ESPN.com's Page 2 has a very interesting article about the use of "the n-word" in the world of sports.
I feel like there have been several racial flaps making news in the last couple of weeks. We had Michael Richards' classic rant in LA; the Michael Irvin "his great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandma pulled one of them studs up out of the barn" comments (you can read the full text of his statements here; scroll down to item #7.); and Chiefs RB Larry Johnson saying that he feels more comfortable playing for a black coach.
I just get tired of all of the indignation and anger, you know? Unlike most white people, I deal with race every day. (More than I would like nowadays, since race is a theme in the production I'm currently doing.) It's frustrating (and interesting) listening to the various comments. My take?
- Michael Richards is an idiot. The "fork" comment he made may actually have been more disturbing to me than his use of an ethnic slur. It's not going to be easy watching Seinfeld reruns from now on.
- Michael Irvin is an idiot. He should be fired because he is an idiot. But I'm so tired of hearing the "it's-a-double-standard-if-he-were-a-white-guy-he-would-have-been-run-out-of-town" line. Let's not talk about double standards, ok? I don't think that's a conversation we want to get into. Oh yeah, and the irony of Irvin's statement? Cowboys QB Tony Romo, the man Irvin was talking about, is half-Mexican. Think "The Playmaker" would have made those comments if he had been aware of that? Again: idiot.
- I actually kind of understand where Larry Johnson is coming from, after reading his comments. Of course it's easier to take orders from someone who has been through some of the same things that you're going through. LJ isn't the most communicative of guys, though, and I think he was trying to take a shot at his previous coach - let's just say that they didn't get along. I think he could have articulated his thoughts a bit better, though.
In the ESPN article, written by LZ Granderson, I see his point. "The n-word" isn't part of my vocabulary, though I have said it (and probably will say it again) when rhyming along with my favorite rappers, on stage, and in front of a camera.
The main thing I think Granderson misses (and what many non-black people miss as well) is the intent behind the use of the word. Most of the time, if a non-black person is using the word, they are using it as an insult, trying to hurt someone. There really shouldn't be anything confusing about that. I think I brought up a lot of these points during my flap with MissFired back in April (it looks like she's taken down her site, to which I say...good riddance), but it's amazing to me how these issues never die...