Tonight my racism chase takes me to Kansas, Ohio, and in the boardroom of a corporation that does business here in America.
Since it’s the state closest to me, I will start in Ohio. This is where a basketball team decided that it was cool to have racist unis and compete in a public league.
“A boys basketball team has been kicked out of a Cincinnati-area recreational hoops league for wearing uniforms bearing a sexually suggestive team name on the front and racially objectionable names on the back.
Four weeks into the Cincinnati Premier Youth Basketball League’s season, parents of players on a team from West Clermont, Ohio, saw that the team from Kings Mills, Ohio, against whom their children were playing was named “The Wet Dream Team.” They also noticed that the names on the backs of the high-school-aged boys’ jerseys included phrases like “Knee Grow” and “Coon.”
Tony Rue, a parent of a West Clermont
player, highlighted the eyebrow-raising jerseys in a lengthy Facebook post
asking how such attire, and such a team name, was deemed appropriate for a league that hosts players from grades two through 12.
“By no means are we perfect parents or assume our teenage boys are innocent and don’t speak of things like this, but I could never imagine allowing my teenage son to represent his school and league in this manner, let alone representing our family with such filth,” Rue wrote
. “[…] There is enough hate, bullying, and aggressive behavior in the world that these kids, parents, and schools shouldn’t have to deal with bigotry and lewd innuendos on jerseys and in team names in a school district represented recreational basketball league. This isn’t a typo, this isn’t a mistake, these are ideas that were thought of, discussed, agreed upon by adults and kids alike, printed on uniforms, social media accounts registered and manned and no one thought this was a bad idea or inappropriate?”
“It was so blatant that it had to be fake,” Rue later told Chris Mayhew of the Cincinnati Enquirer
. “Sadly it wasn’t.”
So Rue raised a flag with a rep for the youth league, wondering how this team was being allowed to play with stuff like this written on its uniforms.
“I think he called people above him, and about midway through the second quarter, he came and got the refs’ attention and told him the game was over,” Rue told Karin Johnson of Cincinnati NBC affiliate WLWT-TV
. “It was called. We weren’t going to be a part of it.”
And now, the “Wet Dream Team” won’t be, either.
“CPYBL was developed to provide the best possible basketball experience for the youth of our communities and their families and has always been committed to bringing a positive experience to all of our members,” wrote Cincinnati Premier Youth Basketball League spokesman Ben Goodyear in a statement to the Enquirer
. “Based on the information that we received, the actions and conduct of the team in question did not comply with our stated mission and expected standards and that team has, therefore, been dismissed from our league.”
They’ve also been “restricted from any further use of district facilities,” according to a spokesperson for the Kings Local School District, who emphasized that this team of students and the league in which they were playing isn’t affiliated with the district itself.
“Kings Local Schools strongly condemns any type of hateful and racist commentary,” wrote
spokesperson Dawn Gould. “This behavior is in no way welcome or tolerated in our schools and community.”
The team’s coach, Walt Gill,
apologized “to anyone that was offended by the jerseys” in a statement to WLWT
. He noted that the team “offered to cover them up or change,” but that the league still chose to eject the team, “and we have accepted that decision.”
The incident has drawn the attention of the Cincinnati chapter of the NAACP, which wants to have a chat with the people in charge of the rec league.
“This is a teachable moment for [the teen players] to understand how these words are hurtful,” Cincinnati NAACP first vice president Joe Mallory told Cincinnati Fox affiliate WXIX-TV. “They’re inflammatory, and they’re divisive to the entire community. […] It’s everybody’s problem. It’s everybody’s business that when these things happen we all stand up and speak out on it.” [Source]
This is 2018, right? And we are still having “teachable moments” about race?
Next, I will go Kansas, and after you read this story, you will see why Dorothy dreamed about getting out.
“Put this in your pipe and smoke it: A Kansas lawmaker thinks marijuana should be illegal because he said black people are genetically unable to handle its effects.
State Rep. Steve Alford (R)
spoke out on Saturday against legalizing pot using the type of racist “logic” commonly heard when “Reefer Madness
” was considered a serious documentary.
“What you really need to do is go back in the ’30s, when they outlawed all types of drugs in Kansas [and] across the United States,” Alford said, according to the Garden City Telegram. “One of the reasons why, I hate to say it, was that the African-Americans, they were basically users
and they basically responded the worst off to those drugs just because of their character makeup, their genetics and that.”
Kansas is one of the few states that still hasn’t legalized some form of medical marijuana, according to the Associated Press.
The Telegram pointed out that Alford’s comments appeared to be based on the theories of Harry Anslinger, the founding commissioner of what was then called the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, which was behind the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937.
Some of the very racist and hysterically anti-cannabis quotes
attributed to the agency include these whoppers:
- “Reefer makes darkies think they’re as good as white men.”
- “There are 100,000 total marijuana smokers in the U.S., and most are Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos and entertainers. Their Satanic music, jazz and swing result from marijuana use. This marijuana causes white women to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers and any others.”
- “Marijuana is an addictive drug which produces in its users insanity, criminality, and death.”
Although Alford, who represents a district in western Kansas, stood by his remarks when questioned after the meeting, he was unable to cite a specific source for his so-called science to the Telegram. However, he admitted he shouldn’t have singled out African-Americans.
“There are certain groups of people, their genetics, the way their makeup is, the chemicals will affect them differently,” Alford insisted. “What I should have said was drugs affect people differently, instead of being more specific.”
On Monday, Alford denied that his remarks were racist to AP: “To me, that’s neutral. Basically, I got called a racist, which I’m really not, and it’s just the way people — the interpretation of people. To me, I’m trying to look at what’s really the best for Kansas.”
Carl Brewer, a Democratic candidate for governor, said Alford’s comments were inappropriate for a politician in 2018.” [Source]
Finally, we all know about H&M’s monkey issue
by now. [See image above]
What would possess a company to make such a tone-deaf decision?
And yet, we see it time and time again with companies like this.
“We understand that many people are upset about the image. We, who work at H&M, can only agree. We are deeply sorry that the picture was taken, and we also regret the actual print,” H&M said. “Therefore, we have not only removed the image from our channels, but also the garment from our product offering globally.”
The company continued, “It is obvious that our routines have not been followed properly. This is without any doubt. We will thoroughly investigate why this happened to prevent this type of mistake from happening again.”
I will tell you how to “prevent” this type of stuff from happening again: Put people of color in actual decision making positions.
Head- scratching racism.