Would you rather be ignored or abused? OK that’s the wrong question as I’d like you to think what it would be like to be ignored AND abused? The question comes due to a football game in Chicago but this isn’t really about football or Chicago. No it is about Responsibility and America.
There is the behavior of this One fan…
“Yeah,” Boyd said. “So as we’re setting up to do the interview, the
shorter Bears fan comes up, screaming, `Katrina! Katrina!’ He must’ve
been drunk. I turned and said, `Hey, I’m trying to work here.’ And
that’s when he pushes me and says it. He says the N-word. He dropped it
right on me.
“He pushes me and I push back, there wasn’t any
tape, but the guys in the [TV control] booth could see it. You could
say there was some pushing going on. He kept saying it, ugly, loud, the
N-word. Yelling it.”
Then there are accounts of Saints fans being taunted with Katrina. Such as this…
“These guys had been taunting us about Katrina the
entire time,” the Saints fan said.
“In my section, somebody asked me, ‘Oh did you
live down there.’ I said, ‘I had 11 feet of water
in my house.’ ‘Well, too bad you didn’t
Ok drunks at a game? Well go check out the comments to a piece by Eric Zorn in the Chicago Trib
in which he asked how could it be that no one took that sign from
from the bearer and called for apologies to New Orleans. There are
commenters who say yeah the sign was bad BUT… then insert
rationalization… Saints fans were bad too, it’s football so no big
deal quit whining, just one drunk guy.
That sign also hung in the stands during the game…
Then there are the offensively ignorant comments such as…”Can someone please explain to me how people who are
still living in FEMA trailers are able to afford Saints season tickets?
Call me cynical, but I hardly think going to a football game should be
a priority when you’re receiving government assistance.”
There were a few and only a few who flat out said it was wrong, they
were ashamed and they were sorry. Honestly I do believe there are many
more good folk in Chicago who would say Katrina taunting was over the
line. But the ignorant, offensive and blaming of the victim comments
from Chicago are no different than what I see elsewhere when there is a
New Orleans story.
Face it, this isn’t just Chicago. It isn’t just football. Read this from Lolis Eric Elie of the Times Picayune…
The taunts from Chicago Bears fans went beyond statements of physical
superiority or on-field dominance. These taunts reflected the extent to
which many Americans resent the people of post-Katrina New Orleans.
It’s as if they blame us for surviving the disaster that shamed America on the world stage.
There it is.
515 days ago Americans were subjected to the stark realities of
America…poverty, racism, disfunctional government…and were shamed.
It was not owned. It was not changed. Instead what ensued was a
concerted effort to blame the victim until they are no longer a victim
then they could be ignored. Should the matter arise again just Repeat
There is something so very wrong in this that I struggle to even
write of it. I know if this could happen to them it could happen to any
of us. Think of the worst stereotype of your city and that will be used
I question where is responsibility in America? Is it always the next
guy’s fault and their mess to clean up? When is it mine? What should I
do? What should I realistically expect and demand of my fellow
Americans? How much can be ignored? How much ignorance, blame and abuse
can be tolerated until we stand up and say Enough?
Hagel called upon his colleagues to do your job or go sell shoes and
I ask when do each of us do the same…take responsibility for the job
of being Americans? I don’t have the answer and I suspect people don’t
even want to hear the question. That’s the problem and it’s a sad sad
commentary on America at present.