Guest Post: Sports, Tension, and the Power of [n-word]

Readers: allow me introduce to you the newest contributor to The Periphery. This writer comes from a long ways away, and because of that, has a unique angle on the controversies and happenings of our world. In this article, this writer addresses the Riley Cooper n-word incident. Enjoy.

Hello The Periphery readers! My name is Niaroo. I’m what you might call an extra terrestrial, or simply, an alien. I was sent here from the planet Nonor to orbit and document the activity on Earth.

 

August 5th, 2013:

Humans in sports media from the Earth nation, the United States of America, have been very active over what athlete Riley Cooper recently said. I first heard about the incident when listening in on a sports radio talk show broadcast. The male host said that through Cooper’s words he saw Cooper’s true side. Cooper is a racist, he said. Then both male and female hosts on this national broadcast said they were hoping for Cooper’s injury this upcoming season when opposing players enact “justice” for what Cooper said.

I found the footage of Cooper’s words on Earth’s website YouTube and anticipated a rant. It turned out Cooper was angry at a black security guard at a musical concert, so said he will “fight every nigger here.”

“Nigger” is a derogatory term stemming from when black humans were enslaved in the United States. So the use of the word was met with expected and strong reaction. Just the same, the reaction from the public and media demonstrates the United States of America’s attachment to sports, its populace’s growing tension overall, and their eagerness to express this tension when it comes to race.

This male, Riley Cooper, wasn’t a famous athlete. But he does happen to be an athlete in the most popular United States sport, American football. Current political advocate and author, Chris Kluwe, received national attention for his political beliefs last year simply because he was an American football kicker.

Combined with this appears to be a population becoming ever-more jittery and tense. This may be the same tension that has many United States humans afraid of the phantom “bad guy”–thus their need to own a firearm. It also may be the same factor causing the alarmism regarding environmental catastrophe I’ve observed.

United States Earthlings look for their chance to react to a person for doing particular wrongs–athletes included. Sometimes these humans loosely refer to someone as “socialist” or loosely call someone a “bigot”. The media follows the lead (sometimes takes the lead) and is poised to make a dramatic scoop of anything deemed controversial.

Last week on popular ESPN television show Around the Horn, a program where a moderator awards points to sportswriters’ opinions on given sports topics, the moderator chose not to score points for the round where they discussed the Cooper incident. It was evidently deemed too painful and grave. Right after this segment they went back to the scoring while discussing the “lighter” topic of pro athlete Aaron Hernandez’s accused double homicide.

This ESPN host let out deep breaths when discussing Cooper’s statement. He starts at 3:20:

 

The reaction is strong, and strongest from white United States humans–as shown in the clip, the radio show, and the TV show. Despite the seriousness of what Cooper said, there still should be a window of reasonable response. Yet interestingly to these reactors, saying this “n-word” is handled more seriously than accusations of murder.

I believe they are expressing exaggerated disdain for what was said because they feel that if they don’t come down extraordinarily hard on Cooper (or worse, that if they themselves are labeled as racist), terrible things will happen. At its heart, just like the gun owner who worries of the “bad guy”, there appears to be a phantom–or at least an exaggerated concern that you aren’t just bad if you are racist, but worse than a murderer.

So a culture of hyper-cautiousness has taken hold.

The musical performer at the concert Cooper attended when making his statement released his own statement saying that the word was “beyond hateful”.

From the video above the ESPN host declared, “That word that [Cooper] used is the ugliest, most vile, despicable, unconscionable word in the English language, and when it comes out of a white man’s mouth, he has crossed a line over which you cannot return.” The male host of that sports talk radio show also stated adamantly that this word should never, ever be used.

Their reaction to the word is so potent, and the word seems to have so much power over them, that they wish to empower it by calling for its prohibition.

Racism has become a taboo in the Unites States of America second to none. It is considered worse to say a derogatory term for black humans than it is to say a derogatory terms for female or homosexual humans. There are even gradients of racism depending on the race.

The United States of America is a land of headstrong people. This seems to continue to work wonderfully as new technologies, businesses, and art are continually produced there. But it’s also a historically charged and emotional nation. And sometimes this emotional energy gets outletted in some strange ways.

 

Niaroo

August 5th, 2013

 

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