I haven't finished watching the Fab Five doc, but it's really sad that Rose's Uncle Tom comment is overshadowing the piece. What I saw was excellent. But more to the point, I didn't think Rose's point was that Grant Hill was--objectively--an Uncle Tom. The point was that as a 19-year old kid, who had significant anger toward his own father, significant anger about growing up poor, he saw Grant Hill as a Tom and the Duke program as targeting Toms.
That's very different than making an actual, literal case that, say,
Hubert Davis or
Elton Brand are Uncle Toms. Rose is dismissive of Christian Laettner, but he actually says he only felt that way, "until I got on the floor with him." I'm not sure why that's wrong. I could fill a blog post about the objectionable thoughts I had at 19. It almost gives the thing too much credit to say people are "taking it out of context." From what I can tell, folks heard "Duke" and "Uncle Tom" and then stopped listening.
I can't wait to watch the whole thing.
UPDATE: My apologies for defaming Hubert Davis. Being an ACC dude, I should have remembered he was a Tar Heel.
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is a national correspondent for The Atlantic
, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of The Beautiful Struggle
, Between the World and Me,
and We Were Eight Years in Power