21 January 2010

One more for the "There are no racists" column

Every time someone in America does something horribly racist, they immediately claim to not really be racist and to instead just be doing X. The Confederacy wasn't about racism, it was about keeping federal power in check. Strom Thurmond only supported Jim Crow for the same reason. Trent Lott wasn't supporting segregation when he praised Thurmond's run for President, he was only complimenting a friend. The Louisiana justice of the peace who, last year, refused to grant a marriage certificate to a mixed race couple last year wasn't really racist, he just didn't believe it was good for children to grow up mixed.

And, today, the commissioner of the "All-American Basketball Association," which expressly says that only "players that are natural born United States citizens with both parents of Caucasian race are eligible to play in the league", says that the limit to only Caucasian players isn't racism either!

There's nothing hatred about what we're doing," he said. "I don't hate anyone of color. But people of white, American-born citizens are in the minority now. Here's a league for white players to play fundamental basketball, which they like."

Lewis said he wants to emphasize fundamental basketball instead of "street-ball" played by "people of color." He pointed out recent incidents in the NBA, including Gilbert Arenas' indefinite suspension after bringing guns into the Washington Wizards locker room, as examples of fans' dissatisfaction with the way current professional sports are run.

"Would you want to go to the game and worry about a player flipping you off or attacking you in the stands or grabbing their crotch?" he said. "That's the culture today, and in a free country we should have the right to move ourselves in a better direction."

I've never found any fans of basketball, white or black, who have complained that the problem with the game is that it doesn't focus enough on "fundamentals." Perhaps I'm not the best judge; I'm a heretic in my home state because I just don't care enough about any sport, including basketball. But the fact that they put all of the blame on non-"white" players for ugliness in the game, rather than just a lax culture of enforcement in general, speaks volumes.

It strikes me that it would be very easy, through harsher penalties and fouls, to create a league that really did focus on the fundamentals of the game, without the need for a "white's only" club. Moreover, his plans for the league include expanding to 12 teams in the Southeastern portion of the country (aka the old Confederacy). It's pretty transparently a racist idea to create a white's only league. But! He says he's not racist!

At the same time, kudos to the various cities (including Augusta, GA) who have flat out said "no" to being a part of this scheme. There are no cities listed that are joining, and there is no website for the group, so some are calling it all a fake or a publicity stunt. However, it wouldn't shock me at all if the guy is trying to create it, and if so, further kudos to each additional city that rejects him.

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