Red Sox release statement about multiple incidents of racism at Fenway Park

PC Drunken Friar

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Not busing itself, because, as you say, busing was ordered as a result of racist practices, but I think the *national perception* comes straight from the busing protests in the 70s getting national attention.
Everyone in the country saw this picture:
View attachment 31767
This is an amazing picture and people obviously interpreted it in the most horrific manner.

The actual story is that the black guy, Ted Landsmark had already been knocked down by the white guy. The guy that looks like he is holding Landsmark by his arms is actually helping him up and defended him. The flag holder is not stabbing him, he is waving the flag back and forth.

Interesting that the photographer, Stanley Forman won a Pulitzer two years in a row. For this picture and for

 

Sille Skrub

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Not to go off topic, but have definitely heard a good amount of racist remarks at Gillette including my favorite during the KC game last year when the dude next to me said there's no way the Patriots would ever play a black quarterback. Sigh.
Hell, the amount of booing during a peaceful protest during the national anthem at Gillette will tell you all you need to know about the racism issues we have in this area.
 

bigq

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Not busing itself, because, as you say, busing was ordered as a result of racist practices, but I think the *national perception* comes straight from the busing protests in the 70s getting national attention.
Everyone in the country saw this picture:
View attachment 31767
Ugh. Literally weaponizing the flag. I don’t know if I have seen this picture before but it will now be forever burned into my brain.
 

Minneapolis Millers

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I’ll add another factor into this discussion: brazenness. Having grown up on the East Coast but lived most of my adult life in the Midwest, there are real, regional, cultural differences. My experience has been that Bostonians are far less reserved, as a whole, than many Midwesterners (Chicago is probably an exception). They more often say what’s on their minds, even when the thoughts are repugnant. That’s far less common here in Minneapolis, where the “Minnesota Nice” veneer obscures similar racism.

But people don’t generally think of Minneapolis as racist, even though it’s here in this liberal city, too. Minneapolis is badly segregated, and while the city (and state) do very well on most quality of life indicators, the disparities between whites and blacks on almost every level are massive, and worse than Boston and Massachusetts. There are many reasons for this; for example, the clearly racist real estate practices from the first half+ of the 20th century.

But the racism is less overt. Minneapolitans rarely say the quiet part out loud. I’d be stunned to hear the N-word at Target Field, not because I don’t think the thoughts are there, but because fans here rarely even boo. It’s not like sitting in the bleachers in Philly. All of that seems to feed into perception and shape reality. Of course, the tragedies of George Floyd and before him, Philando Castile and Jamar Clark, are exposing some ugly truths here as well.
 

TonyPenaNeverJuiced

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I loved him but is Ellis Burks *really* worthy of a statue? Seems like effort would be better served by advocating for someone like Green.
100% (and I'm biased by my love of EB). Just tossing out suggestions, hopefully making the point that the Sox have many people deserving recognition.
 

Earthbound64

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This is an amazing picture and people obviously interpreted it in the most horrific manner.

The actual story is that the black guy, Ted Landsmark had already been knocked down by the white guy. The guy that looks like he is holding Landsmark by his arms is actually helping him up and defended him. The flag holder is not stabbing him, he is waving the flag back and forth.
Ugh. Literally weaponizing the flag. I don’t know if I have seen this picture before but it will now be forever burned into my brain.
Interesting juxtaposition.
 

DJnVa

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The flag holder is not stabbing him, he is waving the flag back and forth.
It is correct the flag holder is not stabbing him, but we should not take that to mean he was not attacking him. He was. He was trying to hit him with the flag and was arrested and sentenced to jail for it, although this was suspended.
 

CarolinaBeerGuy

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This is an amazing picture and people obviously interpreted it in the most horrific manner.

The actual story is that the black guy, Ted Landsmark had already been knocked down by the white guy. The guy that looks like he is holding Landsmark by his arms is actually helping him up and defended him. The flag holder is not stabbing him, he is waving the flag back and forth.

Interesting that the photographer, Stanley Forman won a Pulitzer two years in a row. For this picture and for

A little more info on the second picture:

 

Ralphwiggum

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One other thing the Sox could do if they were serious about this is threaten to cut ties with WEEI If they keep trotting out racist assholes for their morning drive show.
 

jose melendez

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One other thing the Sox could do if they were serious about this is threaten to cut ties with WEEI If they keep trotting out racist assholes for their morning drive show.
I have no idea who the morning show is now, but it’s real hard to claim racial progress while doing business with Dennis or kkkallahan.
 

PC Drunken Friar

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It is correct the flag holder is not stabbing him, but we should not take that to mean he was not attacking him. He was. He was trying to hit him with the flag and was arrested and sentenced to jail for it, although this was suspended.
Oh no doubt. Sorry if it came across as I was poo-pooing it.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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One other thing the Sox could do if they were serious about this is threaten to cut ties with WEEI If they keep trotting out racist assholes for their morning drive show.
Callahan has been gone for a year. Minihane too. Dennis has been gone even longer.

I don't recall every hearing anything overtly racist coming out of Greg Hill's mouth. He's a Charlie Baker Republican, not a Trumpista. I haven't listened to him in a while though so I don't know if I can really say that with authority.
 

Ralphwiggum

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Callahan has been gone for a year. Minihane too. Dennis has been gone even longer.

I don't recall every hearing anything overtly racist coming out of Greg Hill's mouth. He's a Charlie Baker Republican, not a Trumpista. I haven't listened to him in a while though so I don't know if I can really say that with authority.
I don’t listen either and if so I stand corrected but my understanding is Hill is Callahan light. Would love to hear his reaction to the Sox statement.
 

Bowhemian

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I don’t listen either and if so I stand corrected but my understanding is Hill is Callahan light. Would love to hear his reaction to the Sox statement.
I haven’t listened in a few months, but I wouldn’t even put Hill and Callahans names in the same paragraph, never mind the same sentence (even though I just did). Yes he is an affluent white guy, but I have never heard anything remotely racist come out of his mouth on the air, ever. And I listened to AAF for 20+ years.
 

Marciano490

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Pretty much every person of color I’ve met socially has told me they think Boston is a racist city. Pretty much every person of color I’ve dated has told me later in the relationship they were wary of hanging out with me because I’m from Boston.

I haven’t lived in Boston for over a decade, but I remember the streets of the city itself being far less diverse than other places I’ve lived, like Philly, DC or NYC. Even though Philly has its own north/south/east/west racial groupings, Rittenhouse Sq. or Walnut Street always seemed to be more diverse than the commons or Newbury.

Part of me thinks that has at least a little to do with Boston being a particularly difficult city to navigate, but maybe that’s by design.

I remember the Fenway of my childhood being very white, but when Pedro and Ortiz would play you’d start to see at least a slightly larger Latinx presence and Dominican flags. Ironically, I lived in the Bronx for a year in a largely Dominican neighborhood and it was Sox flags everywhere.
 

Ralphwiggum

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I haven’t listened in a few months, but I wouldn’t even put Hill and Callahans names in the same paragraph, never mind the same sentence (even though I just did). Yes he is an affluent white guy, but I have never heard anything remotely racist come out of his mouth on the air, ever. And I listened to AAF for 20+ years.
Fair enough. I stand corrected then.
 

Sinistas

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I feel like a big part of Boston's racism problem is tied directly to earlier waves of immigrants being persecuted, and once they managed to integrate into American society, taking a "fuck you, I got mine" attitude. At the same time, the victim mentality didn't go away - I can't tell you the amount of times I've seen some townie bring up "No Irish Need Apply" shit, as if that absolves them from their backwards thinking.
 

santadevil

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One of my questions is this: Why would Boston, of all cities, have such a racist history? It's always had lots of immigrants who have had to come together. It's not a city that has a long history of slavery. It's not a southern location that dealt with Jim Crow.

I mean, accurate history shows that Boston was integral to the early American slave trade.


But Boston outlawed slavery in the early 1780s. Key abolitionists were from Boston. So this isn't me saying Boston *isn't* a racist city. It's me asking why it has such a racist history. Why, of all places, is Boston known for being racist? What is it about Boston?

Anyone have any ideas?
Good article. There was also a link at the end to a Globe Spotlight series on racism in Boston as well: https://apps.bostonglobe.com/spotlight/boston-racism-image-reality/
 

Van Everyman

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Am I missing something? Why are people surprised the Sox confirmed Hunter’s statement? They’ve confirmed before that racial incidents have happened at Fenway. They’ve admitted that Yawkey and the Res Sox had a terrible past with racial issues. They’re owned by Democrats. And we’re in the middle of a reckoning about the treatment of black people by police and society in general.

Why are people shocked the Sox issued a statement about any of this?
 

richgedman'sghost

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I don’t listen either and if so I stand corrected but my understanding is Hill is Callahan light. Would love to hear his reaction to the Sox statement.
Yeah Greg Hill may be boring but he's no racist. As others have said, Hill is a Charlie Baker type Republican. As for the other hosts on the station, Dale Arnold is boring as heck and Lou Merloni might have his faults but racism is not one of them. Adam Keefe is one of the few bright spots on the station and I don't know enough or care about the other hosts. @Ralphwiggum who are the racist hosts at EEI that you speak of? Care to offer some examples?
 

Ralphwiggum

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Yeah Greg Hill may be boring but he's no racist. As others have said, Hill is a Charlie Baker type Republican. As for the other hosts on the station, Dale Arnold is boring as heck and Lou Merloni might have his faults but racism is not one of them. Adam Keefe is one of the few bright spots on the station and I don't know enough or care about the other hosts. @Ralphwiggum who are the racist hosts at EEI that you speak of? Care to offer some examples?
I think I already said I stand corrected if my impression of Hill was incorrect.
 

curly2

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I've said before that as awful as the Sox not signing Jackie Robinson after the tryout, it's hard to kill them for not being first*. But just think about how in 1950, George Digby had a deal worked out with Willie Mays and the front office killed it.

Would having Willie Mays starring in Boston for 20 years, first alongside Ted Williams, then Carl Yastrzemski, have helped the racial climate in Boston? It wouldn't have hurt it. I think they win a Series or two with Mays.

I know Bill Russell was the greatest winner in sports, but baseball was king at that time. Boston needed Willie Mays.

* But if what was alleged to be said actually was said, you CAN kill the team for that.
 

TomTerrific

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As for the other hosts on the station, Dale Arnold is boring as heck and Lou Merloni might have his faults but racism is not one of them.
Dale is boring, yes, but don't let him off the hook so easily. Anyone here remember Dale's impassioned defense of Parcells after the "She'll be fine" quote? Dale argued for days and days on air that there was no way that quote was demeaning to women, rather it was Parcells simply observing that women don't play football.

What a tool.
 

Leather

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I’ll add another factor into this discussion: brazenness. Having grown up on the East Coast but lived most of my adult life in the Midwest, there are real, regional, cultural differences. My experience has been that Bostonians are far less reserved, as a whole, than many Midwesterners (Chicago is probably an exception). They more often say what’s on their minds, even when the thoughts are repugnant. That’s far less common here in Minneapolis, where the “Minnesota Nice” veneer obscures similar racism.

But people don’t generally think of Minneapolis as racist, even though it’s here in this liberal city, too. Minneapolis is badly segregated, and while the city (and state) do very well on most quality of life indicators, the disparities between whites and blacks on almost every level are massive, and worse than Boston and Massachusetts. There are many reasons for this; for example, the clearly racist real estate practices from the first half+ of the 20th century.

But the racism is less overt. Minneapolitans rarely say the quiet part out loud. I’d be stunned to hear the N-word at Target Field, not because I don’t think the thoughts are there, but because fans here rarely even boo. It’s not like sitting in the bleachers in Philly. All of that seems to feed into perception and shape reality. Of course, the tragedies of George Floyd and before him, Philando Castile and Jamar Clark, are exposing some ugly truths here as well.
The MPLS schools situation is a great example. Minneapolis public schools have one of the biggest achievement gaps between whites and blacks in the nation. The city recently proposed (and passed) a redistricting plan that essentially moves all magnet schools to the center of the city so that the heavily-minority areas (namely North Minneapolis) can access them more easily (there's also some money saving reasons in there due to busing, but helping to close the racial achievement gap is really the thrust of the redistricting).

Now, my kids currently go to one of the schools that will lose its magnet status, so they will likely have to change schools and go to a "lesser" elementary starting in 2 years. My view (and my wife's view) is that this is a sad inconvenience for our kids, but any alleged drop-off to our neighborhood school is pretty marginal and it's in the service of a good cause, so "oh well." I know other parents who feel the same way. "Aw shucks, that's too bad." kind of thing. We believe that helping close the achievement gap is important, and our kids will be fine.

But there is a vocal minority of parents who, although they surely identify as city-dwelling, bike-riding, diversity-loving, liberals, are absolutely infuriated by this plan. The fact that their kids have to go to a *marginally* "lesser" school in order to help...OTHER PEOPLE...is just beyond the pale to them. The arguments they make are 100% steeped in callous indifference and drip with white privilege. And frankly, I'm sort of relieved I won't have to bump elbows with them at school events anymore.

"My kid likes her school. Why should WE have to give up our magnet when WE moved here just two years ago to send her there?"
"Why are they ruining their GOOD schools to make their BAD schools go from "awful" to "slightly less awful?!""
"If this passes, I am leaving Minneapolis because it's obvious they don't care about me!"

That sort of stuff. So yeah: there's a lot of performative progressivism going on here. It's still a liberal city, but not as liberal as lots of people would like to think (which is true for pretty much everywhere, of course).
 

Minneapolis Millers

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Yeah, those are the same kinds of sentiments that led to the busing riots 45+ years ago. Sad.

But hey, if your kids go to a “lesser school” and do poorly, you’ll be helping address the achievement gap from the other end. Silver lining! ;)

I'm glad my kids are through the system...
 

LoweTek

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I work with a guy who lives in a Minneapolis suburb. In a social conversation I asked him if he had been impacted by any of the unrest. He immediately went into a rant about being pissed about people "...martyring this guy when he had a long criminal record and Fentanyl in his system.."

I said, "He was not resisting! He should die for that?"

He said, "I just don't think this guy should be martyred. This is not a good guy..."

I ended the conversation.

Conclusion: Minneapolis definitely has work to do, at least as much as Boston.
 

bagwell1

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I work with a guy who lives in a Minneapolis suburb. In a social conversation I asked him if he had been impacted by any of the unrest. He immediately went into a rant about being pissed about people "...martyring this guy when he had a long criminal record and Fentanyl in his system.."

I said, "He was not resisting! He should die for that?"

He said, "I just don't think this guy should be martyred. This is not a good guy..."

I ended the conversation.

Conclusion: Minneapolis definitely has work to do, at least as much as Boston.
I will probably regret this but I have to say I find it interesting that you heard “ shouldn’t be a martyr “ and took that to mean that the guy didn’t care about the lack of resistance or that it was ok that Floyd died.
Whether you agree or disagree on the martyr opinion is one thing..or maybe you think the guy should have been focusing on the bigger picture or other aspects which I understand .
However, If you don’t recognize that you made quite a leap there, then you may need a little work too.

Of course, you may have left out part of what the guy said ...but based upon what you provided , my conclusion was that it was a perfect example of why it is so difficult to have a conversation (where parties can think about something differently )about a variety of issues ( not just racial) these days.

Please note I don’t necessarily disagree with your conclusion.I just didn’t love how you got there :)
 

richgedman'sghost

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Yeah @LoweTek I agree with your general consensus but I also think you probably left something out of the conversation. I wouldn't necessarily label the guy a racist based on this limited conversation. It's so hard to talk on phone or by text since you cannot see a person's face to really judge intent. Some subjects such as race or religion should probably be left untouched unless you are meeting in person.
Tlr... I hope you didn't sprain your ankle jumping to your conclusion. It's hard to judge intent unless you know the person. Has your colleague made racist comments in the past?
 

BaseballJones

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I'm probably going to regret this too, but I'm going to use LoweTek's story as a jumping off point for something broader that I hope we can all learn from. I often ask people what their goal is when they're speaking to someone, what the goal of communication is, and quite regularly, I get this answer: "To say what I'm trying to say."

Which is normal, but, of course, 100% wrong. The goal of communication, as the speaker (or writer, as the case may be), is to be understood. The goal of communication, as the listener (or reader), is to understand. It's not "to say what I'm trying to say", because it only takes you as the communicator into account, and doesn't take into account that your audience may understand the world very differently from you.

Fun example:

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Urg-EqR-pHc


Marty uses the word "heavy" and he means "whoa, this is serious". Doc Brown hears the word "heavy" and to him, it refers to weight, and so he responds by asking about the earth's gravitational pull. Marty is like...Uh, what!?

They're both using the same word, but understanding completely different things by it.

Now take two phrases that often get used. A black person says to a white person, "Defund the police". To many whites, that term instantly implies "eliminating the police". Because the word "defund" means to them, "taking away all funding", which would mean eliminating. For example, consider the 2019 federal bill "Defund Planned Parenthood Act of 2019", which would have taken away all federal funding from PP, leaving them on their own to survive financially (which I'm sure the proponents of that bill hoped they couldn't do). So it's perfectly reasonable for someone to hear the phrase "defund the police" and think it means, "take away all funding for the police", which would mean it goes bye-bye.

But that's not what *most* (not all, but most) people mean by "defund the police". Usually, when people use that phrase, it means shifting funding around, reprioritizing what the police do, etc.

Now another phrase. A white person says to a black person, "I don't see color". To many blacks, that is offensive, because to them it means, "You don't even SEE me for who I am...one of the most core aspects of who I am as a person, you don't even recognize." It feels dehumanizing. But that's generally not what *most* people mean when they say that. When they say that, most people mean something like, "I won't judge you as a person by the color of your skin; rather, I'll try to treat you equally and fairly." But the phrase isn't heard by an African-American that way.

What happens all too often is that people don't seek to be understood, nor do they seek to understand. We say what we intend to say, and if the other person hears and understands something different, we get offended - "I'm sorry you feel that way; I didn't mean any offense; that's your problem." And when we listen, we don't stop to ask, "Ok, I heard you say, 'defund the police'...can you tell me what you mean by that?" or, "can you share a little more what you mean by 'I don't see color', so I can understand you a little better?" We just jump to whatever conclusion hits us first.

Communication can be HARD WORK. And too often today, we don't even take the time to ask questions and find out what people really mean to say, and we also don't take the time to think about the words we're speaking to see if they'll be understood as we intend for them.

Of course, sometimes we get offended because we understand perfectly well what someone is trying to say, and what they say is meant to be offensive. But sometimes it's not, but we get offended anyway.

Conversations should be more like this:

"Oh, so when you say 'I don't see color', you just mean that you're not judging me or thinking less of me because I'm black." "Right, exactly." "Oh, ok, that makes sense. Let me encourage you to not use that phrase though, because here's how it can be felt by people of color sometimes." "Oh, I didn't realize that. I'll try to remember that next time."

And less like this:

"Defund the police? What are you out of your f***ing mind? What are you some sort of anarchist?" "That's not exactly what I mean --" "Yes it is. You said, 'DEFUND THE POLICE' - you want to eliminate the police."

In today's instant communication world, with far less interpersonal relationship and far more "we can just read tweets of what people are saying and then make our own judgments about it without really even knowing the person", the need for quality communication, for people to put in the hard work of saying things to be understood, and seeking to understand, has never been greater.

BTW, I'm totally guilty of this lots of times too, for the same reason as everyone else...this takes effort, and sometimes I just don't want to put in the effort. Even writing this post, I'm sure I'm not saying things in a way that make sense to everyone, and so I'm probably failing in the very point I'm trying to make.
 

Twilight

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LoweTek's colleague forgets that a martyr is killed because of their beliefs. George Floyd was not killed because of his beliefs. He was not killed because he had fentanyl in his system, or because of his criminal record. George Floyd was killed because he was black.

Pointing out his criminal record or the fentanyl sounds to me like pointing out a rape victim was wearing revealing clothes. I agree with LoweTek--Minneapolis has work to do.

As do we all, however. Like the work that BaseballJones describes.
 

LoweTek

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Well, I had no idea my comments would generate quite so much analysis. I just meant to convey the facts of the conversation (albeit condensed) and imply this person, by being angry Floyd was a being held up as a "Martyr" was a little over the top. I never would have thought of it. An example of repeated incidents of unjustified police violence yes. A martyr, wrong. Thus my theory about Minneapolis having some work to do.
 

MartyBC

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Well now sports fans know how their shitty behavior can negatively impact their teams


In the funny/not funny department According to this STL was not on the list but St Louisans know St Louis is a very segregated community. That is very old news. No way Hunter would have liked that.

Hunter could have been very successful in Boston. I would have liked to see him on that team.
 

Ale Xander

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Well now sports fans know how their shitty behavior can negatively impact their teams


In the funny/not funny department According to this STL was not on the list but St Louisans know St Louis is a very segregated community. That is very old news. No way Hunter would have liked that.

Hunter could have been very successful in Boston. I would have liked to see him on that team.
Maybe if he learned to play the RF wall better.

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HYhpfIeO0-E
 

cannonball 1729

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Well now sports fans know how their shitty behavior can negatively impact their teams


In the funny/not funny department According to this STL was not on the list but St Louisans know St Louis is a very segregated community. That is very old news. No way Hunter would have liked that.

Hunter could have been very successful in Boston. I would have liked to see him on that team.
Wait, that's the guy who called black Latino players "impostors," said he would have found it really hard to be on a team with a gay player, and cut anti-gay marriage ads for the governor of Arkansas?

I'm perfectly happy to not have him on my team.
 

section15

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Are Celtics crowds any different? I've generally assumed that the cultural history of the Celtics -- the first all-black starting lineup -- was in part a reaction to the cultural history of the Red Sox -- super racist team and therefore fans. If you were a Cs fan in the 60s, surely you were buying into the opposite vision for a sports team from the Sox? But I'd bet the lower level of a Cs game is all corporate $ now, which in turn is probably very, very white. [I moved away in the 90s.]

The thing that bugs me about "Boston is so racist!" is when it comes from people who aren't from there, who hold it up as a way of congratulating themselves for being less racist. That's a way to avoid the problem, which is of course everywhere. Fuck that.
It's a mix.

The Celtics are, arguably, and historically, the most progressive organization in all of professional sports in this country.

After the BAA-NBL merger, in which all African-Americans were out of the NBL, the Celtics raised holy hell by drafting Chuck Cooper. One NBA owner was livid - but for business reasons = the NBA needed the Harlem Globetrotters' public appearances to attract fans to the NBA and there was fear that the Globies might break their business ties with the NBA over this.

Cooper signed with the Celtics, Earl Lloyd with the (now defunct) Washington Capitols, and Nate Clifton with the Knicks. Lloyd was the first black NBA player to appear in a game but that was due to scheduling.

The Celtics were also the first to integrate roommates on the road, first to have an African-American captain (Russell) and coach (Russell) - and all-starting five of color.

The question that needs to be answered is when tickets were cheap - like $2 cheap - you did see black people at the games - but not in the numbers you'd expect. There were some who were afraid to go to the old Garden.
 

Manuel Aristides

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As long as the morse code for Tom Yawkey is still up, it's hard to see this kind of statement as anything but corporate positioning.
 

Leather

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I work with a guy who lives in a Minneapolis suburb. In a social conversation I asked him if he had been impacted by any of the unrest. He immediately went into a rant about being pissed about people "...martyring this guy when he had a long criminal record and Fentanyl in his system.."

I said, "He was not resisting! He should die for that?"

He said, "I just don't think this guy should be martyred. This is not a good guy..."

I ended the conversation.

Conclusion: Minneapolis definitely has work to do, at least as much as Boston.
A bit late on this, but: what suburb? There's the actual Twin Cities and most of the inner-ring suburbs, and then there's the outer ring suburbs that are bright red and hideously intolerant, and are convinced that the Twin Cities are full of black super predators.

Minneapolis obviously has problems (every city has problems with race, to varying degrees). I think in many ways it's similar to Boston in that a healthy majority of residents in the actual metro are aware of the problems and want to fix them, but a vocal group of people who *may not even live in the cities* are more vocal in their resistance to even acknowledging there is a problem, which gives the impression that the entire area is obliviously racist. It sucks, but that's basically a microcosm of the entire country right now. It's like a lagging effect of white flight and outdated perceptions of city life from people who don't interact with black people unless they come into town for a Twins game.
 
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Minneapolis Millers

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A bit late on this, but: what suburb? There's the actual Twin Cities and most of the inner-ring suburbs, and then there's the outer ring suburbs that are bright red and hideously intolerant, and are convinced that the Twin Cities are full of black super predators.
Yup. That’s how the same state can send both Keith Ellison and Michelle Bachman to Congress...
 

threecy

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The Boston Globe is giving this story a good leaving alone:

Attorney seeking settlements in Red Sox sexual abuse cases - ESPN

"Torii Hunter's experience is real," the team said in a June 10 Twitter post, adding that there were at least seven incidents as recently as last year in which fans used racial slurs. The team promised to do a better job dealing with racism: "As we identify how we can do better, please know we are listening."

Those words rang hollow for more than a dozen Black men who have spent the past several years trying to get the Red Sox to listen to their claims that they were sexually abused by a former Red Sox clubhouse manager who died in 2005.
Armstrong said former Red Sox first baseman George Scott, known as the "Boomer," frequently told him to "stay away from Fitzy." Scott died seven years ago.
 

CaptainLaddie

dj paul pfieffer
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Sep 6, 2004
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I'm probably going to regret this too, but I'm going to use LoweTek's story as a jumping off point for something broader that I hope we can all learn from. I often ask people what their goal is when they're speaking to someone, what the goal of communication is, and quite regularly, I get this answer: "To say what I'm trying to say."

Which is normal, but, of course, 100% wrong. The goal of communication, as the speaker (or writer, as the case may be), is to be understood. The goal of communication, as the listener (or reader), is to understand. It's not "to say what I'm trying to say", because it only takes you as the communicator into account, and doesn't take into account that your audience may understand the world very differently from you.

Fun example:

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Urg-EqR-pHc


Marty uses the word "heavy" and he means "whoa, this is serious". Doc Brown hears the word "heavy" and to him, it refers to weight, and so he responds by asking about the earth's gravitational pull. Marty is like...Uh, what!?

They're both using the same word, but understanding completely different things by it.

Now take two phrases that often get used. A black person says to a white person, "Defund the police". To many whites, that term instantly implies "eliminating the police". Because the word "defund" means to them, "taking away all funding", which would mean eliminating. For example, consider the 2019 federal bill "Defund Planned Parenthood Act of 2019", which would have taken away all federal funding from PP, leaving them on their own to survive financially (which I'm sure the proponents of that bill hoped they couldn't do). So it's perfectly reasonable for someone to hear the phrase "defund the police" and think it means, "take away all funding for the police", which would mean it goes bye-bye.

But that's not what *most* (not all, but most) people mean by "defund the police". Usually, when people use that phrase, it means shifting funding around, reprioritizing what the police do, etc.

Now another phrase. A white person says to a black person, "I don't see color". To many blacks, that is offensive, because to them it means, "You don't even SEE me for who I am...one of the most core aspects of who I am as a person, you don't even recognize." It feels dehumanizing. But that's generally not what *most* people mean when they say that. When they say that, most people mean something like, "I won't judge you as a person by the color of your skin; rather, I'll try to treat you equally and fairly." But the phrase isn't heard by an African-American that way.

What happens all too often is that people don't seek to be understood, nor do they seek to understand. We say what we intend to say, and if the other person hears and understands something different, we get offended - "I'm sorry you feel that way; I didn't mean any offense; that's your problem." And when we listen, we don't stop to ask, "Ok, I heard you say, 'defund the police'...can you tell me what you mean by that?" or, "can you share a little more what you mean by 'I don't see color', so I can understand you a little better?" We just jump to whatever conclusion hits us first.

Communication can be HARD WORK. And too often today, we don't even take the time to ask questions and find out what people really mean to say, and we also don't take the time to think about the words we're speaking to see if they'll be understood as we intend for them.

Of course, sometimes we get offended because we understand perfectly well what someone is trying to say, and what they say is meant to be offensive. But sometimes it's not, but we get offended anyway.

Conversations should be more like this:

"Oh, so when you say 'I don't see color', you just mean that you're not judging me or thinking less of me because I'm black." "Right, exactly." "Oh, ok, that makes sense. Let me encourage you to not use that phrase though, because here's how it can be felt by people of color sometimes." "Oh, I didn't realize that. I'll try to remember that next time."

And less like this:

"Defund the police? What are you out of your f***ing mind? What are you some sort of anarchist?" "That's not exactly what I mean --" "Yes it is. You said, 'DEFUND THE POLICE' - you want to eliminate the police."

In today's instant communication world, with far less interpersonal relationship and far more "we can just read tweets of what people are saying and then make our own judgments about it without really even knowing the person", the need for quality communication, for people to put in the hard work of saying things to be understood, and seeking to understand, has never been greater.

BTW, I'm totally guilty of this lots of times too, for the same reason as everyone else...this takes effort, and sometimes I just don't want to put in the effort. Even writing this post, I'm sure I'm not saying things in a way that make sense to everyone, and so I'm probably failing in the very point I'm trying to make.
What a tremendous post. Thank you so much, really. This is fantastic.
 

threecy

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Sep 1, 2006
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