Wednesday, September 08, 2010

mayweather's rant

I've written about Manny Pacquiao before. I'm a fan. I'm not big on boxing, but I'm a Manny fan. Maybe it's a Filipino thing. If you haven't had an eye on the news lately, Floyd Mayweather Jr. was recently under fire for "racist and homophobic" comments that he made about Pacquiao recently. Click here for the report on ESPN. Naturally, Mayweather Jr. issued an apology here.

Admittedly, this incident is an interesting one for me. I'm also a race and pop culture scholar. Therefore, something like this always piques my interest. The thing is, in today's racially charged climate (and yes, it is a racially charged climate - even with Barack Obama is president), I find that it's important to pick and choose your battles wisely. That is why I haven't said much about this. I don't really care for Mayweather. I think he's an egotistical guy who doesn't want to duke it out with Pacquiao because Mayweather is afraid of losing. Period.

As I explained to my students today, when you are in the midst of a debate and your opponent loses site of the argument and resorts to personal attacks on your character, that just means you've got your opponent. Your opponent has nothing left to say so he resorts to blows below the belt because that's all he has. This is where Mayweather is. He won't take it to the ring, so he has to resort to petty racist comments. Tisk. This jerk knows he doesn't stand a chance against Pacquiao!

Anyway.... I decided to mention this incident because I was inspired by this article. In it, the author is basically asking why there is no public outcry for Mayweather's racist and homophobic tirade. Dr. Lara can't get away with it. Neither can Don Imus. So why isn't a league of Filipino organizations banging on Mayweather's door to shut the hell up? (For the record, if you do decide to say racist, homophobic and offensive things, can you at least get your stereotypes straight? Sushi is not a Filipino food. If Pacquiao, who is only two inches shorter than Mayweather is a midget, then my friends John W., Bradass, and anyone else who is 5'10" and taller can exercise the liberty of calling Mayweather a midget. [Personally, I prefer little person.] I get the dog and cat eating thing. But this just tells me that you have no imagination. Seriously Mayweather, seriously.) I like the author's point:
Mayweather's comments are as troublesome as Schlessingers', but he is being treated differently because he's black.


And if he were being treated honestly, black man or not, we would be hearing denunciations from Jackson, Sharpton and the NAACP. (The National Federation of Filipino American Associations provided a lead for them today.) I'm not playing devil's advocate; I'm advocating for equality -- but in the true sense of the word. Whites don't hold the patent on being racially insensitive, just as blacks are not the only group of people to be discriminated against in this country.

For example, more than 250,000 Filipinos served in the United States military during World War II and were promised full veterans benefits for doing so. Yet in 1946, President Harry S. Truman, the same man who issued an executive order desegregating the military, signed the Rescission Act, essentially reneging on that promise. No school benefits, no hospital benefits, nothing. Every president since Truman treated these brave soldiers like second-class citizens. It wasn't until last year when the country finally honored its commitment to the approximately 15,000 veterans who were still alive.

If we truly believe in the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. that "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere," then it is only fair that the boxing world punish Mayweather. I understand he's the industry's cash cow. But this kind of hypocrisy only fertilizes racial tension while simultaneously lining the pockets of people who make their living manipulating that tension.
Clearly, he is way better at articulating the importance of understanding this incident way more than I am. Bravo Mr. Granderson.

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