Tag Archives: racism

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.