“Clap if you lost a racist grandma in the last year or two…..You know what I’m talking about. We all have them. You have that one grandma who passes away and, it’s like, ‘Oh, it’s so sad … Eh, she was kind of a racist piece of shit.’” – Aziz Ansari
Is racism really dying? Coming off the victory of Meb Keflezighi, and the support he received, I began to think so, but maybe I’m wrong. What with the shooting at the Jewish center, the Sterling/Clippers debacle and, for futbol fans, the Dani Alves situation that took place just a few days ago, I’d say we haven’t broken nearly as many barriers as we should have. This upsets me to no end; especially in the world of sports where it’s all about unifying fans, and people of all different backgrounds coming together to cheer on their favorite teams/players.
In the Sterling case, the racist remarks are made by Sterling himself. A man who owns a team made up of African Americans makes negative comments about African Americans?! I mean, what? The beauty in this situation was the amount of responses. Legendaries, Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson voiced their sadness at Sterling’s behavior. The Clipper team played their game without showing the team logo. Clipper sponsorships have even been suspended and statements given voicing the belief of Sterling are his and his alone. As for Sterling himself, Adam Silver issued him a $2.5 million dollar fine and a lifetime ban from the NBA.
With the Dani Alves scenario it was a bit different. Alves was gearing up for a corner kick when a fan threw a banana to Alves on the pitch. Alves, not skipping a beat, picked up the banana, peeled it, took a bite, wiped his hands then took his kick. Amazing! What a way to, literally, kick racism in the teeth. The fan was given a life ban, and players came to Alves side in support (some even posting pictures of themselves eating a banana on their social media outlets) but my mind still can’t get past the reason as to why, in either situation, such matters have to be taken? We’re in a time where we have an African American as President, a time, where a female President may happen sooner than later, a time where an actress like Lupita Nyong’o is named “People Magazine’s” most beautiful person, and yet we still have racists in our midst.
The shooting was the worse offense because it ended with fatalities. May the victims and their families find peace.
If there’s one thing life has taught me, it’s that hate is taught. No one is born to hate. So when I re-read Aziz’s statement I can’t help but think maybe he’s an optimist. Racism may not be as blatant as it once was but it’s definitely still around, and will remain so until we stop teaching hate and start teaching love. Are you doing your part?