October 20, 2005
@ 02:55 PM

A couple of recent stories in the news remind me that there still a ways to go for race relations in America.

From the story A Polling Free-Fall Among Blacks in the Washington Post

In what may turn out to be one of the biggest free-falls in the history of presidential polling, President Bush's job-approval rating among African Americans has dropped to 2 percent, according to a new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll.

The drop among blacks drove Bush's overall job approval ratings to an all-time low of 39 percent in this poll. By comparison, 45 percent of whites and 36 percent of Hispanics approve of the job Bush is doing.

Thanks to Jonathan Marsh for that link. This reminds me of a skit on the Dave Chappelle show where a game show host asks a black guy, "Why didn't black people trust Ronald Reagan?" and he responded "I didn't know we were supposed to trust him in the first place". Of course, it was the right answer.

From the story NBA's dress code blasted in the Miami Herald

The NBA has announced that a dress code will go into effect at the start of the season. Players will be required to wear business-casual attire when involved in team or league business. They can't wear visible chains, pendants or medallions over their clothes.

Jackson, who is black, said the NBA's new rule about jewelry targets young black males because chains are associated with hip-hop culture, and he said the league is afraid of becoming ''too hip-hop.'' In protest, he wore four chains to the Pacers' exhibition game against San Antonio on Tuesday.

Philadelphia's Allen Iverson also was critical of the new rule, which the NBA enacted Monday.

''I feel like if they want us to dress a certain way, they should pay for our clothes,'' he said. "It's just tough, man, knowing that all of a sudden you have to have a dress code out of nowhere.''

Boston Celtics star Paul Pierce agreed that the new rule targeted young, black players.

''When I saw the part about chains, hip hop and throwback jerseys, I think that's part of our culture,'' Pierce said. "The NBA is young black males.''

I guess it's OK for the NBA rosters to be dominated by blacks as long as they don't dress or act "too black". 

Thursday, October 20, 2005 3:41:01 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
I agree! How dare a company where the employees are the public image try to create an improve, cohesive image by insituting a dress code!

If my company ever insisted that I have to stop wearing flip-flops, board shorts and a tank top when I speak in public I would flip. That's just going against surfer culture.


The dress code is legit. The NBA is trying to create an image. If employees don't like it, they can leave. The rules are not particularly onerous nor are they abnormal for other (regular) employers. Why should NBA players be treated differently than regular employees of a large company?

Now Bush's approval rating is interesting and worthy of dicussion. But I'm not sure what the two have to do with each other. One deals, potenially, with race (Bush's approval rating), while the other deals with a company (or group of companies / league) trying to craft and convey an image.
Thursday, October 20, 2005 4:00:34 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)

Stephen Jackson of the infamous Indiana Pacer's brawl-fest made a valid point though. Its one thing to require the players to wear certain type of attire, like suits, under the assumption they are ambassdors of the game. Prohibiting specifically certain types of adornments somehow seems to target a certain community and that just doesn't feel right.
Thursday, October 20, 2005 4:05:22 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
Disney disallows certain haircuts. I believe they also disallow certain jewelry. Has anyone every taken issue with that?
Thursday, October 20, 2005 4:34:32 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
I agree with Ed, I don't see that the two are linked. The NBA dress code issue is somewhat entertaining in seeing how these guys seem totally unaware that a dress code associated mandated by a job is fairly standard.

As for targetting specific fashion accessories, I think that's just being practical. If the code just specified, "Wear a suit" and everyone took that to mean they should wear a suit, heavy jewelry, or anything else, then the folks setting up the code should have tried to address those potentially unclear points at the outset. If lots of players were carrying around human skulls, then I would expect a thoughtfully crafted dress code to address that issue, too. Yes, it's specifically targetting what certain players wear, but it's a code that's supposed to be a useful reference for them. If it was totally abstract and didn't address them specifically, it wouldn't be a useful reference.

Bush's approval rating being so low is an interesting issue which I think does warrant further conversation and investigation. I think we all need to better understand if there are significantly different specific issues that concern people of different ethnic backgrounds, and try to figure out how to do a better job representing everyone, if possible.
Thursday, October 20, 2005 4:45:48 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
I think that the key phrase here is "when involved in team or league business." They don't have to "dress up" all the time. They're free to wear whatever they please when they aren't working.

Secondly, dress codes often come about specifically to target individuals or groups that are harming the public image of the company. This is not an attack on black culture. This is a move to improve the image of the NBA. This kind of thing makes perfect sense at the moment as a few recent events have made out players as thugs. (ie Pacer's brawl mentioned above) I'm sure that it's not good for advertising revenue.
Thursday, October 20, 2005 5:49:00 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
This statement makes me laugh, too. Yes, this is a valid cost of living, so it might be valid for any one of us "normal" folks to say it. But when you're making millions? I'm just imagining what would be said if a CEO said this... :)

"Philadelphia's Allen Iverson also was critical of the new rule, which the NBA enacted Monday.

"I feel like if they want us to dress a certain way, they should pay for our clothes,'' he said. "It's just tough, man, knowing that all of a sudden you have to have a dress code out of nowhere."

And as said above, I think it's more than reasonable for the league to demand a certain image, at least when representing the league in public. My company has various restrictions on what I can and can't do because what I do reflects on the company - directly or even indirectly when I'm not overtly representing the company.

(Contrast the lawlessness in the NBA with the stricter rules in the NFL).
Thursday, October 20, 2005 6:40:34 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
In case you haven't seen it, Mark Cuban has some interesting commentary on the topic.

Thursday, October 20, 2005 10:39:22 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
From the Cuban commentary:

"its the teams that are afraid of their players that forced David Stern into creating a Dress Code for players."

This is hopelessly racialized. White America is afraid of young black males (YBMs). Add the fact that NBA players are rich, and frankly a lot of people are really threatened by their existence. This dress code thing is pretty clearly a manifestation of that latent fear of black males.
Friday, October 21, 2005 3:07:25 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
I agree with just about everything said here but I just wanted to give you one more thought here Dare, what exactly is dressing/acting "black"? I'm white, and I've been accused of "not getting it" by black friends, but it just seems to me that, if we ever want racial equality, then people can't go around identifying with their race.

I don't dress "white", I dress "Tom" and if more people thought like me there might not be a big fuss over the NBA asking players to dress nicely for press conferences.
Friday, October 21, 2005 3:10:53 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
I don't think White america is afraid of ymbs as you put it, its just that we don't understand them.
Take Allen Iverson for example, he is a an incrediable alhlete, and has an amazing compitive will, but outside of the court, I think he's a punk. I certainly would not want my kids to act like him.

Its not that I am afraid of him, I just don't have anything in common with him. I'm think he's a punk, based on my upbringing, and because of the image he tries to protray.
The league is all about marketing to people like me, so if we continue to get analiated from the alethtes, thats a very real problem. Again I don't feel threthend by the hip hop generation, but I certainly don't feel any connection to them as a fan. Right or Wrong, thats the simple truth, and it just seems to be getting worse.
Friday, October 21, 2005 4:11:34 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
I'm wondering how useful approval ratings are at this point of Bush's presidency. It's not like he's going to try to run for president again or that a low approval rate will kick him out of the office before 2008.

Friday, October 21, 2005 6:18:51 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
Didier, you don't see a problem when the president of the United States has a 2% approval rating with one of the largest ethnic minorities in the country? Really?
Friday, October 21, 2005 7:28:28 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
Chad, define "problem". What I'm saying is simple: Bush doesn't seem to care about his approval rate (at least with blacks).

Bush's approval rate with blacks has been falling for the last 9 months. I doubt he was unaware of it, yet he didn't do much about it. Why should he do something about it now?

Saturday, October 22, 2005 12:04:07 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
>Bush doesn't seem to care about his approval rate (at least with blacks).

Yeah well that's hardly breaking news (thank you Kanye West). Seeing him kick back on vacation while a bunch of blacks were starving in the Superdome was pretty clear proof.

I don't expect Bush to do much of _anything_ about it, didier. Anybody who's been paying attention the last 5 years knows that. But what does it say about the country that we'd elect this type of character? Why can't we elect someone with at least a minimal amount of decency?
Tuesday, October 25, 2005 5:49:50 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
who cares, Stern wants to appeal to his auidence and I think it is not going to do much to bring more Whites to the NBA unless there is another "LARRY BIRD" great white amerikkkan hope. Now for Young Black Males being feared by the white public and (older people of other races) I could care less as a Black Male, I would rather be "feared" THAN LIKED OR LOVED. You people fear Bin Laden, Al- Gadea to be in that company is grand.
eric daniels
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