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Yet another isolated incident: blackface in Ohio pee wee football

(Story thanks to Rachel S. @ Alas, a blog (2006-10-26).)

Say, did you ever wonder where all these white college kids come from who are so wilfully stupid, or so openly malicious, that they think that minstrel-show blackface is a great party gag?

The answer is they come from white suburban families who are so wilfully stupid, or so openly malicious, that they think that minstrel-show blackface is an appropriate way to root for their kids’ pee-wee football team and rib the (mostly black) opposing team.

Here’s the story from WKYC Cleveland:

HUDSON — A pee-wee football game between Hudson and Shaker Heights turned into a lesson on racism.

Shaker parents say that Hudson fans, took their team spirit too far. They say those fans became offensive, even racist, because they wore black face and afro wigs.

The parents also claim the Hudson fans beat on frying pans on the sidelines.

Some of the kids on the Shaker team even say they used racial slurs.

It was supposed to be about fun building skills and teamwork. To the seven eight and nine year olds on the Shaker team, the game ended up being about our country’s racist past.

They were calling us ns — the n word, is what one nine year old said.

They shouldn’t say that to other people because they don’t know what it means to us, another player said.

The racial slur was enough to bother these kids but it wasn’t all they faced on the field. There were Hudson fans dressed in black face.

— WKYC (2006-10-25): Pee Wee football game marred by alleged racism

Alleged racism? Whoa, look out there, some fire-eating demagogue has gone so far as to allege that ordinary white people with Midwestern accents and middle-class incomes might be doing something racist when they put on blackface and shout nigger at grade-school black children. Quick, activate the White Denial!

But many parents of the Hudson players told Channel 3’s Mike O’Mara that there was absolutely no intent for any of their fans to be offensive.

Kelly Dine is a parent of a Hudson player.

It was two little boys, not the entire fans, that happened to wear part of the Halloween costume, Dine said. They thought they were supporting their brother on the team.

— WKYC (2006-10-26): More controversy over alleged racism at pee-wee football game; Hudson mayor apologizes

Oh, O.K. I mean, this doesn’t explain away everything. But hey, you’ve got to admit that if it was part of a Halloween costume, then minstrel-show blackface is totally appropriate. Right?

And besides which, we can hardly expect children to have parents, who might have explained to them that racist caricature might not go over so well with a mostly-black football team or their families.

Clearly there is no racism involved here. Didn’t they get rid of that in the sixties, anyway?

O.K., so this isn’t working so well. Better try the Insincere White Apology instead:

Meanwhile, in downtown Hudson, residents are deeply upset about the perception of insensitivity. The banners in the business district proclaim a history of excellence.

… Dine said that she feels very badly if the Shaker parents felt like they were offended.

If two little boys had these wigs on and they perceived that somehow it was an insult against them, it wasn’t. It was truly to support our 8, 9 and 10 year old boys.

— WKYC (2006-10-26): More controversy over alleged racism at pee-wee football game; Hudson mayor apologizes

Oh, man, that I’m sorry you’re offended apology just never gets old. Here’s more from the Cleveland Plain Dealer (via Alas, a blog (2006-10-26)):

[Coach Jeffrey Saffold] said after Sunday??s game, he complained to John Elffers, president of the Hudson Hawks Youth Football Association, who sent him a letter apologizing for the fans?? actions.

Elffers, however, said the first complaint he heard came Monday when Saffold called him and said parents of Shaker players were offended. Elffers said he doubted supporters meant to be offensive.

Their actions, albeit unwise, foolish and insensitive, were meant to be totally supportive and not intended to insult or offend anyone in any way, Elffers wrote in his letter to Saffold. We regret what occurred and apologize for any righteous indignation these actions may have caused to the coaches, players, parents and family members of the Shaker football organization.

Just out of curiosity, if the blackface and afro wigs weren’t intended to insult or offend anyone in any way, what exactly were they intended to do?

O.K., so maybe that one didn’t work out so well either. Better fire up the White Dissociation, quick:

Liz Murphy has owned the bookstore in downtown Hudson for 23 years.

I want to tell them that we’re not like that, Murphy said. I was horrified.

— WKYC (2006-10-26): More controversy over alleged racism at pee-wee football game; Hudson mayor apologizes

I’m sure that Liz Murphy doesn’t personally feel like that. You might wonder, in light of what just happened, what could entitle her to invoke the royal we, here. But I’ll bet the people who are like that don’t have anything to do with all the good white folk of Hudson. They probably don’t even come from Hudson. I hear they fell into the football game through a wormhole that leads back to their Evil Racist Dimension, where everyone wears a mullet, where everyone speaks in funny accents, and where this sort of things is enjoyed or at least quietly tolerated. Certainly this has nothing to do with the sort of community that the white majority in Hudson, Ohio has built, or the assumptions they share, or the customs they indulge in, or the habits of thought they have fallen into. Nothing to see here, citizen; move along.

The mayor of Hudson, William Currin, said personally I am appalled and saddened by the reported acts. I don’t condone nor will I tolerate such actions. I will be investigating this incident and working with all interested parties to try to prevent this sort of thing from ever happening again. Please know that this is an isolated incident and in NO WAY represents the vast majority of the upstanding citizens of Hudson.

— WKYC (2006-10-26): More controversy over alleged racism at pee-wee football game; Hudson mayor apologizes

Sure it’s an isolated incident. Just like all the others.

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