Poker Pro Daniel Negreanu a Racist?

Written by:
Thomas Somach
Published on:
Aug/11/2009

Professional poker player Daniel "Kid Poker" Negreanu is a genius when it comes to playing poker.

But when it comes to coherent social commentary, not so genius.

Writing on his blog this month at website Full Contact Poker (www.fullcontactpoker.com), Negreanu made some outrageous comments about the sensitive subject of race, comments that would have created a firestorm if Negreanu had any relevance outside the poker world but which have been generally ignored because he is, after all, just a poker player.

But one with a blog, so people do read it.

Writing on that blog, Negreanu said: "I was watching BET when a random thought dawned on me-how in the world did they ever get away with naming a network the Black Entertainment Network? Now, the channel caters to blacks and features black entertainers. Nothing wrong with a channel targeting a certain demographic, but is it really OK to just call it Black Entertainment Television? I watch it, I hope that's not a problem or anything.

"The thought came to me, because I wondered-what would happen if a guy from Alabama tried to create a channel and call it the White Entertainment Television network. My guess is that people would go absolutely ballistic. What is that supposed to mean anyway? A network with white entertainers catered towards white people? I just don't think that would be acceptable in the least. So why then is BET considered OK?

"The arguments include-Fox News is basically just for white people, blacks have been shut out of television for so long they deserve their own channel, CBS and the majority of networks cater mostly to white people so it's only fair and white people already do have their own channel, it's called CMT (Country Music Channel).

"The arguments don't make much of a difference to me. As I said, I watch BET and don't think there is anything at all wrong with having a channel catered towards blacks, but the name is just bad. Calling it the Urban Entertainment Television network would still be accurate, but less separatist.

"I get the double standard when it comes to the N-word, not really cool for a white dude to use that in any context really, but the BET thing, hmmm, not sure this one makes too much sense. That got me started on another one of my pet peeves, that Whoopi Goldberg and several other prominent blacks also don't seem to get. Who came up with the term African-American anyway? It's a bad idea, and besides, why would you call a Jamaican-American an African-American anyway? How does that make any sense? "I mean seriously, why do we single out blacks that way, but don't really do that with any other culture? People with Greek ancestry that are American are just American. People from England who become American are not English-Americans, they are just accepted as Americans. Why can't a black kid who was born in Chicago, with a mother from Philadelphia and a father from Queens, just be considered an American, without the need to hyphenate it with his ancestry? Why the need for added description, only when referring to blacks? "That black kid from Chicago is American. Period. What would be the reverse in that case for a white kid? Same situation, he's American, not Caucasian-American or Euro-American, just American. What do they call blacks in England? Do they call them African-Englishmen or whatever? In Canada, I'm pretty sure I've never heard the term African-Canadian. It's dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb and stupid. What would TV news anchors call a black guy from Canada? A Canadian or an African-North American?

"Both of these two separate terms are divisive and come from both sides of the fence. The term Black Entertainment Television is separatist, and calling an American, who happens to be black, an African-American paints a separatist picture. Especially because it is the only commonly used term to describe someone's race or ethnicity by incorporating not only their current nationality, but their origin. Silly.

"OK, so this blog has nothing to do with poker. If you've been following my blog over the years, you should know by now that I can be pretty opinionated and I'm not afraid to share my thoughts. I don't really think anything I've said here is all that controversial, really, it's not damning to anyone, it's just the way I see things." The landscape is littered with celebrities who've been stripped of their livelihoods because of inane public comments about race.

Jimmy "The Greek" Snyder.

Al Campanis.

Michael Richards.

And those are just some of the most celebrated cases.

Now you can add Daniel Negreanu to the list.

If anyone cares.

Thomas Somach, www.pokerhelper.com

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