Sadly, Racism is Not ‘Old’ News

I have been out of the loop for a while. Between school, sickness and two little children, it seems there never is enough time or energy. A few weeks ago, I wanted to write about the Serena Williams and Kanye West incidents. Now, those stories are old news. Sadly, as I perused comments about Williams and West, I found out that racism is anything but “old” news.

Now, I have not been a supporter of Barack Obama as President. This has nothing to do with the color of his skin and everything to do with his policies and attitude. While he did not receive my vote because of our divergent stance on many issues, part of me was happy to see America elect a black man president. I thought this proved that racism was becoming old news in America. I was so wrong.

Racism reared its ugly head again in the Williams and West debacles. I was completely blown away.

I read so many comments on Kanye West’s inane stunt at the Video Music Awards that seemed to indicate that his actions had something to do with him being black.

Kanye West is not an idiot because he is black. Kanye West is an idiot because he is an idiot. This has nothing to do with race. Every race has its share of them. If there is anything that is colorblind it is this — idiocy draws no color lines. Really, it is about as simple as that.

The Serena story is something else entirely. I am not a follower of tennis, so normally I would not care. But, I read the story about what happened at the U.S. Open and I watched the video. Then, I began to read the comments. I could not believe it.  Nearly half the people blamed her actions on her being black, while another 15 percent just posted blatantly racist comments. I was stunned by this.

Do I think Serena was wrong? Yes, I most definitely do. She acted in a totally inappropriate and unprofessional manner. Do I think it had anything to do with her being black? No, I do not. It has everything to do with her being a highly competitive individual who does not accept defeat easily.

In most things I do in life, I expect to win. I go in with the attitude that I am going to be the victor, even if it takes me 20 times. If I make a mistake, I get angry at myself. Do I sometimes take this anger out on others? Yes, I am sorry to say I do. I work on this and strive to not allow it to happen in the future, but sometimes it comes back, especially when I become frustrated with myself.

Luckily for me, I am not a professional star athlete like Serena Williams. My bouts of competitive anger are not international news. I honestly believe Serena was just so angry and frustrated at herself. She was not playing at a level of which she knows she is capable. She showed her frustration at her play when she broke her racket.

While I am in no way attempting to excuse what Serena said or did to that line judge, I do not think Serena’s anger was really with the official. Serena’s anger was with herself. The line judge was just unlucky enough to get in the way.

Competitive people play life with a fire and a passion that sometimes burns hot. It does not matter what color skin we have — the temperature is still the same.

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9 responses to “Sadly, Racism is Not ‘Old’ News

  1. walter harrison

    no, I meant professor gates. This what I firmly believe: the defenders of people’s civil liberties are not attorneys, but rather the police, who every day have to understand and respect those rights. With that said I respect people’s right to freedom of speech, but I do not understand when people call something racial profiling, but do not explain it, they simply label it. Everything the police did from the call to contacting Professor gates were done according to police procedure, and I am not saying there were not mistakes made on both sides. I am just wondering at what point it was racists. I do not know because even the professor did not say. There was a victim that did come out of this though: the caller. Who was labeled a racists. Race aside: you see two people who you believe are attempting to get into a house, by breaking in, so you call the police- that is not racist, and professor gates even admitted that the door was very stuck. I wonder now if that caller will ever call the police again. To compound the matter you do have a police officer who makes racial comments on his blog, even though later he states he did not intend them as such. My opinion with this is once you make racial comments like that it is too late, he is a racist, because his comments were racial.

  2. walter harrison

    I actually did not understand until our discussion why schools were opposed to his speech. I understand your position, just like if you really want to get me started- talk about gates.

    • Vantage Point Productions

      I get your position too, Walter. A president encouraging students to stay in school and do a good job is not necessarilly bad. It was the timing that made me question his motives — the feeling of being “forced” to watch it.

      I did read an article, though, where they counted how many times Obama says the word “I” in his speeches. It seems he says it an inordinate amount of the time. Interesting.

      Do you mean Bill Gates?

      VP

  3. walter harrison

    john,
    I am not in disagreement with you as far as his spending too much time on tv. It is a year into his presidency and there are not any check boxes: i.e. unemployment is still on the rise, economy has not improved, and spending is up- for the government. There is nothing so far that he can say he has accomplished, hopefully he is not betting on the health care reform, because I think if he wanted serious reform he should not have left it up to congress. He should have spoken with people across the country to find out what the problems were, and then enacted a law to help with those problems. I sometimes have serious doubts about his leadership since at the first sign of trouble with the health care bill, he caved in and developed the public option, which congress in its infinite wisdom may cut out. I wish they would drop the whole bill entirely. I think he tries to make people and not necessarily the right people happy. But despite all this, I firmly believe that someone as influencial as the president sending out a strong message to keep kids in school, is not only a good thing, but something that should be communicated across the country, otherwise we call that censorship.

    • Vantage Point Productions

      Walter,

      Well said, Walter. You make some excellent points. I thought his message was okay. It was nothing new or revolutionary. That is not the point.

      My problem with it is because, ultimately, I believe it was done more to ensure Barack’s future than that of America’s youth.

      Thanks for sharing your side! It is nice to be able to debate someone on here in a friendly, respectful manner. Please don’t stop disagreeing with me! Take care.

      VP

  4. walter harrison

    Humorously I was going to mention john mcenrow, because he is the most famous tennis player for throwing temper tandrums. I do not think race played a issue here as far as the behavior. What I do not understand though is we talk about professional althetes, but we do not expect them act like professionals. And this has nothing to do with race, but rather a social expectation. The NFL finally started cracking down on players who routinely get in trouble. There was one football player that had to be chaperooned and yet he still got into trouble. It use to be a privledge to play a sport, not a right because you had talent. Now you have a right to play. I think if you abuse the sport, irregardless of race you should be kicked out for a while, and if you do not wise up- make it permenant- go be a musician or actor. West, I think like allot of artists has a substance abuse problem, it is just like when pink went on stage to accept an award, and said she was still a little drunk. To me thats embarrassing. With Obama, I think there is racism going on, but also it is his leadership. For decades, presidents have spoken at schools, and yet irregardless of how you view him, he is the president, and he is an inspirational person, yet there were some schools that said they were not going to air his message, which was to stay in school, work hard and become something. My advice to the president would to be to say to those schools I am the president of the United States and anyone who does not like my message, and does not air it, gets their federal aide cut, because there was no legitimate reason to do that, but instead he caved in.

    • Vantage Point Productions

      Walter,

      Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts. I am in agreement with you as far as athletes and other famous people go. We are forgetting that we need to adapt to different situations and present ourselves in different ways based on our location and activity.

      If I am out at a club on a Saturday night with my friends, I can and should behave in a manner very dissimilar to if I am accepting a prestigious award or playing in a competitive sporting event.

      Part of the problem with our society is that people now seem to think they can act one way all the time and do not have to modify their behavior to match their circumstances, which is causing a coarsening and degradation of our culture.

      I do not at all share your opinion as far as it goes with Obama and his reelection campaign in my middle school. See the article titled “The Omnipresent President: T.V. Star or President? ” here at the site for my opinion about that.

      Thanks, Walt. You always give me something to think about.

      VP

  5. John! You fool! It’s totally because Serena is black! Just like John McEnrow, and Ille Nastase, whom everyone just started calling Nasty because of his fits. They only acted ugly on the court because they were black, too. White people would never do such things.

    (For the sarcasm impaired or historically challenged, that was sarcasm. The two tennis players named were white as rice.)

    Racism is not dead. I don’t think it will ever be dead until this earth is gone. I hate it, I fight it when I can. But it doesn’t usually surprise me. 8^(

    • Vantage Point Productions

      Miles,

      I have no idea who Ille Nastase is, but you are right — John McEnrow is definitely a white fit-thrower.

      I know racism will always be with us. As long as we have differences and variety, we will have issues (even though, ironically, we all claim to love uniqueness!). I just thought we had progressed a little further than the comments I read. Those comments really showed me how far we have yet to go. Of course, a lot of those comments were posted by white idiots! They come in all colors! Take care.

      VP

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