Disclaimer: This article is dealing with race. It is solely the opinion of the author. I do not come speaking for all black people, just myself and anyone who may happen to think like me—be they black, white, or any other ethnicity. If you are not mature enough to comment with intelligence, and respect for yourself and others, whether you agree or not, I suggest you read no further.
I used to frequent the chat boards on Espn.com. However, I had to stop because I could find very few chatters who were willing or capable of saying anything with substance dealing with the social climate of the sports world. It seemed at some point, no matter the topic or forum, it would always end up in childish name-calling, wild accusations, and attacks on the poster—not the issue.
For some reason, I was interested in what people had to say about the recent story of Rush Limbaugh and his failed attempt at minority ownership of the St. Louis Rams. The prospect of Limbaugh becoming a part owner of the lowly Rams drew ire from players and owners alike, with Matthias Kiwanuka of the New York Giants and Colts owner Jim Irsay being some of the most vocal members of the opposition along with NFLPA union leader DeMaurice Smith. Before it was all said and done, Rev.'s Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton spoke their pieces as well.
Limbaugh was eventually dropped from the bidding party and he, in turn, spoke his piece about the matter on his radio show. Limbaugh blames Pres. Obama of all people for creating this kind of climate that will not allow him to become a minority owner.
So I checked out a few of the 4000-plus comments, and it is business as usual. They start off with "the NFL did the right thing" or "the NFL caved in," and ended up with "you're a poo-poo face" and "no, YOU'RE a poo-poo face!" Quickly, I left the site and came here.
I'll be 30 in a couple of weeks, and I've realized over time that this race card thing is the most pointless argument we can have. If you're an AmericanBlack, White, Asian, Hispanic, Arabic, or any other ethnicity—you're a racist. To use the phrase, it just comes with the territory. And because of that we need to get beyond this and find something else to use when arguing social issues.
It makes no difference whether you choose to express your feelings or hide them and hope the race conversations would evaporate into thin air. It is one of the foundations of this country and our socioeconomic philosophy that in order for this nation to thrive, the people must be pitted against each other in almost every way.
Again, we are all racist. The only difference between now and 50 years ago is we are cowards. Whites would stand up and say, "No, we don't want blacks in our schools and our restaurants. We don't want blacks to vote. We don't want them taking our jobs." Blacks would stand up against their opposition with the commitment and determination we can't even dream about. They put their lives on the line so necessary changes could be made to make America equal for all.
Not us. Not today. We hide behind name-calling and the anonymity the Web gives us, spewing out uneducated and unfounded garbage. We somehow think we have channeled the courage of Malcolm X or Strom Thurmond, typing the most ignorant ideals that we would be afraid to uphold in the wrong setting.
Back in my college days, I challenged myself to speak my social and political beliefs, all the while respecting those with whom I disagree. My beef is never with the individual, but their ideals. That's why I can't condone resorting to name-calling in debate climates.
As far as Limbaugh goes, he had every right to put his name in the draw amongst potential owners of the Rams. And in the same way, the players had just as much right to voice their opinion against it. It's a part of the democratic process. The people spoke out, their voice was heard, and the correct outcome came of it.
The opposition was made solely on Limbaugh's controversial comments. In a league whose ownership is overwhelmingly made up of white conservative men, I find it very hard to find any other reason that they would speak out so loud. They didn't say they didn't want a white conservative to own the Rams...just not that one.
How this issue can turn so quickly into a preschool challenge of put-downs shows that, in spite of what some thought the Obama election would usher, we are not in a post-racial America. And to think that one will exist in our lifetime is as silly as a war on terrorism. These ideals have existed since time and will continue long after we're dead and gone.
As sports fans, as citizens of this country, we should be able to talk about the social climate and its effect on the sports world with respect, integrity, and sound information. There's no need for childish name-calling at all.
Unless, of course, you're a Redskins fan. Then, you are a poo-poo face.
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