“L’eh Me Splain Sumthin Lucy”
For anyone who has never seen an episode of “I Love Lucy” no matter how unlikely that may be; this title is taken from a line a very familiar character, her husband on and off screen at the time, delivered with his slightly exaggerated accent. Therefore this is my lead into a discussion on race.
I watched the news and saw reactions from the Sports World in regards to yet another young player who got caught on video being” human”. Arguably, he said something stupid, mean, hurtful, insensitive, I could go on. Riley Cooper spurned a debate in my life between the” old die-hard radical” and the “flower child,”read into that comparison what you will. Nearing the Diamond Jubilee Anniversary of life on this planet affords one some very strong, documented, validated reasoning and opinions. It does not however counteract or even dilute the hopes of one junior in chronology, armed with merely a half century + of exposure and experiences. One says, “It will never change, all the years I have been here shows it”. The other says,” It can change, it is changing, and I believe I will see the reality of that change in my lifetime.
He said,”Well it just figures”. I did not tell him young Riley was born and bred in Oklahoma, which would have immediately brought forth the reminder of the 1921 Tulsa Race Riots. I said,” I do believe he is sorry”. Ground-work laid for the healthy, vigorous debate. Before we could get started, after my statement, the smirk and eyes rolling up into his head demonstrated what he thought of MY opinion already. I continued in spite of this though. I do not always think with my heart and emotions as certain individuals would have you believe, for I know this young NFL wide-receiver, apology noted and accepted by HIS teammates, is going to have a LONG season ahead of him to say the least! He will undoubtedly be subject to dirty hits, funny looks, and biased judgement for what he said in a fit of anger with the aid of alcohol. We as a society have a long way to go with race relations, but we do tend to overt displays of this unsavory behavior; John Rocker, Kerry Collins, Mel Gibson, Michael Richards can all attest to this.
However to be fair history has made many folks, senior to our group, draw the conclusions this particular counter part of mine has drawn. He said,” How many times have I told you how they act when they have a little liquor in them. The truth comes out.” As I listened and reflected on how what came out of HIS mouth sounded very familiar; it sounded as though it was coming from a racist, just like ones of whom he detests.
While one element in our society grows tired of hearing about race, the other side of the coin says it is ALL about race, and even though both are extreme I welcome the fact race is coming up at all, for it is at the very least birthing dialogue. This dialogue is not going to be all niceties and proper, for the subject is ugly and violent reaction would be expected (NOTE: I said violent reaction NOT violence). However, when the smoke clears perhaps some real work and solutions can come forth. We cannot continue to ignore that status of race relations in this country. It is clear that leaving the subject alone doesn’t make it get better or even go away and die; it hides, festers and pops out mutated and stronger than before.