The Unauthorized Biography of Rosco P. Coltrane

When it's my moment in the sun, I won't forget that I am blessed, but every hero walks alone, thinking of more things to confess

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Location: Owensboro, Kentucky, United States


Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Look Away, Look Away

This morning the lead story on the AOL Sports Page was about my childhood hero, Rex Chapman (# 3 in your programs, #1 in your heart!!!). The headline stated that while he was at UK playing basketball he used to date African-American women, which was allegedly discouraged by people in the Athletic Department. He said that not only was there pressure, but there were incidents in which he was called racial slurs by people in Lexington and Owensboro, Rex's hometown as well as mine.

Here is one of his quote: "You know, I grew up in a place where racism is an epidemic. I'm not talking about 20 years ago. I'm talking to this day. Drive through the South. But it's not just the South. ..."

Now as you can imagine, this has made many people upset. The local newspaper wrote an article with lots of quotes that dispute the charges of racism. There was also the obligatory comment about how Owensboro has racism but it isn't more prevalent there than anywhere else.

I have seen this quote a lot. I have heard this quote a lot. And if you ask me, that is a piss poor excuse.

I have been a lot of different places in my life, and I can vouch for the fact that racism doesn't just exist in the South, it exists everywhere.

If we as a region and as a country want to really work on the race issue, it is going to take a lot of time and a lot of work and a lot of introspection. We as a society can't keep on ignoring the racism in our communities by saying it is worse other places and that racism exist everywhere and will always exist.

If we are willing to just shift the blame, then we are not doing our jobs as human beings.

We cannot be resigned to the allow racism to exist.

The only way to not be resigned is to be honest with ourselves and each other.

So here goes:

I am racist. Sometimes when driving, I say things I shouldn't. I get mad and frustrated and let my emotions control what I say about someone of a different race that is driving in front of me.

I let people use racial slurs around me. I don't protest when someone tells a racist joke, and usually just laugh somewhat nervously at them, not wanting to make any waves, not cause any friction.

I have told racist jokes before.

I have said the stupidest quote ever, "I'm not racist, I have black friends."

I have done nothing to fight racism on any sort of level.

I have told myself time and time again that I am not racist. I have told myself time and time again that I am open minded. I have told myself time and time again that racism is a problem everywhere and nothing can be done about it.

But the fact of the matter remains this, just because the sins of another a greater than my own, that does not excuse my sins. That doesn't excuse the fact that I have not openly fought the war against racism.

Sure racism exists everywhere, so that means there is a lot of work to do. And there is no time like the present to roll up our sleeves and get to work and not let the excuses get in our way.

My new prayer is this, "Lord, help me combat racism today."


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