What is going on with the sudden expressions of racism and sexism by white folks, mostly men, in media and online of late? First we have NFL Player Richie Incognito using the n-word to address his “best friend” Jonathan Martin, who’s black.
Then we have KNBR San Francisco Radio Show Host Damon Bruce going on a rant about how he doesn’t think women should be in sports broadcasting. And then New England Patriots Tight End Rob Gronkowski was caught on video saying to an Asian Pats fan “They told me he could only cook fried rice” and then Gronk called him “Leslie Chow,” the Asian character played by actor Ken Jeong in the “Hangover” movies.
And earlier this year we had Philadelphia Eagles Wide Receiver Riley Cooper use the n-word in his now famous and supposedly-drunken blast at a country music concert.
And if it’s not white men in media and sports, it’s folks like this vlogger called “VitalFinds” on YouTube, who’s under the impression that “minorities” get the lions share of scholarship funds:
And if it’s not her, then it’s this woman I met at Oakland’s Tribune Tavern and named Dolly – that’s her real name. On the two occasions I met Dolly at the bar and restaurant, she was already obviously drunk and would openly tell me her views of black people. And it was stuff that was so bad, that if I made of video of her saying them the clients in her line of work would shun her. But there she was, being loud, obnioxious and racist at the Tribune Tavern.
And if it’s not that, then it’s the guy at The Alley in Oakland who said to me, repeatedly for 20 minutes, that he’d never seen a black person before.
It caused me to make this video blog:
Why is this happening?
My theory is this: as society has become more diverse, some who are white and have not learned how to treat people who’s skin color is different or who’s sex is not the norm for what was once a traditional male role, act ignorantly, and all of their actions are magnified via social media.
These actions, and others like them, must serve as a wake-up call for America as a whole. We have to install racial sensitivity training in school, because it’s obvious this isn’t being instructed at home. This is true for everyone, and regardless of color, but the fact remains the most noted racist actions that have gained media attention have come from white men, and ranging in age from the 20s to the 60s.
In all, we all need adjusting. If it’s not black athletes who think using the n-word is OK, when it’s not, then it’s their white associates who think its cool to use the word, when it’s not. We have to hit it at the source: black rappers should have a year where they make a pact that the n-word will not be in their new music. Period.
Richard Cohen Says He’s Not Racist
Richard Cohen is the Washington Post writer who wrote these comments that set the social media and media world on fire, today:
Today’s GOP is not racist, as Harry Belafonte alleged about the tea party, but it is deeply troubled — about the expansion of government, about immigration, about secularism, about the mainstreaming of what used to be the avant-garde. People with conventional views must repress a gag reflex when considering the mayor-elect of New York — a white man married to a black woman and with two biracial children. (Should I mention that Bill de Blasio’s wife, Chirlane McCray, used to be a lesbian?) This family represents the cultural changes that have enveloped parts — but not all — of America. To cultural conservatives, this doesn’t look like their country at all.
What’s bothersome to many is that Cohen makes it read as if interracial marriage is something weird, when it’s not. His words harken back to a time when interracial marriage was still largely considered unfavorably in America – 25 years ago. Now, after calls from the Huffington Post and other publications to fire him, Cohen gets that he was acting like Rip Van Winkle.
I get what Richard was trying to say about the GOP and the Tea Party, but what tripped him up was the implication that interracial marriage was weird, which is what happens when you place it opposite “conventional” in a news column. There are so many wonderful combinations of couples today, that Richard Cohen stepped in a land mind of giant proportions, when in point of fact he was really thinking in terms of blacks and whites mixing.
If he wants to remain relevant and useful to The Washington Post, Cohen has to, well, grow up. This is true, and in slightly different ways, for Damon Bruce, Richie Ingonito, Riley Cooper, Dolly, VitalFinds on YouTube, and who ever else presents such retrograde and really threatening views against people of color.
My advice: be emphatic and love your fellow humans – it will show in what you say and what you do.