Using Sports to Create the Other

This video is a clear attempt at humor, but it fails to be humorous at all.  In fact this video that was aired on Fox Sports is one of the most disgusting things that I have ever watched.

This video is an attempt at humor like I said, but all it does is make the Asian “the other.”  It attempts to do this through the knowledge of sports.  Here are several things about this video that I find the most appalling.

1.  Bob Oshacks’ (the reporter) mocking of the students language and pronunciation.

Clearly these students are not native english speakers.  Oshack constantly is correcting the students english, mocking the way that they say words, and clearly mishearing the words that they say on purpose.  Several times he says, “what I cant understand you,” followed with a laugh.  He puts students in the spotlight and gives them phrases to say, and when they misspeak or mess up he corrects them in a mocking tone.

2.  The Editing

Why is it necessary to show the students mistake and mispronunciations?  They purposely left all these events in the video to show that these students were not “American,” and the other.  I feel as if these segments were left in the video to purposely humiliate the students and their lack of knowledge about the sporting world.

3.  The people at FOX deciding to air this.

How could the people at FOX making this video and coming up with this idea think that this would be well received?  Why  did no one watch this and say, this is very racist and demeaning?  How could such ignorance and hate go unnoticed by the people at FOX?  If this video was meant to focus on American Football, then why does it seem to me like a racial profiling parade.

This video clearly states that to be a true American, one must be white, well spoken, and have a deep knowledge of college football.  Clearly, to the makers of this video these students are truly Americans or Americanized, and thus, not really a part of our society.  They could have interviewed any number of people, white, black, or hispanic, and I guarantee you that many of those students would have responded in the same way these Asian students did.  This video just serves to portray Asians in America as the other, primarily through their lack of knowledge of American Football.  This attempt at humor disgusts me, and served to humiliate the Asian students at USC.


In The End, Sports Are Just Games

As the Jerry Sandusky story unfolds, and many people are sharing their differing postions on the firing of Joe Paterno, I thought I would add my two cents.

This story made me think, I believe its time to take a step back and realize, hey, sports are just a game, a silly kids game.  But thats not the way that most people think when it comes to sports.  Joe Paterno is a legendary head coach, holding numerous records and winning Penn State many games.  When I first saw the news that Paterno had been fired, my initial reaction was wow, how can you fire someone like that, with all that history and recognition that he has achieved?  I know, that sounds ridiculous, but I am a sports fan, I love sports.  Joe Paterno is a household name in the sporting world.  So of course, me the sports worshipping fanatic(also uninformed)was in shock.

But, as I read stories on what happened in the Penn State football program regarding the Sandusky case, I became appalled.  This escalated when I read the Grand Jury report on this matter.  How could a man witness child rape, and not report it to the police?  How could a head coach, the face of the university, not report what he had heard to the police?  How could the school Administration and President do NOTHING when informed of the actions of Coach Sandusky.  Its simple, because he was a coach, of the illustrious football team at Penn State.  The football team at Penn State bring in millions of dollars in revenue, and the schools student body rallies around the football program all year wrong.  In simpler words, football is a big deal at Penn State.

The coaches at Penn State, and all of those involved in this case, made an explicit choice, and sent a powerful message to the world.  Penn State Football was more important then the lives of children, and could not be engulfed in scandal.  This is disgusting to think about.  That a sporting program could possibly be more important to a group of individuals then the lives of young defenseless children.  But this is the current state of sports in America, and it took this event for many people to realize this reality.  Its time we do something about it.  Racism, Sexism, Child Abuse, or any abuse of any person should take precedence over any sporting subject.  The well being of a person is far more important then any sporting event, game, or outcome.  If you ever witness someone or something that is denying the well being of a human being, animal, etcetera, I have one piece of advice.  Speak up!

“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”

-Edmund Burke

Controversial But Interesting

Doing some research on the Michael Vick story regarding his crimes involving dog fighting I came across a very interesting article.  Very interesting, and very controversial.  The author, Melissa Harris-Perry writes about the history of African Americans and animal rights.  I am going to link the article at the bottom of this post but I thought I would give you the basics of the article.  Perry gives us a detailed description of how American racism may have led people to come to different conclusions when judging Michael Vick for his crimes.  African Americans were used as slave labor, viewed as sub human, on the same levels as dogs and other animals.  African Americans have had dogs used against them numerous times during the struggle for civil rights.  Therefore she writes, that certain African American communities may be complicit in the abuse of animals, because of the racism and abuse that Blacks have faced in our country.  Another point she makes is that some African Americans feel that the general population cares more about animals and pets then they do about African Americans.  She references the images of animals and pets being airlifted out of New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina, while many civilians are stranded.

After thinking about this topic for a while I am starting to see how this may influence the way certain people view animal cruelty.  But this in no way justifies or makes the actions of ANY person who abuses animals acceptable.  Just something to think about, I recommend you take a look at the full article.


Look At It This Way

When Lebron James came out and made it public that he was going to play for the Miami Heat and leave Cleveland, he instantly became one of the most hated athletes in the world.  His jerseys were being burned daily and his popularity was at an all time low.  But when James told Soledad O’Brien that he believed that some of the hate he was receiving was because of racism, everyone went quiet.  We like to believe that racism does not play a role in sports, I mean hey, we have a black president for petes sake.  Many critics of James said that it was his antics, and the way he treated the situation that made him a villain.  This idea of being a villain in the sports world inspired me to research the most hated athletes of all time.

I came upon a list of the top 25 most hated athletes of all time published by the website Bleacher Report which receives over 20 million monthly readers and boasts the ranking of number 4 site for sports media.  So, lets take a look at how many athletes on the top 25 most hated atletes of all time were black.  Heres how the numbers break down, 17 Black athletes and 7 White athletes and 1 Spanish athlete.  These numbers are pretty consistent in other lists as well.  So why are black athletes so prevalent on these lists.  It could be argued that there are more high profile black athletes, but I believe that racism is not dead, and that racism effects how the public views athletes.  White athletes who commit crimes and cheat are often forgiven and said to have made a mistake, while black athletes who commit the same mistakesare criminals and hated by the public.  The sad truth is that it is easier for people to hate black athletes then it is to hate a white athlete.

PGA, Practice What You Preach

“Golf has no place for any form of racism.”  Apparently when the PGA  heads made this claim, they had no intentions of backing it up.  The former caddy of golfer Tiger Woods, Steve Williams, directed a racial slur at Woods during a caddies party earlier this week.  While this slur was made as an attempt at humor, it is nonetheless unacceptable, especially with the said policies I earlier stated right?  Wrong.  The PGA has made no actions or attempts to punish the caddy for his actions.  While many members of the golf community have expressed their disgust with Williams actions,  the governing body, the PGA, has done nothing.  Golfer Fred Couples was quoted as saying that, if Williams had been his caddy, he would have been fired.

Golf, as most people are aware is a predominantly white game,  very few non white golfers are present in the game today.  If the PGA has any hopes to change this mostly white field, then this is something that they should have acted on.  By letting this racist slur go, they are projecting the image that they dont really care, at least not enough to punish Williams.  When people who are a part of the golf world are making these comments and projecting those images, it does not make the game seem like it is welcoming to all races.  Nice going PGA, apparently racism does have a place in your game, or maybe you just dont care.

Race and Positions in the NFL

Anyone who watches a few minutes of an NFL game on Sunday can give you a pretty accurate description of what color skin each position group primarily consists of.  The Quarterback position is dominated by white faces, Peyton Manning and Tom Brady are the first names that come to mind.  The QB is the man in charge of the team, a natural leader, hard working, and extremely smart.  The skill positions (corner back, wide reciever, running back, and safety) are mainly African American athletes.  My question is why, or how did this come to be?

1.  Stereotypes.  Every time of year when it comes around to draft day in the NFL, players are analyzed in every aspect of their life, to determine whether or not they can be a successful player in the league.  White QB’s are hardly ever questioned in their decision making skills, or abilities to read a defense.  On the other hand, black quarterbacks are analyzed through a more cynical light.  Black QB’s are perceived as having shaky potential to succeed in the league because they may not be able to handle the sophisticated NFL offenses, and are often viewed as relying on their speed to get them out of trouble.  Most people fail to realize that they way we look at athletes is directly related to racial stereotypes.

2.  Lack of role models.  Children who are aspiring athletes look to professional athletes for inspiration.  As a kid I emulated many different athletes trying to make my play style and technique the same as theirs.  When a child turns on their tv and watches the highlights of an NFL Sunday on Sportscenter their gonna see that almost every QB is white, and that becomes the norm.  Most kids will go with the norm, and when they sign up to play football, the black kids will want to be like Adrian Peterson, and the white kids are gonna want to be like Peyton Manning.

3.  Coaching  Becoming a QB involves a lot of training, which costs alot of time and money.  The majority of NFL QB’s received numerous hours of special one on one coaching with expensive Quarterback coaches.  This is a major factor in how a athlete develops his skill set as a QB.  A player who receives this extra coaching, at a cost, is much better off and has a huge advantadge over the kid who receives the normal coaching.   Access to the best coaching is limited, and only those with the means can obtain that level of coaching.

However in more recent times we are beginning to see a slight breaking of this trend.  Black QB’s are being used in different personal packages, and players like Josh Freeman, Michael Vick, Donovan McNabb, Jason Campbell, and Vince Young are making big plays in the NFL this season.  Now when I see a white safety making a big hit, I am a little bit less surprised then I would have 10 years ago.