is addressing, crime, abandoning your children, these problems, not exclusive to blacks, originate from failed family values, welfare, and creating a class of dependent people, keep them down on welfare, but ensure your reelection

  • jake, interesting impression. By the way, ‘the new minority’ you mention isn’t a minority, not by numbers. You’re presenting a very biased and uniformed opinion.

    You mention ‘opportunities that blacks have over whites’ talking about welfare and affirmative action. Well guess what, by the time a black person becomes an adult in our society, (when they can collect their own welfare and go to school/get jobs, THEY WERE ALREADY DISADVANTAGED THEIR WHOLE LIVES (generalizing of course). By that point, many have poor academic skills and habits, less access to healthy food, less calm at home, more likelihood for disease and health problems, higher likelihood to have partaken in or witnessed routine time, etc….. Welfare, foodstamps, affirmative action and civil rights laws help ‘balance the scales’ a bit, but if you think they have made opportunities equal or to the unfair advantage of the blacks and/or other poor, you are severely misinformed.

    Study cumulative disadvantage a bit. It might broaden your understanding of the context and help you understand how slavery really did continue to have a cumulative disadvantage on the black population. People who study this for a living, ie sociologists, psychologists, social workers, anthropologists, historians, (regardless of their political views) agree that I’m correct there.

  • JDog, you are right about the welfare state: doesn’t work. But whether one is a Democrat or a Republican, they must agree or they’re lying: IF THE POLITICIANS AND GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES STOPPED STEALING, THERE WOULD BE MONEY FOR EVERYTHING.

  • Schiller, the new minority to which I referred is the disenfranchised voice of hard work, paying taxes, healthy distrust of authority and government. They may vote, but their voice is lost to those who pander to keeping welfare people on the books, purposefully, so the politicians are reelected. Cosby spoke of this. Mr. Cobb did as well. Cumulative disadvantage? Not because of race any longer, but because of failure to take advantages of plethora of opportunities. Look at obama, look at other successful blacks who took advantage of opportunities before them.

  • fan, agree wholeheartedly, as Americans we should have a distrust of any politician who craves power, whether he/she be republican or democrat.

  • jake, guess what buddy, the democrats’ beliefs are better for the middle class than the republicans. The republicans work for the rich. Not the middle class.

    And if you think that there is an upward trend of black people and other minorities in this country, that’s because those ‘advantages and opportunities’ you speak of are working to some extent. (I’m not touting the current welfare system, I agree it needs a lot of reform). But to suggest that just because you can pick a few exceptions and notice a rising trend means that the original situation is obsolete now is wrong. It has taken a very long time for the african american community to make significant class progress, but much more still has to be done. And blaming some for ‘failure to take advantage of their opportunities’ is ignorant. You are correct if you are saying that people have to take responsibility and cannot just live off the fat of the government/welfare, but you are too far toward an extreme.

  • please give me an example of how your ‘new minority’ is disenfranchised. Look, it’s very hard to make a living in this economy, to get or keep a job, feed a family, save for retirement. For the working class, that is DEFINITELY true. Cannot be argued otherwise. And many working class white men certainly struggle and in many cases unfairly (like when they try to fend for themselves in this economic game the rich republicans set up for themselves)… but to say welfare and the minorities are at fault and/or that the cumulative/’domino’ effects of slavery are not around anymore is just silly. Silly.

  • Schiller, talk to any white working stiff who pays his bills, pays his taxes, never asks for a government handout, then compare him to the multitude of special interest recipients, white, black Hispanic, female, homo, lesbian, Muslim even, he will tell you today he is disenfranchised

  • jake, I agree with everything you said in that post – but guess what – that proves that ‘he’ FEELS disenfranchised. I’m sure ‘he’ does. And ‘he’ has the right to express that. BUT that doesn’t mean he IS disenfranchised. Disenfranchised means to either have your rights taken from you or to be denied of your rights. The person you described hasn’t been stripped or denied of his rights. Plain and simple. He may very well have a difficult life, economic struggles and several major challenges. But that doesn’t make him disenfranchised. The white man has more rights in this country than any other population. Still. Period.

  • maybe with the exception of gay white men, but I digress

  • Word G.Cobb

  • fab 5 documentary was great
    yeah duke the #1 team in the nation won the championship vs 5 freshman
    wish they could have played that game and every 1 was a freshman or every1 was a senior on both teams

    jalen “we didnt want shorts like stockton malone, we wanted shorts like mike”
    many people think fab 5 started baggy shorts
    it was mj people

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