Saturday, February 1, 2014

Thug Life

Richard Sherman's out burst a brief while back caused quite a stir. Don't know who Richard Sherman is? Being only a casual fan, at best, of the NFL, I had to search my memory. For the uninitiated this Sherman is a defensive back with the Seattle Seahawks. His adrenaline fueled rant (or was it something else?) directed against an opposing player (one M. Crabtree of the SF club), was the talk of the town so to speak for a spell........It was indeed a spectacle, a rather amusing one in my humble, and it certainly had the wags wagging. For days on end....

I didn't see rant as it occurred. . As, I mentioned, as a casual fan only of anything NFL, and certainly caring little about a couple of west coast programs, (if the Saints and maybe, just maybe, the Texans ain't in it, I don't care) I was busy doing something else at the time of the "offensive" tirade. My better half called to me and begged me to come listen to "this thug" and I reluctantly got my ass up from computer gazing (not porn this time) and came in. With the miracle of modern technology the television was "rewound" and I got to see what had happened minutes earlier.  I really didn't think much about it to be honest. Wrote it off as some silly pro athlete making an ass of himself for his fifteen minutes and moved on. Who knew what that this would bring out the professional race baiters and their two cents? Guess I should have figured such....

Shortly after the rant, this Sherman was in full damage control mode, making apologies, kowtowing, and generally doing the things that are done when someone makes an ass of themselves publicwise (oh my brother). He came across as a soft spoken, gentle soul, and perhaps we should all now get the feeling that this is the true Richard Sherman and the one that whizzed over himself on national programing was just "caught up in the emotion of the game." Or some such.
There could be some merit to this. I personally have a distant relative who spent many years in the NFL and he was indeed a gentle giant in person. I also distinctly remember as a young person watching him take his helmet off during a nationally televised game and whacking an opponent with it. So this "emotion of the game" thing may be real after all. No matter and not really the point.

During the aftermath of Sherman's aforementioned "damage control" it came out that use of the word "thug" was somehow racist and code for the dreaded "N" word. You know what I'm talking about although I am sure you have never uttered such a dreadful and foul word in the past what with most of you being all "post racial." Or something. Interestingly enough an acquaintance of mine, a trucker with my firm, asked me if I heard "that buck" talking crazy after the game. I suppose he can be forgiven for use of such a, let us be honest, hateful and rather antiquated term (to boot) when describing the incident in question. He was, after all, a police officer in one of the roughest (and darkest, as they say), cities in the South for quite a number of years. That type experience won't likely foster a feeling of "racial tolerance" in a person I would wager. I digress..

Thug? Does use of this word actually mean something "bad" to today's post racial (whatever that is) society?  Is it code for the big N? Perhaps. Let us think about this for a moment.

I have heard, and there may be merit here, that the NBA fell from grace in the eyes of the public due to it becoming a league of "thugs." I personally believe they don't really play basketball anymore but that is perhaps beside the point. At the height of popularity we had Larry, Hakeem, John S, Magic,  Michael,  and a few noted others all involved. (Who can forget Bob Costas near fellating praise of Jordan night after night?) It was a game then. It was watched, the ratings were through the roof, and people paid attention. The NBA was even popular enough at that time to spawn the bastard child WNBA and it, for a time, was hugely successful. (Everyone loved Comets coach Van Chancellor down Houston way).  Then the big stars, folks with some class, left the game and the street ball playing, near unintelligible children, took over the sport and the ratings began to plummet. The talk was that the NBA had become thuggish. What did this mean?
 Did folk mean that it had become dominated by gangsta looking, gold chain wearing, pants on the ground punks? Pretty sure they did and incidentally it did not take long for the powers that be in the sport to begin importing European (and other) players which did nothing to dilute the game, in fact improved it, and some of the so called thuggishness (is that a word?) dissipated. As a result we see the league now with an improved image and somewhat improved ratings.

Sherman is probably right when he says that "thug" is code. What he, and many many others, do not understand likely is that when the majority, the silent majority and (let us be honest) the bill paying majority, label something thuggish they are simply stating what most folk are thinking. Let me be clear on this if I can because this can also apply to the gay marriage (and other issues) thing that is all the rage right now. The majority, usually the silent majority, will always label something different be it dialect, sexual orientation, cultural norms, etc. etc. as queer (no pun intended) and perhaps even threatening to what is considered outside the norm.

What does any of this mean? Not much. Only that when the majority see behavior that they consider thuggish (usually language), the perpetrator of the perceived thuggishness is often a person of color.

Just the way it is and nothing can be done about it. All the blabbering by the pundits, the spokesfolk of the chattering class, and those in the (highly lucrative) business of perpetuating racial issues, certainly won't fix the "problem."

On the contrary. It just makes the majority dig in their collective heels.

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