Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Adam Jones and the "n" word

As a young child I grew up in what could be called a "Leave it to Beaver" neighborhood. There was no crime, save for a few of us hooligans that soaped some windows on Devil's night. Well OK, some of the same "thugs" may have had the audacity to throw a snowball or three at cars during the winter months. Call us a regular gang of vandals. Guilty, Your Honor.

Though I was a "city boy", in a diverse one at that, my early life was quite sheltered by fate placing me in such a neighborhood. There was the "other side of town", but none of us ever ventured there. Basically, we were ignorant of the ways of others.

Not until junior high school did I get a taste of "diversity". It was like a whole new world opening up and everybody pretty much got along, no matter where they were from.

That all changed in high school. Back then, my school was roughly split evenly between blacks and whites, with a smattering of Latinos and Asians added to the mix. I didn't want any problems, just go to school, study some, goof off some, try and impress a girl here and there -- just the usual teenager stuff.

But that wasn't going to work. For whatever reasons, there were those -- on both sides -- that hated each other, just because they happened to be of a different color. The reality of racial tension, and sometimes the resulting violence, became very real, very fast in my world. Trying to "turn the other cheek" from the taunts and physical provocations merely labelled one as an "easy mark", that could be abused at will. Not a good scenario for an adolescent boy to be in.

So like it or not, one had to learn how to fight back or be swarmed under. Looking back, not for one second do I think any of it was right -- but it was the reality of the times. Therefore, I wound up taking a few whuppings, but also dishing them out. I never went looking for trouble, but got to the point where I wasn't afraid to confront it either. It was the "respect" factor, and had to be earned, which oftentimes came with some pain and injury, both given and taken. To this day, I still don't think my parents were ever fully aware of some of the things that transpired in the stairwells, locker rooms, parking lots, and surrounding areas of that high school. Things quite often got ugly for no other apparent reason than people of different colors and backgrounds wanting to wreak havoc on each other. Blind, ignorant hatred at it's finest -- or worst.

I suspect it has always been that way among the human species, and likely always will be. This faction hates that faction, for no apparent reason other than they always have. How many movies have been made with the cowboys and indians hating each other? The jews vs arabs is a feud that goes back centuries -- though they're both originally from the same "tribe". Why is it that Mexicans and Puerto Ricans seemingly despise each other? Among Islamics, millions have died over a difference of opinion regarding their same book of worship, and continue to do so. Republicans hate Democrats and vice-versa. Liberals hate conservatives. Ditto. The list of hatred between this tribe or that is long indeed. They probably don't even know why. They just do. And while few might hate Sara Lee, unless they had an allergic reaction to a cheesecake or something, it's likely also true that not everybody exactly "loved Raymond" either.

Enter Adam Jones, of the Baltimore Orioles. He's doing some major whining, with the ever-present politically correct media jumping on the bandwagon, because he was subjected to racial slurs while at Fenway Park, home of the Bosox. Somebody even allegedly threw a bag of peanuts at him.

Well, guess what, buddy? Welcome to the real world. And stop with the "n-word" stuff already. We all have long known it's short for "nigger", a derogatory term for black people. Other such slurs have long existed for whites, Italians, Germans, Japanese, Chinese, Vietnamese, Latinos, Jews, and most certainly Arabs, along with several others. I needn't list them here. You know what they are.

To pretend they're going away any time soon is pure folly. There will always be those that use these terms, whether others like it or not. To tell people they can't say certain words is pretty much a guarantee they will do exactly that. Such is the nature of the species. Always has been.

Have I ever used any of these words myself in the past? Sure, but not so much anymore. No need. I grew up and realized the absurdity of it. It's merely debasing another while accomplishing absolutely nothing except perpetuating hard feelings. I dare say we have more than enough of those going around these days in the world. On that note, I've experienced my own share of taunts and slurs in times past. Nowadays, when they occur, I'm able to laugh them off. Sticks and stones, etc, no big deal.

Though the media will always be quick to jump on whatever "sensational" story of the day they can get (tis the nature of the beast), people like Adam Jones need to realize that the world isn't always a fair place, much less politically correct. In other words, get used to it, because it isn't going away any time soon. The haters will always be out there, and that's just the way it is and has always been.

Besides, what's the big problem with somebody throwing a bag of peanuts in his direction? If the idiot was willing to chuck his/her $8-10 dollar ball park investment in a bag of nuts worth maybe a quarter of that -- obviously he/she wasn't wrapped too tight in the first place.

And hey, it could have been a lot worse. Some maniac could have come charging out the stands with a club, shiv, or other weapon to do him bodily harm.

I saw more than my fair share of that in high school as well, and have scars to this day as a result.

But Adams Jones is outraged over a little name-calling and a bag of peanuts being thrown at him?

Sheesh, I wish it would have been that simple and harmless for yours truly back in the day.

This dude doesn't have the faintest clue how fortunate he is........

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