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This white boy can jump, run, drag three defenders for 10 yards and rock your fantasy team roster. That's Peyton Hillis, the first white running back to 1,000 yards in 25 years, since Craig James of the New England Patriots. That's my entire lifetime of seeing just players of color blaze down the field at the position with this type of success. (Yes I know who Mike Alstott is, but he is a mere blip in the scheme of the position dominated by blacks.)
Before he broke the record, Hillis' teammates said they didn't see color and Hillis said race didn't matter. They couldn't be more wrong. Race matters. Everyone sees color. And Hillis should, too. He should own his moment in the history books.
Minorities are celebrated in record books because it is believed there were hardships they had to overcome to succeed. Really, as minorities in this country, they probably did. Who says Hillis didn't do the same? He didn't have a plethora of white running backs to idolize as a boy in Arkansas. And when he arrived on any field, coaches probably didn't look at him as a running back, likely positioning him in a more typically white role.
Unless we try to erase 100 years of history, race always will be an issue in our country. It doesn't always have to be a volatile one. In Hillis' case, we should celebrate race. Celebrating and not ignoring differences is how we come to understand this race issue that bubbles under the red, white and blue.
Hillis is a pioneer in his position and should be recognized as just that. For overcoming subliminal and institutionalized position racism with tremendous success, I salute you, Peyton Hillis.