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!)