Wednesday, March 29, 2006

"It lets me further know..." - Steve Harvey

My grandmother, Lord rest her beautiful soul, loved Duke University. As my father tells me, Grandmother loved Duke more than any other school in the world. I have always found the nationalistic pride that North Carolinians have for their schools rather admirable, and my Grandmother was no exception. My friend Jarvone, a native of Charlotte, was a huge Tar Heel fan when we were students at Morehouse, and my buddy Christian (Warren County's own) is a big Duke fan.

I've hated Duke University since the NCAA national championship game of 1986. That year, Johnny Dawkins and the Blue Devils, heavily favored, lost handily to 'Never Nervous' Pervus Ellison and the Louisville Cardinals. Duke essentially broke my heart, as I had followed them all season, and immediately my hatred of the institution and its athletic programs reached the levels I reserve for the San Francisco Forty Niners, the Boston Celtics and the rest of the NFC East.

So, imagine my pride and my ebullience when Duke lost to Nevada-Las Vegas in the national championship game in 1990. Sweet Redemption pally...sweet. And imagine my anger during the subsequent years of my high school life when in tenth and eleventh grade, led by Christian Laetner, Duke walked away with consecutive championships.

Duke University isn't an old school. It's only 85 years old, and maybe that's one of the things that angers me so about them, their arrogance.

Recent allegations about the alleged rape and sexual assault of a woman at a Lacrosse party (who knew?) only raise other questions that for the aloof and oblivious (read: average European American), are never quite noticed until something like this happens. In this age of political correctness, I think we go out of our way to desensitize ourselves from slight racism and even polite racism, and look primarily for the all-out deluxe brand of racism.

Was what happened at Duke the result of racism? I really don't know. But hurling racial epithets at anyone, even a stripper from Central, is wrong. Imagine if at an African American fraternity party, Asian American strippers were requested, and racial epithets had been hurled at them? What type of response from the Asian American community nationwide would there be?

Racism is rarely discussed anymore, because no one wants to offend anyone. My brother calls me the 'King of Propriety' because of the way that I only discuss certain topics that I feel are appropriate in a given situation. When it comes to racism, racist epithets and all that comes with that, I am not the aforementioned King. I am tired. I live in Georgia, and every day, I see at least 300 Rebel flags. That may mean nothing to you, but growing up in Dallas, if you saw a Rebel flag, that meant that the person driving that vehicle (usually a truck), hated me and wanted to enslave me. When I hear the argument about Southern pride in reference to the flag, I am disgusted. Furthermore, when I hear the opinions of others that I as an African American male, should get over it, I am even more disgusted and I wonder what would happen if all the Confederate flag symbols were switched to swastikas. And no, not the American Indian swastika symbol, but the hateful, deceitful, murderously bloody and scary symbol of that crazy, deranged, homocidal nut Adolf Hitler. Yes, I wonder for a moment, if the symbols were switched out, how long they would fly on state flags or proudly from homes, or on pickup trucks not outside of Atlanta, but downtown on Peachtree? Not long I'm guessing, because the ADL doesn't play that.

Now, for all of the so-called leaders in the African American community, I suggest that they get their facts straight about what happened down at Duke, formulate a plan, and converge on the University like a pilgrimage for redemption and salvation. But I also suggest that they be mindful that the actions of some hormone crazed young men should not cast a doubtful eye on the men of Duke as a whole. That would not be prudent. I also would not chalk it all up to the actions of jocks. However, the school's slow action, and subsequently slow moves in cooperation are further evidence that something is flawed in the system as a whole, and hopefully, that something, when all of the smoke clears, will be brought to the fore.

I'm Joe, and that's how I see it.


Post a Comment

<< Home