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The Case for Black With a Capital B

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Basic Black Live: Uncle Tom in the 21st Century

(Originally broadcast on March 25, 2011) 
Our topic this week: black “authenticity.” Grant Hill of the Phoenix Suns wrote an op-ed piece in the New York Times in response to Jalen Rose, who accused him of being an Uncle Tom when Hill played for the basketball team at Duke University. Hill came from a solid middle-class background compared to the deprivation Rose experienced as a child. This episode sparked a heated debate all across the internet; but in a deeper and more important sense, it also touched upon a familiar theme in African American life in regards to the question – what does it mean to be authentically black? And how do class distinctions contribute to the notion of black authenticity?

Our panel this week: Callie Crossley, host of The Callie Crossley Show, 89.7 WGBH Radio; Emmett Price III, chair of the African American Studies Department, Northeastern University; Kim McLarin, assistant professor of writing, literature and publishing, Emerson College; and Phillip Martin, senior investigative reporter, 89.7 WGBH Radio.