I’ll be happy one day if I can truly say that my children are judged not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. But I think that day is a long way off. And I’m afraid I won’t live to see it.
Thursday, Southern Mississippi University made headlines. Not for their season-ending loss to the basketball powerhouse Kansas; but for the racist and very offensive chanting of some of their band members during that loss. These students – who were attending the game as representatives of Southern Mississippi University – felt they were entitled to chant “where’s your green card” at Mr. Angel Rodriguez as he was taking some free throws during the first half.
The school acted swiftly and precisely. The punishment was almost exactly what I would have done. The students have been stripped of their scholarships, are out of the pep band, and have to undergo sensitivity training. I must credit Southern Miss’ school officials for their swift reproach of these students’ behavior.
In the face of anti-immigrant harassment (misdirected as it might have been to Puerto Rican Rodriguez), voter identification laws (that disproportionately affect minorities), and questionable immigration reforms in the south, the growing tree of evidence of a reversal of racial equality and cultural tolerance in America is virtually undeniable. In this supposedly “post racial” America, what does this say about the state of race relations in this country?
Up until a few days ago, one could purchase bumper stickers referring to the President of the United States as a nigger. Of course, the purveyor of this despicable product, Paula Smith, denies all racist connotation. She claims that the President isn’t even black. She also claims that putting one of the most offensive, racially-motivated words in the English language on a bumper sticker referring to our black President is not racist. Yeah. Right.
So many people have jumped on the [non] racist, anti-Obama band wagon the last year. The fact is, much of the opposition to Obama’s presidency from its very inception has been motivated by Barack Obama’s race. We’ve heard him referred to as the “food stamp president”, we’ve heard accusations of Obama “chugging 40s” instead of doing his job, he’s criticized for “entertaining rappers,” he’s derided as having a “hip-hop BBQ” at the White House. It seems no matter what President Barack Obama does – and he does just about the same things that previous presidents did (except play a mean game of basketball) – pundits who don’t like him routinely stage their disapproval in race-tinged cultural terms. And racist sewage circles the internet drain in chain emails that even pop up out of the offices of the judicial branch.
If it’s not racism, what is it? These people like O’Reilly, Beck and Boortz know exactly what they are doing. They are well versed by now in the art of the covert racial message. One would be remiss to claim that their euphemisms are not carefully crafted and their responses – if they offer any acknowledgement whatsoever of their slander – to the predictable fallout are not premeditated. These mass double entendre serve as a call to arms – fuel for the fire for their political lynching of a honorable man.