Truly Scary Commentary: Watching Your Fucking Language

by B.J. Delas Armas on 1/10/2008 08:51:00 AM 0 comments Print this post

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http://sports.espn.go.com/golf/news/story?id=3189374&campaign=rss&source=ESPNHeadlines

"Kelly Tilghman, the Golf Channel anchor who during Friday's broadcast from the Mercedes-Benz Championship said while discussing Tiger Woods' dominance that young players on the PGA Tour should "lynch him in a back alley," was suspended two weeks Wednesday for the remark."

Al Sharpton responded in a completely rational way (which of course wouldn't stop a lot of people from hating what he does anyway):

"If I got on this show and said I wanted to put some Jewish-American in a gas chamber, I don't care what context I said it in, the entire Jewish community would have the right to say I should be put off this show or my radio show if I said it there. Or if I said I wanted to see a woman raped. This is an insult to all blacks. Lynching is not murder in general; it is not assault in general. It is a specific racial term."

There was one response on the message boards that immediately caught my attention and I think it explains the experience and history behind the usage of such language in especially on a national public platform:

"I've read almost 2000 posts on this subject. I'm African-American and 38 years old...my mom told me stories about how growing up she wondered if the water from the white water fountain tasted different from the water in the black water fountain. She rode the back of the bus. My grandfather worked in a hotel that he was not allowed to stay in as a customer. He worked in the laundry room and never saw the rest of the hotel. I grew up hearing stories about how if a black male even made eye contact with a white woman in the south that his life was in danger. There was a very real risk that a group of men would come to his house and lynch him by hanging him from a tree.

When you grow up hearing true stories like this from your family, the association that you have with certain words is very real and very scary. So when you hear someone make a very specific comment, about someone that is african-american it can conjure up very strong emotions.

For the people that have posted that its "just a joke" and that "people should get over it" I can only say...you should be very fortunate that due to how you were born a simple word like this doesn't invoke the same emotions that it does for others. Seek to understand before you dismiss other's feelings as unimportant."

- mburkeen, some user on ESPN

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