Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Klan's all here

Just when you think it's 2012, it's still 1942, when social norms held that a black man was better suited to load steamer trunks onto a train than he was to be the hero in a Stanley Cup playoff series.
The outburst of racism among Bruins fans on social media after Washington's Joel Ward scored the overtime goal in Game 7 against Boston last night was as ugly as it gets. Twitter was especially awash in attacks and insults the likes of which haven't been liberally tossed around in public since Jackie Robinson broke baseball's color barrier and Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat to a white passenger on a bus in Alabama.
It's difficult to imagine substantial numbers of baseball, football or basketball fans going on racist rants against black athletes, because those sports are so racially integrated at this point that black players are the stars and difference-makers more often than not. In fact, the pivotal player in a modern-day major league baseball game is almost as likely to be Latin American or Asian as he is to come from a white or African American background. Hockey is still a predominantly white sport with an overwhelmingly white fan base, many of whom are still sporting remnants of the primordial ooze from whence they apparently only recently crawled. And let's not kid ourselves and pretend racism is exclusive to Bruins fans. We've seen enough bananas thrown at black players in other cities to know better.
The good news is that the troglodytes who give everyone else a bad name are relatively small in number, but the lowest common denominator sets the standard for the larger group, and by that measure, the standard for hockey fans everywhere is still appallingly low.

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