Ethical Friday, part 1: SBN.
Two items have crossed my desktop this morning and added together, they present an ethical dilemma for your friend Kanick. Boiled down, the dilemma concerns what do I stand for and should I share it you.
It’s tempting to ignore such questions and to avoid conflict or controversy. Easier.
But I’ve been moved by two Edmund Burke quotations:
And with that, let’s proceed.
Issue #1: To get busy with SBNation’s abominable post yesterday, or not?
[Issue #2: Whom do I serve? may be found here.]
SBNation made me sad yesterday. An unfunny race-baiting post was put forward under their masthead by Bill Hanstock. The post is comprised of the tired old ‘let’s make fun of white guys’ meme that we see on our twitter feeds and some blog posts daily. Such tweets and posts are grating, but we generally let them pass.
The SBNation piece is beyond the pale and requires a response. The dilemma is that I want to talk sports here, not debate the decline of civilization.*
The post fails on so many levels I’m hard-pressed to stack rank them.
- I start here: it’s unfunny. It’s not ‘not funny’… it’s unfunny. Cringe inducing. Discomfiting. The author knows he’s white, right? Are we to believe he’s never high-fived another white guy? Has he never worn an oxford shirt? It’s like: guy, you’re judging yourself.
- There should be no place for racist commentary like this on a site as large as SBNation. Replace ‘black people’ for ‘white people’ in the piece and you can be sure that anonymous would be planning a DDOS attack on Vox servers today.
- It lowers the dialog. In the comment section of Hanstock’s piece are predictable Sarah Palin and Roll Tide snipes. In the comments section of the conservative news service that gave publicity to the piece, you’ll find the most-liked comment to be this (see jpeg below). Who wins? No one.
- There seems an implied message of embracing diversity behind the post. “I’m courageous because I talk about race.” This too becomes a problem when you look at the diversity practiced by SBNation overall and Progressive Boink specifically. This is the sort of like-button activism that Kanick finds less than worthless. Not only is no help toward any racial equality is enacted; but the author deludes himself with a self-satisfaction for having expressed a progressive concept. Either do something or don’t do something, but don’t kid yourself that you’re ‘making a difference.’
My friend Frowns did/does good work pointing out the absurdity of using a racial caricature as the Indians’ logo. You would not accept a grinning Sambo outside Progressive Field; why accept grinning Wahoo? He gets into how it amounts to willful dehumanization of a segment of people and how such practices were born of Jim Crow era thinking that accepted and encouraged such stereotyping.
I suspect Pete and I will part company here, but I find the racial stereotyping of whites equally wrong and equally worthy of disparagement. While it is damaging in a different way than Wahoo, the ‘white guy’ meme is still damaging. It serves only to Balkanize our community more and I should hope we could agree that we’d be better served if we came together versus pulling apart.
I surely would like to see a commentary from either stating their position on their affiliate’s post. Whether they back Hanstock or wish to distance themselves, it seems appropriate that they express their feelings on this. The Hanstock piece reflects poorly on them, whether they think so or not.
But I won’t hold my breath.
* For example, I find Mobute to be a great, GREAT, writer. But he shows no respect for political viewpoints different from his own and forces the reader to join his club or leave. With some regret, I left.