Friday, December 01, 2006

New at PV: all we do is discuss racially-charged comments

OK, that's not true. But given that I've written 5 posts about Michael Irvin, commented on Michael Richards, and have been called bigoted toward southerners, I should mention Larry Johnson's remarks.

You can read about what Johnson said at PFT. Johnson implies that he has a tougher time relating to white coaches than to black coaches. Here is where I can say that a disturbing double-standard exists. If a white player said he had trouble relating to a black coach BECAUSE he was black, he would be lampooned as a racist.

But guess what? So far, Larry Johnson seems to be getting lampooned as a racist. Since Johnson is paid for his athletic abilities and not his words and ideas, there is nobody calling for firing or suspension. But I've been hearing criticism of Johnson. Flipping around the radio dial this morning, I heard one group (I think it was a FOX radio team) really laying into Johnson for it, and most callers were also laying into him for it. As Jason Whitlock describes it, Johnson's comments received immmediate criticism from Bob Costas and Dan Marino.

Pro Football Talk writes,

"We suppose it's just another situation in which racial biases and preferences are prohibited when demonstrated by members of the "majority" race and accepted when stated by members of the "minority.""

Such biases and preferences are not prohibited for anybody (though there are usually consequences for expressing them), and they are not being accepted right now when stated by a member of the minority. Johnson is getting criticized for what he said.

I'm willing to accept PFT's next statement, to a point:

"But if we're striving as a society for equality, doesn't a double-standard regarding acceptable words and beliefs provide an inherent impediment to that goal?

If and when this society is ever to be truly equal, there will be true equality -- both as to the perks, and as to the punishments."

I agree. But in striving for a society of equality, we need to have freedom to discuss issues of inequality. I believe that for that discussion to be open, members of the minority may need more freedom to discuss issues of inequality than members of the majority. Open expression and discussion of ideas is the best way to improve anything. If Johnson honestly feels this way, he should express that so that we can actually discuss and adress what people feel. And if you want to criticize Johnson for the ideas he expresses, you are completely free to do so and it appears that many people are.

1 comment:

  1. Johnson did say that he often disregarded Vermeil, however I wonder if he disregarded him because he was white or because Vermeil told him to take off his diapers.

    I really dont see racism in Johnson's statements. It was a question of identifying with and relating to. So Johnson said it is easier to relate to Herm Edwards because he can understand how his life is. He is correct. I can relate to a white, small-town, protestant better than I can relate to an urban, protestant, african-american who lived in poverty. Does that mean that I am racist? No, it just means that in terms of relating to and identifying with it is easier for me to understand the former's life situation.