This is going to be a tough one to write. I will be teetering on being called a racist, bigot, or whatever else. I will warn you…I’m not going to try and walk some stupid politically correct line that I think has truly corrupted and scarred this country. I really could care less what color you are and what your beliefs are. I’m going to call it like I see it. For starters, I’m a white dude, have been for 44 years. I have seen racism front and center and reverse racism just as clearly. I have been turned down jobs, business opportunities, and lost out on government jobs because I simply didn’t get an extra five points for being black, mexican, asian, or some other nationality that isn’t anglo-saxon white.
Do I care? Hell know. Life is what it is but I can say and will say this. Racism in America exists not because of a lack of tolerance, acceptance, and understanding but because the media wants you to draw the line between those that are not like you and will let you know every time someone steps over that line so you remember exactly what color you are.
Think about this. How many friends do you have that are not the same race as you? Do you “tolerate” them because they don’t share your ethnicity or are you genuinely friends with them? This country will have you believe that if you even remotely try and differentiate between the two than you possess the knowledge that race exists and your “toleration” is and of itself racist.
The case of Jonathan Martin and Richie Incognito exemplify this backward thinking. We can’t escape it. I have said before on this subject it’s part of our pop-culture. Rappers use the “N” word all the time. It’s in their music not as a derogatory remark but as almost an affectionate term for a really good friend. Blacks I know throw it around sometimes like it’s nothing but a word. All depending on the context of how it was used. I’m no Paula Dean but I have used the word and if you don’t like it, shove it. I didn’t say it to you and I never would. But I have called a very good friend that and vice versa I have been called “Saltine” “Cracker” “White Bread” and whatnot. It doesn’t have the same history as the “N” word but it’s still racist. And guess what…from him…I’m cool with it. Actually makes me laugh when he can come up with one I hadn’t heard before.
He and I haven’t spoken in years and that’s only due to time, family, and long distance. If I saw him today you can bet he and I would embrace with some form of vulgar greeting. It’s just how we are. It’s a smack in the face of being PC because we both find it to be a joke. I have heard others call him that name out of anger and even bigotry and he and I both took a higher road to walk away. The issue with American society is that we won’t let racism die.
We all know it’s there. We are all aware of it but the media is so quick to point it out every time it occurs that it reminds us of our own shortcomings. It makes white people embarrassed and apologetic for no reason. It makes black people feel the same way. This case of Martin Vs. Incognito is an unknown. Martin isn’t talking and all we know is that Incognito threw out a racial slur and Martin left the team but we also think we know that Martin isn’t the one who made the racial epithet public. If that is to be true despite our engrained education to the contrary can two people who are very close friends not be allowed to call each other whatever the hell they want? IF, again the stories of Martin and Incognito are true.
There is no question that in friendships there are guidelines. You don’t take the other dude’s girlfriend or wife and you know your own boundary limits of what is allowed, accepted, and what is not. I would never have called my friend, “my-n—” without knowing that he knew there was genuinely no disrespect intended on any level. Which is why I let him volley the first racial shots. I’m fine with whatever anyone calls me. I have never been a slave and I have never been forced to live my life differently from others.
To me it’s simple. If our nation is so backwards that we can’t allow people to simply be people and not make everything about race then we have serious issues that go far beyond racism. Think about this. The Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor and WWI and II were started by the Germans. Yet in society we can stand and work next to someone who fought on any side and that’s o.k. We have forgiven and moved on. Why? Because it’s not news anymore and we see the equality of both sides. Yet we can’t see that between races here in America? Outside this country in almost all other countries the racial divide between black and white is non-existent. In Europe it doesn’t exist..not doesn’t co-exist, it doesn’t exist. Let us not bring the “slave” equation into this because it was the European slave trade that brought slaves from Africa. So why isn’t it prevalent there?
Because they don’t let it be. It’s not tolerance or acceptance it just is. Black, white, whatever. It’s a non-story over there so there is nothing for the media to get worked up on.
The media has descended on Miami this past week and a half. They have called the incidents bullying yet who got bullied? Martin for paying 15K for a trip he committed to and bailed on after it was paid for? Where was Martin pushed around? Where was he ganged up on? The lunchroom prank? Surely there was more and regardless why did he after leaving the team text Richie Incognito to congratulate him on the game? Why did he reach out to Incognito at all?
Because Incognito called him a “half-” seven months ago? Sorry, I don’t buy it. Someone else is pushing the buttons on Martin’s back. Someone else not only finds what Martin and Incognito texted offensive but also felt they had no right to feel free enough to talk to each other in such ways. The racial slur used by Incognito was and is a black mark on the Dolphins. A reflection on the coach, GM, and owner and to the locker room itself where it seems to be far less of an issue than to anyone else. What though would have happened if it was reported once and then let go?
Would the story have died? Would there be an outrage from blacks and whites together outside the training center? No. There would have been one simple outcome. People would have formulated an opinion of Richie Incognito on their own and the story would have been why Martin left. The point is this, the media doesn’t want to end the racial angle because they know it will make you opinionated and angry. Or it will force some hack like me to write this 2300 word count drivel.
This is of course all contingent on the “real” reasons to come out or more specifically what really happened. Still what I can’t get over and refuse to apologize for is the racial slur that Incognito threw out. It and it alone is what dominates the conversation from media outlet to media outlet. Each time the inference is made it’s a reminder that we as Americans are not allowed to move beyond hate and actually just be a race of Americans. There will always be racism from someone. It’s the uneducated that fall onto that sword and it will always be the ignorance of those that feed the media’s attention to it to allow it once again to be thrust back into our faces.
History teaches us lessons and to be honest I sometimes wonder if the months we have dedicated to black history and hispanic heritage don’t do more to influence modern day diversity. Is it not more racist to segregate the historical contributions and sacrifices of our countrymen into one month as opposed to an entire year? How do I explain that to my child? See as adults who grew from different times can’t see how our blasting of everyone and anyone who makes a stupid remark into a poster child for racism actually affects our culture.
Our children are raised or should be raised to not see a difference in color but only culture. Yet a child who looks upon another child as Chris, Jeff, Jason, or Aubrey is taught to view them as light or dark. Not because they are black or white but because it’s the only way to describe them to someone else. ”Which on is Jason?” ”The dark skinned friend of mine”. It’s those children that will shape the future of our world and those are the children who will not understand what racism is…or at least they never should. Yet we as a society want to remind every single person that it exists when the opportunity presents itself. Why? Because it insights hatred and rage. It calls for action and discussion and unfortunately as we all know, bad news, ugly news, and death tolls sell. Good news get’s you, “nice article” from one guy while everyone else reads the garbage on the most recent road rage accident.
Human nature at it’s best.
For me I’m not upset, discouraged, or remotely embarrassed by or for Richie Incognito. If he and Jonathan Martin’s relationship was that close that the two of them had no issues than that is between those two men and those two alone. Just as I have no right to infer upon you my beliefs between what you say or do with your friends. If Incognito was being mean, hateful, and a racist then that two is not on my shoulders it’s on him for being ignorant. I’m sorry the pieces here to this puzzle simply don’t fit. Perhaps that’s because the edges are not together yet but the muddled middle doesn’t seem to be from the same box.
When I look back at this world and the racial slurs that have gone public only those by John Rocker years ago seem to ring racist rage to me. Ignorance took a big dip with that dude. I may be wrong here with Incognito and Marin and it very well may become a puzzle that shows images of mental abuse across the locker room and a work environment that no person should endure but these are men that see each other naked every day…do you honestly think that jokes, ridicule, and whatever else isn’t going to take place? I’m sure far crueler things have been said.
The main issue in all of this, for me, is the media’s desire to not allow it to run it’s course. The only interest in learning the truth is being the first to report it and that urge is so strong that reporters will throw out whatever they can in the hopes of being right. There is no need to retract a bad story. No concern over who’s job it may cost. Who’s life it will effect and to what degree. It’s in their best interest and theirs alone. Why? Because it sells. And if they are wrong? They can’t be because when they are there is the race card to fall back on. And they do…every chance they get.
I’ve been a paramedic for 14 years and have never been afforded the option of being a racist. I’ve worked in urban cities and suburban wonderlands and you know what? Every single person I have ever met, health or sick, black or red, white or yellow, rich or poor all bleed red.
Is there a lesson to all this Martin/Incognito stuff? No. Nothing is going to be gained by it any more than anything will be learned. When it is over and the months give way to a year this topic will be dead until the next time a racial slur is muttered and you can bet the media will be there front and center to remind you of your skin color and then tell you what side of the fence you should be standing on. See it’s not o.k. to support Richie Incognito because he is white and called another man a racial name…regardless of what friendship they may or may not have had. The point is you don’t get to decide for yourself who is right or who is wrong. They want to decide for you and tell you.
Racism can not die until we as a society let it die. Completely. And that always costs someone else an opportunity to expose us to it once again after it laid sleeping. There is racism in this world and while we don’t need to be oblivious to it, we don’t need to be reminded every second of every day over and over again. We all know what is right and what is wrong and we decide that for ourselves no matter how ignorant some of us may be.
Just in case though,
Greg…I am sorry for ever calling you a racial name.
Your good friend,