Category Archives: Discrimination

Pork Chop Gets the Axe

On recent trip to Allentown, PA to visit my grand-parents I learned that, beginning this season, the city would become home to a minor league baseball franchise. The Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs (formerly the Lynx of Ottawa) would represent the Philadelphia Phillies as their local affiliate at the Triple-A level. However, the arrival of the new team to the area has been marred by accusations of racism by local Hispanics regarding the name of their mascot.

Based on over 7,000 fan submissions of potential names, the cartoony, metallic pig had originally been given the title of ‘Pork Chop.’ The team quickly conceded to the complaints of “several Hispanics” that the name was offensive and dumped the fan-chosen name prior to the start of the season. My first thought was, “What is offensive to Hispanics (or anyone else) about naming a cartoon pig ‘Pork Chop’?”

Apparently the pig’s chosen moniker has been used by some people as a derogatory term for Puerto Ricans. Aside from the fact that this seems like a stupid racial slur (not stupid in the sense that it demeans a group of people based on race but rather because it is, in reality, a type of food and therefore should offend the group at which it is directed no more than someone calling me a ‘Cracker’ would offend me) but it is a term of which I doubt most people have any awareness.

Guillermo Lopez, vice president of the Latino Leadership Alliance and one of the prime complainants about the name, hammered this very point home with his own statements when he noted, “If my parents were alive, they’d be having fits. It meant much more to them than it does to Puerto Ricans now in the Lehigh Valley.”

Exactly! This may have been an offensive to term to a select group of people over 20 years ago but that is clearly not the case anymore. Moreover, this name was being given to a pig! The pig is the mascot and therefore the physical representation of the team’s spirit and camaraderie. The name was being used in the most positive of connotations (unless you are an actual pig) and this moron has not only stripped the public of their chosen name but also breathed life back into what was a dead racial slur so that an entire new generation of bigots can use it to belittle his own people.

So congratulations, Mr. Lopez, to you and all your fellow ‘minority’ groups out there who continue to fan the flames of prejudice by constantly reminding the public at large of not only the myriad of differences between our races, religions, and genders but also of all the ways with which they can offend you.

Oddly enough, nobody was offended by Pork Chop’s replacement, ‘Wetback the Dolphin’

The most ignorant statement from the whole story did not come from those who were offended, however, but from the man who conceded to them. General Manager Kurt Landes said of his decision to change the mascot’s name, “We were really unaware of any negative connotations with the word ‘pork chop.’ If it offended a few, it’s a few too many.”

No, it isn’t! The things we say and do can always be found to be offensive to a few people on some level, but that is no reason to alter our behavior. There will always be those like Lopez and his ilk who have nothing better to do than complain about things which could be offensive to some tiny sub-group of people (even if those people are from a past generation, as in this case) and if everyone continues to concede on the most innocent of or alleged faux pas then we, as a majority of the people, place ourselves ever more at the mercy of the few yahoos pathetic enough to spend their days searching out new ways to be offended.

If anyone involved in this entire situation is guilty of racism it is Mr. Lopez and his Latino Leadership Alliance of Lehigh Valley who, according to their own mission statement, claim the the LLA “seeks to improve the quality of life for the Latino community and the entire Lehigh Valley.” I would be interested, however, to know what specifically this organization does to help anyone in Lehigh Valley who is not Latino.

According to their president, the LLA “promotes education by providing ‘Si Se Puede’ workshops” in local schools. Sounds to me like these workshops are geared specifically to Hispanics (or at least only to those who speak Spanish.) I don’t speak Spanish and I find it offensive that they would discriminate against me simply based on my ethnicity or the educational opportunities I have had.

The group also gives out dozens of scholarships annually, but they are only open to Latino students. That is the very definition of racial discrimination and, once again, flies in the face of their claims of improving the quality of life for everyone in Lehigh. It makes me sick that groups like the LLA are able to promote the advancement of only those individuals who have the same color skin and speak the same language as they do. This organization and all those who support their bigoted, racist agenda should be ashamed of themselves.

I have gone on for long enough though. It is nearly dinner time and I am getting hungry. I think I will go get a pork chop so I can eat… that Puerto Rican chef sure knows how to cook. (Thanks for teaching me a new word, Guillermo!)

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Democrats: The Party of Racism & Ignorance

So I am in a cab this morning on the way to the airport and the driver has on the local NY affiliate for National Public Radio.  I am not a big fan of NPR, if only because I have never understood why the few outlets of broadcast media being propped up by our federal tax dollars (NPR, PBS) have been so historically to the left of center in the political spectrum.  Given that the last two U.S presidential elections have been decided but such a markedly thin margin, does it not make sense that our nation’s media market reflect both ends of the political measure (or at least show some semblance of compromise between the two?)

But, in spite of myself, I admit that NPR does put out some genuinely interesting programming from time to time and the mere fact that it was the radio station selected by my cab driver is not what is irritating me at the moment.  What proved troublesome for me were the comments made during an interview of some Maine voters regarding their state’s recent presidential primary.

Specifically, the NPR representatives were asking African-American voters from the Democratic primary who they had chosen to vote for and, more importantly, the reasons why they had done so.  The selection of interviews was small (it was not a very long report) but nearly every one of the comments irked me to some degree.  It seemed as though, when asked for the reason they supported him, nearly every African-American Barack Obama supporter’s predominant reason for voting for this man was that he is black.

What the hell kind of reason is that to vote for someone?  Casting your vote for one candidate or another based on the color of their skin is not only ignorant but it is also, by definition, racist.  I understand that many people (of all races) are excited to see the first serious African-American contender for the White House in our nation’s history but by making this man’s race into a selling point for his campaign you give legitimacy to the very racial differences against which you claim to fight.  Does this not fly in the face of the concept of all men, regardless of race, creed, age, socio-economic status, etc. being created equal?  Isn’t the point of equality to ensure that each of the candidates has a level playing field from which to woo potential voters?

This is not to say that such prejudiced votes are not cast by many other groups of people for many other reasons.  I know that Mitt Romney recently swept through the Utah Republican primary with nearly 90% of that state’s vote due, to a large degree, to the fact that Romney was the sole Mormon candidate running in a state known to be the Mecca of the Mormon religion; but that does not seem to be quite as knee-jerk of a vote as the African-American issue.  Mormons are a religious group whose family and social ideals are clearly defined by their adherence to the rules and norms of their church.  Moreover, they are a group in which membership is a matter of choice, not genetics.  To say the same about black people would be to imply that their entire race is predisposed to act a certain way.  That is, of course, not true and is also a racist sentiment.

Many African-Americans are obviously going to share some set of social norms and values as they are (for the vast majority) born into African-American families who pass on these traditions from one generation to the next (just as any racial, religious, family group does.)  Americans are not, however, voting to decide who should be the head of African-America or the leader of the Mormon religion; we are voting to decide who should run this nation and as much as I may be inclined to vote for a white Catholic from Massachusetts (as such a person would be wholly representative of my personal background,) I have never voted for anyone with the last name Kennedy because none of these people represented what I wanted for my political leadership or governance.

Perhaps the most disturbing sound-byte from the whole NPR segment came from an African-American woman who expressed her reasoning for choosing Hillary Clinton over Obama.  She stated that she “loves Obama” (without delving into any reason for this admiration) but that she was voting for Hillary because the New York senator has pledged to “double funding to black universities” if elected.

There are two serious issues with the sentiments expressed by this woman.  First, why is there such a thing as a ‘black university’ that receives any public funding?  This is an institution whose very goal is to further the progress of one specific racial group above all others in a nation where ‘all men are created equal.’  How does one justify that?  Such an institution is either attempting to unbalance the already level field of racial play in America or trying to advance a racial group which they themselves have determined to be inferior to the others in some way.  Can you even begin to imagine the outcry if someone attempted to start a ‘white university’ let alone secure its funding from tax dollars?  Those involved would be lambasted as evil racists and probably convicted of some sort of ‘hate-crime.’

The second issue I have with this woman’s reason for choosing Hillary is that she wants to see the funding for these ‘black universities’ doubled.  This begs many questions:  What is the deficiency in these schools that has caused them to need twice the funds currently allotted to them by our government?  Will doubling this funding really solve these problems or just set the stage for further financial increases down the line?  How much of an increase in funding will the public university system as a whole see under President Hillary?  How should I, as a Caucasian-, Hispanic-, Middle Eastern-, or Asian-American, feel knowing that my tax dollars are being set aside for group of people who wish to exclude me based solely on my race?

The bottom line here is that if you feel you have been disenfranchised in some way because serious candidates for the American presidency have always been white males then you should really have some sort of concrete evidence as to what you have missed out on.  With all the whining I have heard from the anti-Bush lobby over the past eight years about how the President duped the nation into launching an unnecessary war or how he is a moron incapable of leading anyone you would think that these people might be able to come up with a slightly better rationale for choosing our next president than race or gender.  If you don’t want to see our nation at war then why not choose Ron Paul, a former Libertarian candidate whose political ideals would certainly not have the U.S jumping into any overseas conflicts.  If you think that George W. Bush is an idiot then why not review the GPAs and IQ scores for each candidate and simply choose the one who is the most intelligent?  It’s odd that in spite of all the years of Bush-bashing and the current trend of voting along racial- or gender-lines I cannot recall a single instance of Bush being called ‘too-white’ or ‘too-male’ of a Commander-in-Chief.

In spite of voting for him in both elections, I do not agree with many things that President Bush has done over the past eight years.  I do believe, however, that I would be facing a much longer personal laundry list of issues with actions that Bush’s alternatives would have taken had they been residing in the White House.  That being said, I know that I can feel confident that I have made the correct decision each time I enter the voting booth by selecting the candidate who best represents my desired leadership style and personal values rather than someone whose skin color or chromosome make-up matches mine.

Jerry O’Connell is a Hater

Jerry O’Connell has suggested government intervention to break-up what he is calling the city of Boston’s “monopoly” on professional sports.  Speaking from Maxim magazine’s massive pre-Super Bowl party (a popular pulpit for invoking government-imposed restrictions of civil rights,) O’Connell expressed his dissatisfaction with the successes of Boston-area sports teams this season.

Being from New York, I am certain that O’Connell is quite familiar with sports monopolies as the city has been home to the most overpaid, owner-produced monopoly in the history of sports.   However, with the Red Sox having won the the World Series this past season and the undefeated New England Patriots on the door-step of another Super Bowl victory and a piece of NFL history, Mr. O’Connell feels something needs to be done. “It looks like the Celtics are going to win the season as well,” O’Connell said. “If the Boston Bruins, the NHL team, wins, the federal government has to break them up. They have to take a team away — they have to.”

In spite of Jerry O’Connell’s ability to win prominent roles in such Hollywood blockbusters as Joe’s Apartment and Kangaroo Jack, I still have a hard time taking a man who makes statements, like those above, too seriously.  However, without lending too much credence to this idiot’s call-to-action, I would like to remind him of the following facts:

  1. The Boston Red Sox have won two World Series titles in the past four years due to their strong development of farm talent within their own system.  During that same time, the Yankees have continued a steady trend of throwing all of their money at the latest flavor-of-the-week in hopes that he will be the ‘missing piece’ that will put them back on top.
  2. The Boston Celtics have spent the last two decades in total mediocrity after their heyday in the 1980s.  The team only truly became a consistent contender again this season with the acquisition of Kevin Garnett, a league MVP and the most highly sought-after player on the block this off-season.  The Celtics made a good move with the Timberwolves to get KG and are now reaping the benefits.
  3. The Boston Bruins are not a dominant team.  Their current record is 27-20-5, putting them third out of the five teams in their division and sixth among teams in the play-off race.  While it appears the B’s are in good shape to make the play-offs, they will certainly be a long-shot once they get there.
  4. The New England Patriots are undefeated all year and playing in today’s Super Bowl game, their fourth Super Bowl of the decade (so far.)  The Pats are just that good; there is nothing more to say about that.

That being said… stop the hate, Jerry.  It is your city’s turn to suck at sports for a while. Get over it!

Playing the Race-Card– On Two. Set. Hike!

This is not an issue of race. People are not reacting so harshly to this group of four black men, or even the one black superstar, because of the color of their skin. The courts are reacting because they broke the law. The NFL is reacting because Vick broke their rules. The public is reacting because they find dog-fights and the ensuing executions to be barbaric. This is not an issue of race.

This did not stop one NAACP leader, of course, from recently calling for Vick to be given the benefit of the doubt by his former league, team, and sponsors. R.L. White, president of the NAACP’s Atlanta chapter, told America that “as a society, we should aid in his (Vick’s) rehabilitation and welcome a new Michael Vick back into the community without a permanent loss of his career in football.”

What ‘rehabilitation’ is he talking about?

Vick said, just weeks ago, that he was looking forward to ‘clearing his name’ of the charges against him. Now, in the face of his co-defendants turning on him, he immediately announces that he will plead guilty. These are not the actions of a remorseful man looking to better fit the mold his society wishes for him; they are the actions of someone who knows when he is beat and is trying to salvage some semblance of his former decadent life.

White alluded to this very fact, saying that he supported Vick’s guilty plea, if it was in the man’s best interest, but that he believed it was a decision more about “cutting losses than the truth.” Why are these two mutually exclusive? It seems to me to be a clear case of Vick and Co. cutting their respective losses in the daunting face of the truth.

White went on to say that Vick has received more negative press “than if he had killed a human being,” and that he considers dog-fighting to be “as bad as hunting.” So the real bottom-line for this guy is not that dog-fighting should be legal, but that other activities that he finds immoral, should be illegal as well. Maybe this guy is working for the wrong group; I am sure PETA would love to have a little chat with him.

Comparing a sport which is enjoyed the world over and follows in the foot-steps of man’s survivalist instinct to breeding animals with the express intent of locking them in brutal, mortal combat with each other for your own amusement and financial gain is pretty sad. It is even worse when you juxtapose a hunter stalking his prey and turning a successful kill into useful meat, hides, etc. with a bunch of drug-fiends hanging, drowning, and electrocuting dogs whose only crime was poor fighting ability.

Perhaps Mr. White’s most pervasive bit of wisdom shared that day though was his simple summation of the charges against Vick, “His crime is, it was a dog.”

No, his crime is, he bred and trained dogs to fight (a crime), gambled on the fights (a crime and NFL rule violation), while taking drugs (a crime), and then executed at least eight dogs in barbaric fashion (a crime, unlike hunting.)

If this guy was really concerned about racial injustice then perhaps he would have a better defense for Vick than saying that the quarterback has been hung out to dry by his co-defendants who are also black. That is merely supporting the man who has the most power and influence to lend to your side and nearly as ludicrous a case of passing the buck as comparing the charges against Michael Vick to sport-hunting.

A Voice Unheard

I am a member of a minority group. Like many social minorities, we are subject to a fair degree of social injustice on a daily basis. Worse yet, unlike some victims of social discrimination, ours is not an issue of choice but rather one of merely being born different. Many of these other groups, whatever the cause of their plight, have a large public outcry in favor of improving their rights and overall social standing; our voice is silent to the world.

Historically, our people have been mocked, vilified, and tortured for our perceived human inequities. For centuries, we have been told we are wrong and been subjected to various social and physical manipulations in an attempt to ‘makes us normal.’

We represent nearly fifteen percent of America and yet remain complacent to the blatant discrimination all around us. Our modern lives are full of problems for us that the rest of the world will not even recognize. The epithets with which we are tarred allude to sinister dealings yet no retaliation is ever launched. Indeed many of the most mundane elements of American life are set to turn the odds against us.

Computers, scissors, cars, even the desks we are forced to use in school are all designed with someone else in mind. The very system of written communication in the modern world is in direct contrast to our own natural capabilities. Even baseball, in spite of all the great names we have brought to the game and decades after America’s pastime became racially equal, is a game which limits our kind from playing certain roles due to how God chose to make us.

Have you got it yet? Are you maybe one us us? Can’t find a catcher’s mitt or good set of rental golf clubs? Do you have zero hope of ever becoming a calligrapher? Then you might be– left-handed!

Right-handed desks, transmissions, scissors, golf-club, can-openers… it is a right-man’s world, no doubt. Left-handed people are at a distinct disadvantage from when they first learn to write in school to using many modern tools and machines.

There is, of course, a reason for this. We are the minority in a democratic nation and, being such, are subject to the whims of the majority. We have no lobby, no trust fund-fattened backers rallying the nation to our plight. We get by as we always have, by twisting our wrist to write with a pen, by renting ill-fitted clubs every time we hit the links, and by admitting that we will never play catcher for a major league club.

It is not an easy life, but it is one we suffer with a quiet dignity in the knowledge that we still survive. The fact that nuns would beat us in school and force us to use the wrong hand pales in the court of social injustices when juxtaposed with centuries of bonded servitude or even illegally crossing a border because you want a better life.

Without a booming social voice, I find solace in the simple things; the laughs I get from a crowded dinner table, watching all the rightys perpetually pick up and put down their silverware in order to facilitate their overly complicated act of eating, the fact that we will always represent a far greater number of ambidextrous people as well as legendary MLB hitters and pitchers for the mere fact that we live in a world designed for them– not us.

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This has been, The Leftist Manifesto.