Martin and his family may be what politicians and teachers say is the American ideal, but the actual rewards -- the acting jobs, the record deals, the social acceptance, the money -- largely go to the African-Americans who exemplify the N-word, who embrace the suffocating, limiting image of male blackness. The decision to perpetuate this image isn't made solely by the black community but by the white suits who decided long ago how the part is supposed to look and what black behavior they will compensate; think of that LeBron cover again. Corporations seem to doubt the authenticity and marketability of black men who live outside the primal construct.
This represents the ultimate victory of racism: the belief that exists among both whites and blacks that being educated, being articulate, having manners, is the sole province of being white. It is why Jonathan Martin appears so foreign, so threatening, to his teammates, and why a nothing like Richie Incognito makes them feel right at home.
Howard Bryant on how powerfully the stereotype of the angry and primal black man persists, aided by an entertainment industry that packages and resells it.