So, one of the owners of California Chrome, the horse who finished fourth at Saturday’s Belmont Stakes in his bid to win the first Triple Crown in horse racing since 1978, had a few choice words to say about the results.
He continued on Sunday morning on national television, not winning anyone over with a silver-tongued apology.
Which, of course, he did on Monday. Because that’s how these things play out in our 24-hour news cycle: you act like a jackass, you apologize, people forget about it when the next jackass steps up to the plate.
The issue I take with Coburn, however, is this: the media response to his comments about “playing basketball with kids in wheelchairs” was complete and utter shock. Totally aghast that an older, white male, self-described as “just everyday people,” would say something so scathing!
Let me lay a truth egg in your face hole, folks: old white people are insensitive. They’re almost pathologically insensitive. Donald Sterling is a huge racist, we know. He’s been a huge racist for most of his public life, and was more than likely raised by hugely racist parents in a hugely racist society. He’s not in line with today’s ideals about equality, and he was “punished” for it to the tune of TWO BILLION FUCKING DOLLARS.
Coburn, too, is more than likely racist. He’s certainly not a public relations guru’s wet dream, don’t get me wrong, but life has taught me a few harsh lessons about bigotry:
Bigots will always be bigots.
Bigotry ends when the bigots die, and not a moment sooner.
Bigotry cannot be solved with social policy, demonstrations, PSAs or really heartfelt cereal commercials.
Sports are run, at almost every level (talking about owners/commissioners) by white men who are so rich they’ve lost the concept of what it is to cut their own food, drive themselves to a 7-11, or put off paying the gas bill for a month in exchange for the gas to get their kids to school.
Most of those men, not coincidentally, are also of advanced age, because up until fairly recently having enough money to own a professional sports franchise wasn’t something that could conceivably happen before you graduated college.
So, some basic generalizations:
The United States used to be more tolerant of general bigotry toward non-straight, non-whites and other minorities. These men were raised in this culture, by parents who were raised in an even less tolerant culture. They’re bigots, because they’ve been trained to do so. As much as they may want to, what they “believe” will never change, and you (as the savvy reader I know you to be) should never believe them if they say it has.
The media, and the general public, should not be shocked that an old white man is racist, or tasteless, or intolerant, or bigoted. What they should be shocked at is the lack of public relations training which may have prevented them from actually saying anything about it.
As generations pass and tolerance grows, these things will change. That’s the natural order. Remember when the Irish were considered minorities and second-class citizens? Yeah, that happened. The only reason we don’t feel that way now is that everyone who felt that way is now six feet under.
When you reach a certain point in your life, whether it be age, disease, or financial wealth, I believe your societal filter (we’ll call it the AoFIG, or “amount of fucks I give”) approaches zero.
Remember the old saying, “can’t teach an old dog new tricks?” It’s a saying because it’s true.
UPDATE: Donald Sterling will continue to pursue his lawsuit against the NBA, hoping to win ANOTHER FUCKING BILLION DOLLARS IN DAMAGES. That’s America, folks!