Monday, March 12, 2012

A Better Lesson

12 March 2012

An incident happened on Saturday night, March 3rd, at a local high school basketball game and was reported on the local news.  At a basketball game between a predominantly white school and a predominantly Hispanic school, chants of “USA! USA! USA!” erupted at the end of the game and this angered some of the people attending the game. People on the chanting white side claim their chant was meant to express pride in their country. People on the Hispanic side said their chant was meant to taunt them and a clever way to express racist Anti-Hispanic sentiment. The local news station was right there getting thoughts from both “sides” of the events as well as school district personnel handling the formal protest. Do you get the picture of what happened here?

First off, the fact there are “sides” tells me that there are no winners of anything here. I agree with the chanters, that they should be free to show pride and patriotism in their country. If that is what they are doing. Doing so at a major event is ok right? Why not at a high school game? But it IS a high school game between two teams in the same American city. Why not chant for the school? Personally, I have no doubts that some, probably very few, in the audience saw the largely Hispanic presence in the other school and used the chant as a means to taunt and ridicule the other team and their supporting fans. I’m sure more people felt that it was a patriotic display as well.

The Hispanic side maybe shouldn’t be so damned sensitive. Drive around San Antonio and you see more than one or two Mexican flags flying on yard flagpoles, places in town where no one can or wants to speak English. But that has little to do with the events of that night at that basketball game, aside from people demonstrating pride in country and patriotic feelings. Our Hispanic people here are proud of their heritage and show that pride. I don’t see anything wrong with that. I proudly demonstrate my Irish heritage every year during St Patrick’s Day. If I had an Irish flag, I would hoist it, alongside and slightly lower than our American flag. To the Hispanic people I would ask if they are sure that the chant was targeted at them and why would a group of white people chanting “USA” offend you? I am mindful of an event  here in San Antonio where the National Anthem was played and as people in the audience stood, as did I, a Hispanic person did not attend. When I asked why, the person stated that they had a bad leg. Noting that we were on the upper deck of the stadium and had to climb stairs to get there, I reminded myself that in our country, we recognize others rights to not show respect to  our national symbols of pride, and indirectly us, just as we recognize others rights to show respect for our country and for those who have chosen to serve, fight and die in defense of our country.

But the issue here is not patriotic pride and demonstrating it. The issue is people getting offended at the possibility of their being insulted and of people exploiting patriotism to suit their hateful agenda. The issue here is basically a lot of crap. There is a higher lesson to be learned here. I’m not sure if anyone interviewed any of the kids on either team and got their feelings on what happened. We got a full dose of what the “adults” thought on both “sides”. I wish that the people starting the chant would have thought more about what they were broadcasting to the kids both on the court and in the stands. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with demonstrating your patriotic feelings and showing pride in your country. I am right there with you! But using patriotism to spite, antagonize another person or people is disgusting. To exploit racist feelings is repugnant and any adult who teaches children racist habits, thoughts or ideology is in my mind a criminal and at the very least a disgusting coward.  

My bottom line on this incident is that parents, teachers and every mature individual everywhere needs to understand that we have to teach our children a better way. We have to show them that racism, hate and prejudice is wrong. Discrimination of any people is wrong and our actions as mature adults should reflect that. The children learn from us and seeing that kind of activity weighs heavy on young impressionable minds. I have no stomach for racism. I have no patience for intolerance. It is borne of ignorance and hate and it serves no purpose in America, or anywhere, today.  Our country and surely our world will never become a better place until we learn to treat each other better. The fact that this event occurred at a school, demonstrates just how much we have strayed from each other as a country.

Have a Blessed Day Ya’ll!

Related Links:

Local San Antonio News reporting:

LA Times reporting:

Todays “Did Ya Know?”  Its National Girl Scouts Day! In fact, today is their 100th Birthday! The Girl Scouts have done much in that time besides just selling them good cookies. The organization teaches girls many skills and is a good way to help develop and grow your daughters into empowered and capable women leaders of tomorrow!

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