21 January 2010

All White Hoops : The New Public Racism

Image from The Portland Mercury.

Racists coming out of the closet:
Whites only basketball league
'Would you want to go to the game and worry about a player flipping you off or attacking you in the stands or grabbing their crotch?' -- Don "Moose" Lewis, All-American Basketball Alliance
By Ted McLaughlin / The Rag Blog / January 21, 2010

When Barack Obama was elected president of the United States, there were many people (including myself) who thought it might herald a new era of better race relations in this country. Maybe it will, but it has also had another effect. It has caused many racists to crawl out from under their rocks and once again make their slimy presence known.

In the last few years it had become socially unacceptable to be openly racist. The racists were still there (although fewer in number) but they kept it to themselves and the few like-minded friends they had. Even racist organizations like the KKK were having trouble attracting new members.

But President Obama's election changed that. Perhaps fearing their racist beliefs were not just out of vogue but disappearing altogether, the racists have once again become public and very vocal. And they have found a comfortable home in the Republican Party and other anti-Democratic and anti-government groups (such as the teabaggers). These groups allow them to thinly disguise their racism as a form of rabid patriotism (which it is not).

Almost every week we see more examples of this newly public brand of obvious racism. Of course they all deny that they are being racist. To hear them tell it, they are just trying to protect some vital aspect of American society and culture, and race has nothing to do with it. But their racism is so clearly the driving force behind their actions that their denial of it just seems stupid and inane.

Consider this perfect example of the new public racism. There is a group now that wants to create a new professional basketball league. And one of the major rules of the new league is that all of the players must be "natural born citizens with both parents of the caucasian race" (white). Of course, the people trying to create this new league say it has nothing to do with race and they are not racists.

The league will be called the All-American Basketball Alliance (AABA) and they say they will start play next June with teams in 12 cities. The league commissioner, Don "Moose" Lewis, says he is not racist, but just wants to get away from "street ball" and get back to "fundamental basketball". He went on to say:
There's nothing hatred about what we're doing. I don't hate anyone of color. But people of white, American-born citizens are in the minority now. Here's a league for white players to play fundamental basketball, which they like... Would you want to go to the game and worry about a player flipping you off or attacking you in the stands or grabbing their crotch? That's the culture today, and in a free country we should have the right to move ourselves in a better direction.
I am amazed at this man's stupidity. He as much as says that all the bad behavior in the NBA is by African-Americans and white boys would not act like that, and doesn't even realize that his statement itself is racist? Any rational thinker knows that neither bad nor good behavior is linked to race (which is in itself a spurious concept invented to advance colonialism and greed).

The league is based in Atlanta and is targeting cities in the Southeast to fill the 12 slots for franchises. However, they are already having trouble in one of the targeted cities -- Augusta, Georgia. The city is making it clear they want no part of the new league.

Augusta Mayor Deke Copenhaver says, "As a sports enthusiast, I have always supported bringing more sporting activities to Augusta. However, in this instance I could not support in good conscience bringing in a team that did not fit with the spirit of inclusiveness that I, along with many others, have worked so hard to foster in our city."

Augusta State University athletic director Clint Bryant was even more blunt, saying, "It's so absurd it's funny, but it gives you an idea of the sickness of our society. It shows you what lengths people will go to just to be mean-spirited." Mr. Bryant is absolutely right. This sort of thing is sick and mean-spirited.

Now I don't think this new league has a chance of succeeding. Even if it does get established, it will quickly fold because most people will not support this kind of overt racism -- even in the South. The South still has its problems, but it has come a long way since the bad old days of Jim Crow.

But personally, I'm damn sick and tired of the new public racism that is rearing its ugly head in this country. Because of our country's free speech rights, these racist creeps have the right to speak their evil minds. But we also have the same right, and we have a responsibility to come down hard on this racist sickness. Racism doesn't just hurt individuals, it hurts our country as a whole.

It is time for decent people of all ethnicities and colors to rise up and let the racists know we just won't stand for it. It's both the decent and patriotic thing to do.

[Rag Blog contributor Ted McLaughlin also posts at jobsanger.]

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