Point of View Columns

Weekend Edition – September 10, 2010

Summer only has a few more official days to go – already it seems as if the fall season is upon us. The run up to the November elections is already so intense it seems that we should get ready for two months of breathless reporting on every poll result and the uttering of every pundit and politician. In the meantime, the beat goes on:

I wish that there was a way to give no notice whatsoever to Terry Jones, the loopy minister in Gainesville, Florida who proposes to burn 200 Koran’s this Saturday. He has managed to gather attention from the White House to the Vatican to every major news organization in the world.

As I see it, the only beneficiaries of this outrageous expression of hatred and intolerance are al Qaeda and the companies that print Korans (a Muslim group has stated that it will purchase 200,000 Korans in response to Saturday’s Koran burning).

I don’t mind publishers making money but I am very concerned that the very freedoms that bewilder and anger al Qaeda and other Islamic extremists will once again give rise to dangerous and violent behavior. The reality is that this silly Koran burning should be a non-event, not worth of any news coverage. But there is also the reality that Islamic extremists have issued death threats over the creators of works of fiction and cartoons, so there is no chance that there will be a muted reaction from the global Islamic community.

I remain unreasonably hopeful that CNN, Fox and the rest of the world media will turn their backs on this madness and that the Gainesville Fire Department will find a pretext to show up and douse the blazing Korans as soon as the conflagration commences. Let the minister sue the GFD on Monday.

The beauty of blogging is that you can edit even after publishing. Now it turns out that Reverend Jones has agreed not to burn the 200 Korans in exchange for the developers of the proposed Islamic cultural center promising not to build at the current proposed site near the World Trade Center. And then, Donald Trump (!!!!!) gets into the act by promising to buy the current proposed site for the Islamic center at a 25% premium in exchange for a promise to build the center at site at least five blocks further from the World Trade Center.

If a scriptwriter went to Comedy Central with this story they would be deservedly tossed into the street. Somehow the organizers of the Islamic center have allowed their project meant to promote peace and harmony to be equated with the foul Koran burning plan of a demented cleric in Florida. Somehow faux sensitivity trumps (literally) constitutional rights. Somehow we are supposed to believe that this is some kind of victory for brotherhood and the advancement of peace.

This entire tawdry series of episodes should be canceled. We may never reach the bottom of political discourse but we have come very close this time.

I will confess to having been a big fan of boxing. But the dilution of talent and the choreographed matches and proliferation of championships has made the sport less interesting to me, leaving me to remember Ali-Frazier and Leonard-Hagler battles as the height of boxing as I knew it.

And then along comes the boxer and buffoon, Floyd Mayweather, Jr. to prove that there is absolutely no limit as to how stupid an individual can be. Especially if they feel empowered by success and unfettered by good taste or common sense.

Mayweather and Manny Pacquiano have been dancing around the issue of actually boxing in the ring for the better part of a year. The reasons why the fight hasn’t happened yet really don’t matter; I think that you can attribute them to the general choreography of the sport that would be something of an art form if it wasn’t so predictably derivative.

The facts are that Floyd Mayweather is an African American and Manny Pacquiano is a Filipino. The history of boxing is full of ethnic battles have always drawn attention and gained ticket selling publicity. Unfortunately, no one told the esteemed Mr. Mayweather that even when trash talking to build up the audience, there are lines that should not be crossed. Mr. Mayweather may even have deluded himself into believing that because he is black he is not capable of being a racist.

Mr. Mayweather is wrong.

In a recent rant, he called Pacquiano a “yellow midget” while his (no doubt paid) retinue howled with laughter. Mayweather went on to say that he would make Pacquiano “make him some sushi” after he beat him in the boxing ring. The shameful language continues (and those who care to go to YouTube can find the entire disgrace for yourself).

No one should expect Floyd Mayweather to be a spokesman for honor and brotherhood. And Mr. Mayweather should not expect to be called anything but dumb for his shameful rant and dumber for his failure to offer even the rote apology that celebrities issue in these instances.

Floyd Mayweather has a lot of African American fans and supporters. He only pays a few. The rest do not need to laugh at or encourage this foolish and dangerous behavior. Just as rappers and comedians used the word “nigger” so often it now shows up much too often in the mainstream, the use of racial epithets in sports by the Floyd Mayweathers of the world can also metastasize into a very ugly presence in the world in which we live.

Have a great weekend!


3 thoughts on “Weekend Edition – September 10, 2010

  1. Jon Melegrito says:

    Thank you, Wallace Ford, for your insightful thoughts on Mayweather’s racist and homophobic rant against Pacquiao. I couldn’t have said it any better. You hit the nail right on the head.

    I enjoy reading your blog. More power to you.


  2. paulette says:

    I miss the Good Old Days regarding Boxing.

    Class, the old timers had class and respect for one another.

    Wallace, your great, I look forward to reading your blogs daily.

    Dont’t stop, Pllllleeeeaaasssseeee don’t stop.

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