Popular gaming industry news site Gambling 911 recently featured an article by controversial contributor Thomas Somach in which he accused famed poker pro Daniel Negreanu of racism. The article centred around a blog post at Full Contact Poker in which Daniel’s aired his views on the controversial subject of race relations in America, particularly the use of certain monikers he termed “separatist”.
Somach’s article consisted mainly of text quoted verbatim from Negreanu’s blog, bookended with accusations of bigotry. The writer claims that the pro made “inane public comments about race,” although he adds little in the way of direct criticism. Daniel’s blog post had already sparked some discussion on the poker forums, but the Gambling 911 article prompted a massive increase in activity. Members of the popular forum 2+2 were particularly vocal on the subject, with many users rushing to Negreanu’s defense.
In the blog post, Daniel discusses his issues with the title of Black Entertainment Television, an American cable channel aimed at young black viewers. He stated his belief that the use of the term ‘Black’ created an unnecessary distinction between white and black people in the US. “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.”
He also addressed the use of the term ‘African-American’, claiming that it was an unnecessary and damaging over-classification. In particular, because the addition of the ancestral prefix is only common with black 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?”
Thomas Somach is a Danish writer and regular contributor to Gambling 911. This is far from his first brush with controversy; as recently as June 2009 he came under fire for a separate article on Gambling 911. After a guard at Washington’s Holocaust Museum was murdered by 88-year-old white supremacist James von Brun, Somach published an article claiming a link between von Brun and Casino Tropez. His evidence came in the form of a Casino Tropez affiliate link on von Brun’s website.
While debate continues to rage over the story and the original blog post, Negreanu has issued an official response. “As for the article the guy wrote, I think he was brilliant. He threw out a big, eye-catching title like ‘Daniel Negreanu a racist?’ and it did wonders for the site. They got lots of hits. It’s a really low class move to try and increase traffic at your site that way, but hey, it really does work.”