Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Let's Just Have Cage Matches

This has been one heck of a couple of weeks. Anger management should be the order of the day. Tea Party participants calling for Obama's death-among other things; Congressman Joe Wilson calling the President a liar; Serena Williams cussing out a linesperson after a bad call during a tense tennis match at the U.S. Open; Roger Federer the number one ranked tennis player, and possibly the best of the modern era, also cussing out a tennis official during the same U.S. Open. What the hell is going on?

Have we all become so intolerant that anger is the order of the day? On top of this, the call of "racism" for the slightest indiscretion or slight is the word "du jour". Everybody is getting in on the act, including former President Jimmy Carter, who characterizes Congressman Wilson's outburst as promoting racism against President Obama.

Serena's punishment for her outburst was severe, and to his credit, Papa Williams didn't play the race card. But I wonder if Roger Federer was punished for his outburst?

Look, I think that Congressman Wilson's actions were incredibly stupid and childish to be sure, but to call them racist? Well, that might be a stretch. I don't think every thoughtless, stupid verbal act committed by white folks against people of color, or vise versa, is racist. Sometimes people are just, well....stupid.

But having said that, it is also naive to think that racism does not exist in this country and that, in some corners, it doesn't play a part in certain decisions or reactions to events. Just because you don't verbally call someone a nigger, spic, kike, cracker, slant-eye or whatever racial slur you choose, doesn't mean you don't think that they are that slur.

We all need to take a time out and tone down this anger and hateful expression of speech. We have got to find a way to agree to disagree without using race as an excuse, or race baiting to achieve desired goals.

But perhaps that is too much of a Utopian concept. Maybe Rodney King's plea, "can't we all just get along?", is really a thing of fantasy.

I sincerely hope not, because remember, the behaviors and models of conduct we exhibit now, are what our children will use as guides for their own future attitudes and behavior. Is that the kind of legacy we wish to leave them? I for one - don't.


  1. a) Roger Federer was fined something like $1,500 for the snapping at the chair umpire. Not like he felt it, but still, a consequence. One less bottle of nice champagne for his outburst.

    b) re. crying racism when it may not necessarily apply - I am reading this book and so far I think it's pretty good. It was a JHU Book Club recommendation.

  2. This is the first time I've read your blog. Like what I read!