Racism at Boston’s Fenway Park: Many Questions To Answer.

fenway parkWe have no input into what we are. We have much input into what we become. How is it so, so, many people are proud of what they had nothing to do with? How is it they lack any pride at all in what they did have something to do with?

I am writing about two incidents at Fenway Park which have been called racist. I’m not quite sure what happened but they involved as far as I can tell using the N… word against a black outfielder and the next day against a black woman who sang the National Anthem. Now whoever these people are who are using the N. . .  word I assume they are not black. Whatever their racial make up is it is a condition which they had no control over just like the black persons who they feel for whatever reason they have to denigrate had no control over what their racial make up is.

But I can tell you one thing, the black outfielder worked hard to achieve his success and the black singer likewise did the same to enable them to appear on the field in starring roles at Fenway Park. I will bet dollars to M & Ms that is more than you will be able to say about the people with the vile tongues.

It recalls a time that I was standing on the corner in my neighborhood down the street from an MTA (know MBTA) station with some of my friends from what is now called the hood. We didn’t use that term at that time. We were just hanging around as we were wont to do when time would hang heavily on our hands and we were not engaged in one or another type of sports activity whether semi-organized or simple like half-ball.

As in any group that grew up in the city whether you were in college, working or on the dole we got along pretty well without discriminating among ourselves. We were friends from our youth so we remained friends despite our different roads. That particular day a handful of us were at the corner. A train had just left the station because a dozen or so people were coming down the hill toward us. Some walked straight by us, others crossed over to the other side of the street.

I wasn’t paying too much attention to what was going on until I heard one of the guys who was on the dole and spent most of his time inside the local barroom shout out, “hey look!” I turned and looked at him. He was pointing across the street. Looking there I saw a black man walking from the station with a black metal lunch pail in his hand. He was obviously coming home from a day’s work. My friend next said in a loud voice, “Look at that guy. He wants to be like us!”

The N… word wasn’t used. I’m not sure the man even heard the comment as he continued along without indicating that he had. But my reaction to it always stuck with me. I thought, “No, he doesn’t want to be like you. You’re a lazy bum who hangs around and drinks all day. He works.”

Of course he was not referring to that. He was thinking because he was white that somehow he was superior to the black man because of that alone. When I hear of the incidents like those that happen at Fenway Park I recall that time.

Did I say anything to him about it? No. Should I have said anything? Perhaps, but that isn’t how things were done at the time. Have other similar incidents happened, “of course.” Am I free in my life of never having used the N . . .  word or other words denigrating others from different ethnic or racial groups. I don’t believe I ever did it to another person’s face. When I was talking among friends maybe but that would have been when I was a “wise guy” in high school or at least not after I left for the service where I met and appreciated all kinds of people.

Is one born a racist like into a racial or ethnic group? Is it once a racist always a racist? Is there a purpose behind differentiating juveniles from adults? Isn’t that with age and education, hard knocks or otherwise, some sort of wisdom should come? Wouldn’t just a smidgen of wisdom tell a person insulting others about which they have no control is plainly wrong? Shouldn’t one recognize no matter what the race or ethnic background of a person none are basically different? Is one who prefers to associate with her own ethnic, religious or racial group a racist? Is one who believes his own ethnic, religious or racial group better than others a racist? Is one who takes pride in something he or she had nothing to do with a racist? Or is one only a racist when he or she acts in a racist manner?

A couple of final questions. Is there something peculiar about Fenway Park or Boston that differentiates it from other places or cities that make it particularly racist? If so, what is it? Is there something comforting about pointing the finger at others accusing them of racism while hiding racist thoughts or behavior in one’s self?

 

 

 

 

 

 

9 thoughts on “Racism at Boston’s Fenway Park: Many Questions To Answer.

  1. Matt:
    Racism is mainly taught (instilled) by elders or learned by bad experiences. (Example: “Why do you hate X race? Because three of them beat me up when I was young!”) Racism is born of ignorance, fear, hatred and irrationality. Racism can be untaught and unlearned. Even George Wallace changed! Our Founding Fathers asserted the truth that “all men are created equal” (but failed to practice it); our Judaeo-Christian heritage teaches us that all human beings are equal in God’s eye; and our US Constitution and laws inform us that all persons are equal under the laws. Martin Luther King had it right to dream of the day when all people would be judged by the content of their character, not by the color of their skin.
    America is the great melting pot, and one of my favorite books is Thomas Sowell’s Ethnic America: (1982) tracing the history of nine groups—the Irish, Germans, Jews, Italians, Chinese, African-Americans, Puerto Ricans, and Mexicans.
    FROM THE 2010 CENSUS: HERE’S HOW AMERICANS SELF-IDENTIFY: (49 million say they’re of German ancestry, etc.) (Of course, some identify two or more groups.)
    49,206,934 Germans
    41,284,752 Black or African Americans
    35,523,082 Irish
    31,789,483 Mexican
    26,923,091 English
    19,911,467 Americans
    (A large number of people claim American ancestry, either as a political statement or because their pre-American ancestry is mixed or uncertain. This is particularly common in the South.)
    17,558,598 Italian;
    9,739,653 Polish;
    9,136,092 French (except Basque);
    5,706,263 Scottish;
    5,102,858 Scotch-Irish;
    4,920,336 American Indian or Alaska Native;
    4,810,511 Dutch; 4,607,774 Puerto Rican; 4,557,539 Norwegian; 3,245,080 Chinese (except Taiwanese); 3,060,143 Russian; 2,781,904 Asian Indian; 2,625,306 West Indian (except Hispanic groups);2,549,545 Filipino;2,087,970 French Canadian; 1,888,383 Welsh; 1,764,374 Cuban;1,733,778 Salvadoran; 1,620,637 Arab;1,576,032 Vietnamese; 1,573,608 Czech; 1,511,926 Hungarian; 1,423,139 Portuguese;1,422,567 Korean; 1,420,962 Danish; 1,414,551 Dominican (Dominican Republic); 1,319,188 Greek
    (If I like Greek-Americans the best, what does that make me? Pro-Greek-American?)

  2. Hi Matt,
    I grew up in Dorchester, but I’ve lived in New York City since 1980. It’s very hard for me to believe that NYC fans are any less racist than Boston fans. Nevertheless, there’s a problem in the Hub. Boston’s reputation as a racist city stems largely from the bitter busing battles of the 1970s and 1980s. But there have been other ugly episodes along the way. Here’s how Bill Russell’s daughter, Karen, then a young girl, later described a racist attack on the family home in Reading:

    “One night we came home from a three-day weekend and found we had been robbed. Our house was in a shambles, and ”NIGGA” was spray-painted on the walls. The burglars had poured beer on the pool table and ripped up the felt. They had broken into my father’s trophy case and smashed most of the trophies. I was petrified and shocked at the mess; everyone was very upset. The police came, and after a while, they left. It was then that my parents pulled pack their bed covers to discover that the burglars had defecated in their bed.”

    Whenever the Celtics went on the road, vandals would knock over the trash cans at Russell’s home . The Russell children must have grown up in fear, and that’s not right.

    In the case at hand, the names of the offenders should be made public. Being known to your family, friends, boss, co-workers and neighbors is a more severe penalty than a lifetime ban from Fenway Park. Naming and shaming will reduce the outbursts we see from time to time at Fenway Park.

  3. Most of this constant hand-wringing is contrived. Let us start with the N….. word. What silliness. The word is nigger. There is no need to be cutesy, prim or proper. It has been part of the language for hundreds of years. Its malicious connotations have waxed and waned. Adults do not have to dance about it.

    Ever notice that those most traumatized by the word celebrate mainstreaming the most vulgar words in the language that describe sexuality and other bodily functions? Something rings insincere.

    Do I use it? Yes. Only to rabid liberals to annoy them and to announce that they do not own the English language. Other than that I never use it. Was raised saying Negro. It is what naturally rolls off my tongue.

    Ill feeling or malice towards a group often comes to be expressed with a word. But the animus exists independent of the word. If you change the word the hate travels to the new word. Revising the dictionary is not an antidote for hate.

    When the political correct thought police decided that using Black did not connote dislike, the word Black took on the dislike. Call it verbal suicide. So then African-American was birthed – all to fight hate. But more importantly to make virtue signalling. self righteous liberals, think that they are better than everyone else.

    They ain’t. They are ignorant bigots.

    PCers have no special ownership rights over the English language. We are all equal shareholders. There are attitudes and emotions that will be expressed. If someone wants to tell me that he hates Negroes, the word I was raised with and use, there is a perfectly good one for doing so. Using it clarifies matters. Piously intoning the “N….. word” does not.

    It is sort of like my willingness to lend anyone five or ten bucks. If paid back it is cost free. If it is not paid back I have gotten rid of him or her cheaply. It clarifies matters.

    There are also words for totalitarian inclined, better than thou, often with festooned with useless sheepskins, jerks, who think they have the right regulate what other people say. For those I usually employ the words like liberals, Democrats, leftists, etc. They are a most deplorable lot.

  4. Racism cuts many ways, subtly, overtly, violently: It’s prevalence is sometimes exaggerated. We’ve seen some fraudulent reports! We’ve seen the hype and false charges! But the fact is we’ve seen far too many racially motivated violent and fatal incidents. Social and institutional racism is debated endlessly. One paragraph can’t begin to address it, can’t skim the surface.
    Some examples:
    Last week we read of persons being shot and killed by a black man (an ex-con who admitted he wanted to kill whites) and by a white man (a financially/emotionally stressed mechanic who targeted only minorities at a pool party.)
    This morning, I read that an award winning Berkeley student (an illegal immigrant) urged followers to go to the park and “beat the shit out of white people.” The meek reporter writes he “suggests” doing so.
    http://dailycaller.com/2017/05/05/two-days-after-winning-leadership-award-illegal-immigrant-student-suggests-celebrating-cinco-de-mayo-by-beating-the-s-out-of-white-people/
    Will Berkeley withdraw its award? Don’t hold your breath.
    2. Rather than thinking of the haters (a small percentage of folks; most folks are good-hearted, decent, fair, neighborly and try to get along, in my experience) I try to think of folks like Albert Schweitzer and Martin Luther King and Abraham Lincoln and Mother Teresa, and all the great but largely unheralded doctors, nurses, teachers (except the leftists), coaches, carpenters, plumbers, electricians, automechanics, barbers, retailers, postmen and public safety folks I’ve met in my lifetime.
    Like I said: the haters are few and far between. The good folks far outweigh the bad.
    2. Bill Russell’s family obviously ran into a few hateful folks in his home town. But he played for the Celtics for, what, 20 years? 13,909 came to every game for 20 years, and millions warmly greeted Russell over the years on the streets of Boston, and nothing but cheers and praise from the vast, vast majority of folks.
    3. Again, do yourselves a favor: Read Thomas Sowell’s short classic “Ethnic America.” America was built on the backs of all our forebears, “from sea to shining sea.”

  5. Lets see—molest has no sexual overtones and negro “rolls-off-the tongue”. Next time you confront an African-American crank meddling or troubling the local kids, just the tell the negro to stop molesting children and see what rolls of your tongue.

    1. Can you produce your ownership papers to the English language? A list of all the recent changes you have decreed would also be appreciated. Politically Correct is a term developed by totalitarian communist regimes as a means of thought control. This is America which has poor soil for such a noxious weed.

  6. PC has nothing to do with it. Communication demands mutual understanding-not fealty to archaic etymology. The OED may adore you but your hobgoblin is showing.

    1. You are the hobgoblin, a PC hobgoblin. Mutual understanding is not the goal when one side demands fealty to newly minted definitions. The goal is a totalitarian imposition of a particular world view. When I say Negro do you claim seriously to not understand the race being described? There is nothing archaic about the word. No one has to run to the OED to research it.

      The end game of Political Correctness is to control a dialogue by means of changing definitions. It makes slaves of a population by forcing individuals to bow to the ridiculous. All must flutter to the latest gust of wind. B is in; A is out. All kowtow. All who kowtow are virtuous. All who fail to kowtow are evil. Americans are not interested in that game. Virtue signal to someone else.

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