Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Response to Shani Breaks the rules

In response to Melissa Harris-Lacewell's editorial in the Chicago Tribune titled, "Shani breaks the rules - When black men feel unconstrained by the nation's racial rules"

Melissa explains Shani isn't playing by the unspoken rules of racial constraints put on black male athletes. Lacewell states Shani Davis should be a momentary hero because of his accomplishment and the reason he isn't? In her mind, it's because he is black. Which implies the media to be racist toward black men.

Anyone who watches television with an open eye, can see this is far from the truth. The media is far from racist toward black men. Watch the commercials and programs produced now. Make a mental note of what types of people have the important jobs, are intelligent, are educated, and have strong family values. Now look at what type of people are shown to be uneducated, dumb, and unmotivated.

The media isn't racist toward the black race!

Booker T Washington said it correctly, "There is [a] class of colored people who make a business of keeping the troubles, the wrongs and the hardships of the Negro race before the public. Having learned that they are able to make a living out of their troubles, they have grown into the settled habit of advertising their wrongs -- partly because they want sympathy, and partly because it pays. Some of these people do not want the Negro to lose his grievances, because they do not want to lose their jobs. . . . There is a certain class of race-problem solvers who don't want the patient to get well, because as long as the disease holds out they have not only an easy means of making a living, but also an easy medium through which to make themselves prominent before the public." Washington said this in 1911!

Now on to some of her points:

Melissa - Davis was labeled selfish for deciding not to compete in a "Team Pursuit" event that would have given a white teammate a chance to win five gold medals.

Reaction - He was selfish. If you are part of a team, don't you give all you can for the team? I would hope Melissa is doing this for the University of Chicago. Why isn't her suggestion of this preventing a White Athlete to have a shot at receiving 5 Golds, racist? I didn't see Eric complain that he was not going to be able to receive five gold medals because of Shani's decision. What did I hear? Eric state the team had a huge chance at a Gold with Shani participating.

Melissa - Davis was labeled rude for his terse interview on NBC after his medal win in the 1,000-meter race.

Reaction - What would you call his reaction to the questions? Polite? Engaged? or Rude and distant? It would have to be rude and distant. No matter if it was a White Athlete or a Black Athlete it was rude. He was rude to the interviewer. She didn't say anything about him not participating in the Team pursuit. She wasn't the one Shani should have been angry with. She wanted to allow Shani to share his excitement with the United States Fans. I can understand if someone doesn't like interviews, not a problem. You can still be polite. He didn't even look her in the eyes. Didn't even look into the camera. This was his chance to let the United States and the World know how excited he should have been with winning the Gold. I thought that was the goal he set out for.

Melissa - He made a decision to put his personal goals for success above those of another athlete.

Reaction - I somewhat agree with Shani's focus. I love seeing an athlete or any individual who has the focus to not allow others to distract them. But, Melissa's implication is incorrect. Did Shani have to sit out of the Team Pursuit in order for Eric to not reach his 5 Golds? No, he could have skated the Team Pursuit and then beat Eric in the 1,000 , 1,500 and 5,000 meter races. He did accomplish beating him in the 1,000 adn 1,500. That would have prevented Hedrick from achiving 5 Golds all by itself. Is she also suggesting that White Athletes believe there goals are more important than Black Athletes? Every athlete's own goals are more important than another athletes; no matter what race.

Melissa - He chose not to grin for the cameras and announce he was heading to Disney World.

Reaction - I don't really care about this one. Maybe Shani doesn't like Disney World.

She states these are hardly headline provoking choices. Except when they are from a black man and the first black man of U.S. Winter Olympic Glory. Lacewell says it has provoked America's racial angst. This is just Bologna. Come on, people are reacting to Shani and not to his blackness.

Shani has become her poster child for the unjust constraints put on black men in the days following the Reconstruction by the white public. Somehow this is being compared to lynch-mob rules, black men being murdered for the slightest infraction of social code. This is far fetched in Shani's case. How does the reaction to Shani have anything to do with that?

What these racist people did at the time President Lincoln freed all people was absolutely horrible. It was ungodly and so misdirected. All men are created equal and should have to abide be the same rules. No special rules, no special tests to be able to vote. If you are a law abiding citizen, you have not forfeited those rights. If your skin is white, yellow, brown, or black and you have not abided by the law, you should not have the same rights as a black, brown, yellow, or white skinned person who has. It's really that simple.

Melissa points out Social Scientific studies show a perception of black boys as threats in our nations classrooms as opposed to unruly white males behavior being excused. Where I grew up, all kids that were unruly were disciplined. No matter what color skin you had.

For some reason the question asked of Shani, "Are you angry," is a part of the Racial profiling being done by our nations cities. I must ask. Did you see the interview? If that was any other athlete answering and behaving the way Shani was, the same question would have been asked. He looked ticked off for some reason. The question had nothing to do with profiling.

Every person knows what locations of their cities are troubling and dangerous placing to be or live, no matter what their race. Should our police forces ignore the areas where the highest crimes are being committed? Should they avoid the locations that have the highest drug trafficking? Should they not patrol locations where child pedifiles like to shop because this is profiling? Should we take out the security at the airports because this is a type of screening for a terrorist profile. Should we pass a law to keep the police forces out of those areas in the name of political correctness? If we did, it would be ludicrous.

Melissa asks what all of the information she has presented has to do with Shani Davis. Her answer, "It helps explain the angst about his actions. White athletes regularly behave in similar ways: Bode Miller anyone?"

I have watch several interviews with Bode Miller. He has been polite, answered questions and even answered tough questions. A lot tougher than, "Are you angry." Bode Miller is known more for his partying life style than for being rude or angry. She claims the subtext is racial. Again, I reference the statement by Booker T Washington. Go back and read it again.

There is something that I will agree with Melissa Harris-Lacewell on. Shani Davis is a world-class athlete, fiercely competitive and on this occassion not media friendly.

Shani Davis has earned a Gold medal in the 1,000 meter, a Silver in the 1,500 meter, and finished 7th in the 5,000 meters at that 2006 Winter Olympics. These are all great accomplishments. Check out his accomplishments at the US Olympic Team website


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