At this stage there has been basically no stone left unturned when it comes to New York Knicks rookie sensation Jeremy Lin. As each shot hit nothing-but-net in his incredible 38 point destruction job on the Lakers a couple of weeks ago, his burgeoning stardom went ballistic. It broke a hole in the stratosphere. The carpet bombing campaign of rushed articles that followed almost broke the Internet. We know everything. He came from Harvard, nobody in the NBA wanted him initially, he likes ice cream, puppies and is possibly more religious than Timmy Tebow. If the tidal wave of good-will articles written are to be believed, Mr. Lin would appear to be a talk-you-down-off-the-ledge kind of chap.
As the swirling tornado of his fame faded slightly with a couple of pedestrian outings, things took a dramatic turn with two events. ESPN published a disgraceful headline with a serious racial slur in the form of a schoolyard play on words, while a Fox journalist made even dirtier, more disgraceful references on Twitter.
Jason Whitlock of FOX sent out a couple of subsequently deleted Twitter messages that were nothing short of shocking. They alluded to race and sexuality, and put it this way, if they had been written about a Caucasian or an African American, Mr. Whitlock would probably be in jail.
The response was, well, meh. The response was relatively loud. It wasn’t a nuclear storm of rebuke and anger, as it should have been. It was, in a word, meh. ESPN fired a no-name (in that they didn’t name him or her) headline writer. The Fox journalist, who doesn’t even deserve to be named, is still in a job (no, seriously, he is) and the world went on turning. Apart from a couple of articles saying ‘Hey maybe we should have another look at this whole racism thing’, we would appear to have stood-down to normal alert levels.
The bottom line would appear to be that for certain groups in the United States, you may not even suggest a hint of a thought of the beginnings of a suggestion of a racial slur. For some, you can do it, get your wrists slapped, but ultimately get away with it. For other, hey, knock yourself out, and here’s a shovel!
Let’s break it down like a fraction
- Group A: The untouchables – Caucasians (rare as it is) and African Americans. There is no wiggle room here. Instant metaphorical death for the career of anyone who comes close to even touching a racial slur against these two groups.
- Group B: The Whitney Houstons (It’s not right, but it’s OK) – Asians, Asian Americans, Japanese and natives of Pacific or Caribbean Islands. Joke about this group, and whilst people will show some indignation, you will probably be OK. If you are Jason Whitlock or other FOX journalists, you can make a seriously offensive joke about anyone in this group and get to keep your job.
- Group C: The Knock yourself outs – Your American Indians, your Irish, your Italians. Anything Aborigine or Native basically, most minority ethnic groups. Knock yourself out. Fair game. The racial slurs and stereotypes against these types are freely evident in modern American sports. The mascots, the nicknames and even the logos. Leprechauns are offensive to most Irish people. Lumping all Italians in with the Mafia is wildly racist but widely accepted. Let’s not even get started on American Indians. Apparently mass genocide wasn’t enough.
One final little addition to the Group C section. If you take a step back and think about it for a second, how completely insane is it that we have a team called ‘The Washington Redskins’. It is so mind numbingly stupid and racist that it appears to have slipped past the censors. Imagine for a second a team called ‘The Seattle Yellowskins’. Stunningly racist, and completely unacceptable, right? Well, if that wouldn’t be socially acceptable, how come we have a team called the Redskins, and no one gives a single damn about it?
You could go on all night. Imagine the ‘Brookyln Blackskins’. It is almost scary to even type it, as a team with that name would basically start riots up and down the United States of America.
Well why aren’t we all up in arms about the Redskins?
It is disgusting, racist and needs to go away.
Like Jason Whitlock.
It needs to go away yesterday.