Oct 5, 2012

Dancing Around the "Black" Issue...football and hanging chairs!

KATU.com photograph 
John Canzano writes a column for the Oregonian Sport Page. He is always willing to call the sports community on it's wonky actions. When Oregon State University called off a spirit day called "Black Out Reser (the name of OSU football stadium)" because of some student opposition, Canzano thought the university missed an opportunity to pursue the teachable moment to it's full advantage. He thinks that bigotry needs to dealt with face on and not swept under the rug. In his view, a few culturally insensitive students should not be allowed to dictate university policies. The debate began because of the behavior of a student or students several years ago:
In 2007, a Barometer-led (OSU student newspaper) try at a blackout caused some students to take it a bit far. They colored their faces black and wore black Afro wigs. According to the paper, it "caused a stir'' on campus, and student leaders are fearful of another stir.  Oregonian, Oct. 2
Canzano maintained that the university should give students and the community the opportunity to hold "the students up as an ugly example of how far we still need to come as a society." I agree with him that peer pressure and disdain will deter the unhealthy behavior far better than just rolling over and crawling under the table. He felt that the administration had taken the easy way out by calling off the event.

But dancing around the "black" issue at Reser stadium is not the only place we are seeing the connection between the color "black" and the historical injustices of the past her in the Portland metro area. It seems that a man in Camas, Washington decided to hang a chair from the tree in his front yard. The white lawn chair had the words "no-bama" written on it. The people that did this appeared to be so uninformed that they did not even know where the symbol originated or how hurtful it was.

When I looked the "hanging chair in the news" it appears that the "ugly example of how far we still need to come as a society" doesn't just happen on the college campus. Adults also fail to understand how the offensive and problematic a "hanging chair" can be. It is happening not only in Washington but in places like Michigan, Virginia and Texas. Huffinton Post said that a blogger initiated the protest:
It must be noted that a popular movement involving the display of empty chairs was initiated by right-wing blogger Michelle Malkin. In pitching the empty-chair protest earlier in September, Malkin wrote, "Decorate yours anyway you want it." Certainly, Malkin couldn't have meant the symbolic lynching of the president, right?
I am a retired person and I pay attention to politics. When Clint Eastwood took to the stage at the Republican convention with an empty chair I could only wonder where a chair with an invisible President Obama would lead. I thought that no good would come of the disrespect displayed by Eastwood. Now I am in no mood for creepy Clint Eastwood's "make my day" wannabes lynching symbolic chairs in their trees. I am hoping that other Americans feel the same. When the Detroit Free Press said:
NBC News reported that the Secret Service is looking into the empty chair incidents. "The Secret Service is aware of this and will conduct appropriate followup," spokesman Brian Leary told NBC.
Do you suppose they could go to Camas WA and explain to the man and wife that a chair hanging with our presidents name on it goes to heart of disrespect and even may be viewed as a threat to the President? Let's quit tiptoeing around the fact that racial slurs are not tolerated, the lynching of empty chairs hits too close to a hateful by gone era and implied threats to our president will not fly in our country! Black is the color of a football uniform and the dress in my closet. It is beautiful and always has been. But if you use it in the wrong way, the country and even the world does not like that.

Where do these people come from and why do they crawl out from underneath their rocks in an election year. Better yet...who do you suppose they are supporting and will be voting for?

Incidentally, OSU is reinstating a spirit day and is encouraging student to wear their school colors...but the word "black" just cannot come out of their mouth. It is sad!


b

Related articles
OSU cancels 'blackout' as racially insensitive (mysanantonio.com)
Hanging chair Obama reference stirs controversy (kgw.com)
Wearing black is now offensive (fellowshipofminds.wordpress.com)
Loveland Residents Call 'Chair Lynching' A Hate Crime (denver.cbslocal.com)
Empty chair 'lynchings': Anti-Obama protests? (usnews.nbcnews.com)
Oregon State cancels 'blackout' as racially insensitive (koinlocal6.com)


2 comments:

  1. I think I agree with you, but it is a difficult issue. How would you handle the controversial youtube movie "Innocence of Muslims"? Free speech, or hate speech?

    ReplyDelete
  2. I am reading McCullough's book about John Adams. Going back to Adams take on the founding of our country the fact is that we are a country of laws. True there is a lot of dancing around the law too but in the case of the "Innocence of Muslims" youtube posting, it needs to be remembered that if the people broke the law then they should be held accountable. If not decent people will apologize for the lesser among them.

    The idea the no apology was necessary because it was about Muslims does not hold much water with me. Wrong is wrong and decency is what we should uphold. The response of another country to the youtube video does not change that.

    Like a person that sells liquor to underage youngsters that later wreck their car and are killed, the blame needs to be put where it belongs...at the feet of the barman (youtube poster).

    But is there a law? I don't think so and to create one would have ramifications we cannot even imagine.

    But then that is just me!

    b

    ReplyDelete

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