I’ve been reading Bruce Levine’s new book, the Fall of the House of Dixie; the Civil War and the Social Revolution that Transformed the South. Here’s how Levine defines racism: “consigning African Americans to second-class status, denying them in most places not only the right to vote but also equal access to the courts, public schools, public accommodations, housing, and jobs.”
It is not racist to send the following joke to your small circle of friends, : “A little boy says, ‘mommy, how come I’m black and you’re white’ and she responds, “well, Barack, from what I remember of that party, you’re lucky you don’t bark.” but apparently having the gall to tell a joke at the expense of the president does deny you access to a federal job.
I’ve been thinking about the Mike Rice thing at Rutgers. For those who have missed the latest, Mike Rice has been fired as his coach job for the Rutgers basketball team for throwing basketballs at his players and calling them faggots. The Athletic Director has now also been fired. At a demonstration last week, a group of students demanded the firing of the Rutgers president, and a student was quoted at the demonstration on CNN saying “this is the same as Penn State.” Really? A coach calling a straight six foot seven basketball player, who could pound the coach into a pile of dust in an instant, is the same as a coach raping children in a locker room shower? Really? Do people really see the situation the same?
I’ve been struck by some of the details coming out about this story. First, there have been a number of players who have pointed out that the video which is being shown was pieced together by someone who apparently wanted Mike Rice’s job. In an article in AP entitled Two Rutger Players Defend Fired Coach Rice, these players have also questioned whether the video has shown what it claims to show. Here’s what a player had to say: “He wasn’t a guy we hated or despised. After practice, we would all go in the locker room and laugh. It was never a sad face or a hung head. What he did was he separated the court and he separated life. When we were on the court, we were on the court, we were on the court and locked in. That’s why you see so many intense moments because he was so locked in on turning this program around. When we got in the locker room we were a family. We laughed.”
In fact, there weren’t complaints from the team, and there is no evidence that he did anything beyond his job. And that apparently was the result of the AD and the president’s reaction when this matter was investigated in the proper channels.
Denying a gay player a place on a team or creating a situation in which a gay player would be ostracized may be homophobia. Calling a straight player a faggot to inspire a player is called First Amendment speech.
But not in Obama’s America. In America, the use of speech is now the same as raping a child in the shower.