• People Talk and My Ear Bleeds


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    Thursday, March 29, 2007

    Define Anti-Semite

    How is this anti-Semetic:

    "They got a lot of power in this world, you know what I mean? Which I think is great," Richardson told The Times Union on Tuesday. "I don't think there's nothing wrong with it. If you look in most professional sports, they're run by Jewish people. If you look at a lot of most successful corporations and stuff, more businesses, they're run by Jewish. It's not a knock, but they are some crafty people."

    That's what Michael Ray Richardson, ex-NBA player and current CBA coach of the Albany Patroons, said to a newspaper. The result? The CBA suspended him.

    Now the beauty of MSM is that they never give you all the facts--no links to the original interview, etc., so we can never know how in- or out-of-context that quote is, but looking at it on face value, it seems pretty inocuous. Is "crafty" the word they're mad about? I've always taken it as a compliment to be crafty, but it could possibly be taken the other way.

    Otherwise, I don't see how his comments are anti-Semitic. If he replaced "Jewish" with "White" or even "American" in his statement, would he have been fined?

    I'm all for discouraging racial slurs -- I've grown up in the South and I've seen/heard them many a time. This one just seems a little overboard given the info at hand.

    1 comment:

    xanghe said...

    Maybe it was his grammar. :)
    Seriously, it takes a lot of guesswork to understand what caused offense, especially if we've only got a snippet of his remarks.
    But I'm going to guess anyway. I don't think it's any specific terminology, but more of the tone of the statement, or perhaps the overall tone of the interview. For example, we can guess at the question/context that sparked this comment by looking at what he's trying to say. "They got a lot of power...which I think is great...I don't think there's nothing wrong with it...it's not a knock." In such a short comment, he states three times that he's "ok" with the Jews being powerful - I'm led to believe that he's trying to justify previous negative remarks he made against Jewish people, otherwise why would he go to such lengths to convince us that he's "ok" with Jewish corporate power? Why would he "think [it] is great" or "think there's nothing wrong with it" if the overall tone of the interview had been positive? Why is the fact that the Jewish are powerful "not a knock" if there had not been other "knocks" in his previous remarks in the interview?
    Now, if the problem is the word "crafty," we can perhaps see why. He gives us three reasons to not be alarmed at Jewish power: it's great, there's nothing wrong with it and it's not a knock. However, he ends it with a "but." His "but" shows the true intention of his comment, that although it's not a knock that's Jews are successful, they are still _______. He used crafty, but in the context of his statement, almost any adjective could fill his purpose of labeling/stereotyping Jews in a negative light. Now if he had used "because" instead instead of "but" then we are looking at the opposite. "It's not a knock that Jews are successfull because ________." Again, almost any adjective would do, and it will paint Jews positively.
    Pardon my long-windedness, it takes a lot of words for me to explain myself when I'm only guessing.