Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Elephant in the Gym

Two weeks ago, I created a small controversy when I raised the question of racism within the Detroit Catholic League. A number of people commented on my post - some in favor of what I wrote, others vehemently opposed - and a number of those who were critical thought that I had acted inappropriately in "airing dirty laundry." Still others thought my post was simply a result of sour grapes: U of D Jesuit had lost and I was  lashing out.

Today in the Detroit News, an article about another Catholic League team raises the specter of racism.  We tried, several times, to draw attention to the issues of racism that we have observed within the Catholic League's sporting events.Our entreaties, made weeks before the event written about, seem to have fallen on deaf ears.

Terry Foster, of the Detroit News, reports:

King was on its way to a 72-50 blowout in the Class A regionals at Cass Tech when King fans chanted, "Nah! Nah! Nah! Nah! Heyyy! Good byeeee."

The chants went back and forth until the DeLaSalle student section took it to another level — "We've got futures. We've got futures."

Later they chanted: "Flip our burgers. And you are stupid."
 You can read the entire article here.

When I raised the issue, I was told I was crazy and that I was doing "irreparable damage" to the reputation of the Catholic League. There was, in many of the comments, a hint that race was not an issue at all and that I was blowing things out of proportion. Yet, here is a Tweet from one of the students in attendance at the game

Rick: hilarious moment when our student section chirps "flip our burgers" and "we have futures" at Detroit King
The specter of racism is not one easy to exorcise and it will continue to plague our institutions if we do not face it courageously through dialogue and a quest for mutual understanding.

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