The discussion of the Democrat and Republican teams started by
Shirley says that "when the average white American male tunes into TNT sometime between October and June, he would very much like to see another average white American male on the basketball court. Most of the time, he doesn't. But in the few situations that he does, he is going to root for that player. That's the way it is. We like to see people who look like us succeed."
Pollack doesn't understand, saying "I guess you could use, as comparison, how Jews felt about Hank Greenberg and Sandy Koufax in their primes. But you could also argue that when Greenberg and Koufax played baseball, especially Greenberg, Jews weren't considered mainstream "white." Feeling pride for their accomplishments was akin to feeling boricua pride, or Dominican pride."
It is that section that bothers me the most. He seems to suggest that you can be happy for someone of your race (if that race is a minority race) succeeding unless you are “mainstream ‘white.’”
I will admit that I was thrilled to watch Duke Lacrosse advance to the Final Four because Duke is a program that was brought down last year by the prejudicial minds of those who believe that the wealthy, white, prep school elite are all racists and misogynists. While my teacher’s salary has certainly cast a shadow on my qualifications, I remain a member white, prep-school elite type. I coach lacrosse at a prep school, so maybe that makes up for the poverty thing.
When Duke advanced yesterday, I felt a proud, “you can’t hold them down” attitude rising. I realize the inherent awkwardness of suggesting that white, wealthy, well-educated men were being “held down,” but I’m not sure how else to suggest it. Had a black basketball player from Duke been accused of rape by a white stripper, that guy would be railroaded in a similar manner for sure. The only difference is that I think there would have been less media coverage. Oh, and he probably wouldn’t have been acquitted even though he was innocent. That’s a racism tale for another day. The comparison that I want to make is that American culture has evolved, or devolved, depending on your perspective, to the point that being a perceived member of the ruling class makes you a target for prejudicial media treatment and, worse, mistreatment by the legal system. Cough…Nifong…Cough.
When that happens, I feel fine rooting for Duke. Nothing will be able to remove the stain that was irresponsibly put on the three players falsely accused by the police and convicted by the media. But the stain on the program can be lightened by avoiding any disciplinary issues while winning a national title. Duke’s players this year served 570 hours of community service, had no disciplinary infractions on campus, and are (hopefully) on their way to proving themselves to be the best team in the country. That makes me happy - to see my brothers succeed.
But white guys specifically calling other white guys “their brother” smacks of late night meetings and white robes. It’s not just me who hears it that way, right?