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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Unconscious and Conscious Racism in Easton Area

If you think racism only exists in the deep, dark South, think again. It is alive and well here in the Lehigh Valley. All you need do is look at some of the anonymous comments posted here to know what I mean. Most of the time, the racism expressed by whites toward blacks (and vice versa) is unconscious. But it sometimes is very conscious. I'm going to give examples of both

Back in the day, when Tony Rhodin worked for a real newspaper, he published an interesting column nearly every morning. An unabashed liberal, he defended his positions much more gracefully than I do. He's still writing for Lehigh Valley Live, but the newspaper industry no longer values serious discussion. It prefers stories about sex or food, and under 300 words.

On Monday, Rhodin published a story about a young man who had committed a robbery last month. He decided to turn him into Constable Lance Wheeler, who in turn notified local police. This kid had no idea that Lance happens to be the president of the Easton NAACP. I doubt many young people know a thing about that group. He turned himself into Lance because he knew Lance is a constable and trusted him.

In his story, Rhodin felt compelled for some reason to note that Lance is "also an NAACP official in the city." Sure enough, a reader reacted with "Hmmm, NAACP ? Very interesting I think."

The reference to the NAACP was totally irrelevant to what happened. But it provided someone with an excuse to inject race into the discussion.

My example of conscious racism involves a black football player at Wilson Area High School who last year took a knee before games. He was called into the Principal's office twice. Instead of appealing to this student athlete's patriotism, the argument was that this young man was costing the school a lot of money because alumni were refusing to donate.

This year, this young man is a junior and it's his time to shine. In a scrimmage a few weeks ago, he made an outstanding tackle. After doing so, he celebrated briefly. He as cut off by a ref who said, "This ain't no ghetto. You ain't going to be acting all hood-like here."

This upset the player, who wanted to discuss the situation further after what appears to have been a racial remark by a referee. His teammates began to surround him and push him away, trying to keep him out of harm's way. He pushed back against his teammates, but pushed the wrong person. His coach. He's been kicked off the team.

Unable to play at Wilson anymore, he transferred to Notre Dame Green Pond. Under PIAA rules, he must wait 30 days before he can play. But even then, Wilson is objecting to his transfer. After kicking him off the team, Wilson may have lost the ability to "blackball" him.

What is happening to this young athlete is very conscious racism.

48 comments:

Anonymous said...

Sorry, you are reaching O'Hare. The kid is in high school and not the NFL. What happens in the NFL is a labor issue between the management and the players as contract employees. In high school you are a student and the rules are the rules. Maybe the referee said all that and maybe he didn't. I doubt the young man wanted to rationally stand and discuss it with the reff, in the middle of a game???

So his team does what all teams do and try and help their teammate. He gets aggressive and starts shoving everyone and eventually his coach. He is off the team. That is the way it has always been regardless of your color argument. First and foremost he is a student athlete. First a student and then an athlete. He is not an employee. If he ever gets to a college team or even the NFL, I guarantee you even a black coach would not put up with that shit. If you really want TO help this young man don't play the victim card and help him learn how to act and react appropriately with people. That is called teaching. You are doing him no favors.

Anonymous said...

If your not black u will never understand how we think and that's the bottom line .

Anonymous said...

Annon 123?:58. You are right. If someone is white they cannot understand how you think. However, I assume like all humans regardless of race, people "think" as individuals. I am white and will say with all sincerity that a hell of a lot of whit people act and think like assholes. I don't judge myself by their thoughts are behaviors. I think 12:23 made some good points. Are you claiming that black coaches in the collegiate and pros as well as at all levels of sports who do not tolerate such behavior are not thinking like "Africa-Americans"??
Sorry that does not hold water. It is sad as this young man seems to be getting in trouble. At this stage of his young life it would be best to help re-direct him as opposed to finding excuses for bad behavior.

Anonymous said...

12:58, agree. And you will never know how whites think. So where are we going here? Shall we shut down discussion, or forge ahead?

Anonymous said...

Bernie, you are really stretching on this one. Apparently the constable is your buddy and you are on your soap box. Hell, consciously NS unconsciously?? You have people coming and going. So I guess no rules or you are a racist.. What A BULLSIT argument.

Anonymous said...

Couldn't read your whole article Bernie. I'm just glad I didn't knock on the wrong car window thinking it was Uber and a Coach attacks me.

Anonymous said...

Let's start with the supposed "conscious" racism against the black athlete:

"He was called into the Principal's office twice. Instead of appealing to this student athlete's patriotism, the argument was that this young man was costing the school a lot of money because alumni were refusing to donate."

What is racist about this? The principal was presumably honest with the athlete, and had a private discussion with the athlete. That's racism?


"This upset the player, who wanted to discuss the situation further after what appears to have been a racial remark by a referee."

I don't care how good your argument might be, trying to "discuss" any situation further with a referee during a game isn't going to work out for you. I'm assuming this kid has been involved in sports for a while, and I'm sure he knows that. If he thought the remark was racist, he could have told his coach and allowed the coach to follow up after the game; or followed up with the school/league after the game; or told his parents to get their take on it. Again, "after the game" is key here.


"He pushed back against his teammates, but pushed the wrong person. His coach. He's been kicked off the team."

When you react physically in a situation, sometimes innocent bystanders end up paying a price. It might not have been your intention to hurt those bystanders, but you're still responsible for your actions.


"What is happening to this young athlete is very conscious racism."

Uh, no it's not. The only thing in the story that could be even remotely construed as "racist" is the referee's comment. But without knowing the full context we can't be sure. While you can't always choose what happens to you, you can choose how you react.

Even assuming the worst about the ref's comment, this young man chose to react poorly to the situation as it unfolded, and now he's paying the consequences for his actions. Instead of worrying about how soon he can get into another school to play football, he would be better served by some self-reflection as far as what he could have done better.

This could be a valuable learning experience for him, and not just a situation for race-baiters to try to exploit.

Anonymous said...

12:58 & 5:20 are on to something. I grew up thinking that we were all meant to get along, but after having so many black folks (and other races) tell me that I don't understand or don't think like them...I'm inclined to agree. We need to acknowledge these differences, everyone would get along better.

Anonymous said...

Now let's get to the first part of the story about the kid that turned himself into a constable:

"In his story, Rhodin felt compelled for some reason to note that Lance is "also an NAACP official in the city." Sure enough, a reader reacted with "Hmmm, NAACP ? Very interesting I think."

The reference to the NAACP was totally irrelevant to what happened. But it provided someone with an excuse to inject race into the discussion."



So there's a story written, that "for some reason" makes an "irrelevant" reference to the NAACP. An a reader makes a comment saying "...NAACP? Very interesting..."

The reader could be rightfully wondering what the "irrelevant" NAACP reference is doing in the story. It was injected into the story by the WRITER, but instead B.O. somehow concludes it's the READER that's injecting race into the discussion. That's ridiculous!

Even if the READER meant the comment in the most offensive way imaginable, who cares? It's one reader (or two, or three). Here's a life lesson - get a life and stop reading comments at the bottom of articles. Stop trying to paint with a broad brush because of the actions of a few.


I'm not saying that racism doesn't exist, but not every interaction between a white PERSON and a black (PERSON) needs to be viewed as being racial. By crying "racism" at every perceived slight, you're actually going to create a situation where real racism gets ignored.

Anonymous said...

It seems that it has been programmed into African-Americans that everything that happens to them is because of racism, we have problems in school, with traffic stops, preferential treatment in the workplace, everywhere we go, but whites, who also experience these inequalities, believe it has to do with the inequalities of life that have always been and will always be. Some of these things can be addressed, some not. Yes this is were the thinking is different, between whites and blacks. Some believe everything is racism, some believe that they can extort preferential treatment by crying racism or encouraging white guilt on the white population. And yes there is racism in the minds of many whites just as there is in many blacks. It has gotten worse not better. It really did decline with the Obama administration, but of course, no one dares blame Obama. We could assume that America is racist to newcomers, to immigrants to brown people, but I see new arrivals from India, China, Africa, and other countries who go to work, prosper and become part of mainstream America.They are very happy for the opportunity that America provides.They have experienced these same inequalities were they came from and consider it just part of life. Yes it people do think differently. I can assume that my thoughts on this will also be labeled racist.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"What is racist about this? The principal was presumably honest with the athlete, and had a private discussion with the athlete. That's racism?"

No. That's avarice. The conscious racism came from the referee. And look at everything that flowed from it. You completely skip that part because it defeats you.

" It was injected into the story by the WRITER, but instead B.O. somehow concludes it's the READER that's injecting race into the discussion. That's ridiculous!"

The WRITER engaged in unconscious racism when he injected the NAACP in a story in which it is completely irrelevant. He did so because he KNEW it would cause a reaction and did not care about the consequences. The READER who reacted engaged in conscious racism.

"Here's a life lesson - get a life and stop reading comments at the bottom of articles. Stop trying to paint with a broad brush because of the actions of a few."

Like yours?

I love when you tell people how worthless you are.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"t seems that it has been programmed into African-Americans that everything that happens to them is because of racism, "

"If your not black u will never understand how we think and that's the bottom line ."

These are examples of unconscious racism. These persons are unaware they have just smeared an entire race.

" At this stage of his young life it would be best to help re-direct him as opposed to finding excuses for bad behavior. "

Unconscious racism disguised as concern for this student athlete. He is being subjected to racist behavior and reacted to it like a man. He accidentally shoved his coach, and would not be the first person to have done so.

Anonymous said...

Has something been filed against the ref with the PIAA?

Anonymous said...

Think this kid is showing the start of what is excused by some as "anger management problems." He was so upset he aggressed towards his coach? Thank God he did not have a weapon. Think we will see his name in newspapers in the future if his inability to moderate his responses is not addressed. He "reacted like a man"? Give me a break!

Anonymous said...

Your 7:15 post ?????????
“The writer engaged in UNCONSCIOUS racism when.......... He did so because he KNEW it would cause......”
UNCONSCIOUS and KNEW referring to the same act. Curious.

Anonymous said...

Bernie O'Hare said:

"The WRITER engaged in unconscious racism when he injected the NAACP in a story in which it is completely irrelevant. He did so because he KNEW it would cause a reaction and did not care about the consequences. The READER who reacted engaged in conscious racism."


So now you know the motives of BOTH the writer, and the READER? Wow, you must be psychic.

The writer may have done a quick background check on who the constable was, and just added the NAACP comment as an innocent cross-reference. I doubt he had some racist motive (conscious or unconscious).

The reader (much like you) may have simply been wondering WTF the NAACP reference had to do with the original story. From the reader comment in your article, I can't tell if the reader is white or black, or supportive or unsupportive of the NAACP.

Or are you (psychically) assuming that the reader is white? Is this YOUR unconscious racism - that only white people read newspapers? Even if the reader is black, not all black people support what the modern NAACP has become. Or are you unconsciously assuming that all black people think alike?

For God's sake, go out and get the professional help you so obviously need! If you seriously believe in what you're writing, and not doing it just to stoke traffic, you have a real problem.

So get help before it's too late. We might strongly disagree on many issues, but I don't want to be reading about you in some newspaper headline.

Bernie O'Hare said...

8:30, I never said he “shredded” his coach. He was pushing back against teammates and did not realize it was his coach. You seem to be focused on this young man’s reaction to blatant racism instead of the racism itself. This attempt to deflect attention away and blame this athlete for the actions of the ref is just more unconscious racism.this kid has every right to speak up for himself. I understand he is a very good athlete and an exemplary student. I am sure NDGP will empower him while teaching him about the bullshit we encounter daily.

Anonymous said...

The PIAA almost removed me from sports in the 90's because i verbally disagreed with a ref. I was disrespectful and deserved reprimand. I learned from it. Now if your teammates need to hold you back from becoming physical with a ref? He should have been tossed on that fact alone. As for what the ref said is another story. Filing a complaint after the game stands a better chance of obtaining satisfaction and would illicit a sympathetic response. Unfortunately he acted "like a man" and ended up perpetuating a stereotype. The pen is mightier than the sword.

Bernie O'Hare said...

8:08, so far as I know, no. I am sure the ref will have a different recollection. But the fact is that there are very few minority refs or minority coaches. This blows my mind.

Anonymous said...

If this child is allowed to kneel to express his political beliefs, should another child be allowed to kneel and express his religious beliefs ?

Anonymous said...

What if the referee who made the comment was black?

Would his comment be interpreted differently then?

Bernie O'Hare said...

"If this child is allowed to kneel to express his political beliefs, should another child be allowed to kneel and express his religious beliefs ?"

In a public school? Absolutely.

"What if the referee who made the comment was black?"

It appears to me that you are working overtime to justify a racist remark. Of the black refs I know, I know none who would say such a thing. I do know refs who might joke about it with kids they already know. I doubt that is what happened.

Anonymous said...

Hey Bernie! I walk past you at least twice a week while dropping off paperwork in the courthouse. Can you feel the unconscious racism waves emanating from me? Or is it just the stench of white privilege bouncing off of both of us as we pretend that we are actually accomplishing a good days' work?

Anonymous said...

Bernie O'Hare 11:24 said:

"It appears to me that you are working overtime to justify a racist remark. Of the black refs I know, I know none who would say such a thing. I do know refs who might joke about it with kids they already know."


Just trying to get all the facts.

After all, if a comment is racist, it's racist no matter who says it, or who it's said to, right? But if the comment could be interpreted as not being racist in some instances, you have to examine all possibilities.

Maybe the player could have been using his "unconscious racism" to ASSUME that the comment was racist because it came from a WHITE referee? Surely you're not suggesting that this kid is a saint and has no "unconscious racism" of his own?

Because if you're going to go down this ridiculous "unconscious racism" rabbit hole, we certainly have to examine the "unconscious racism" of everyone, right?

Bernie O'Hare said...

Absolutely! We are all guilty at times.

Bernie O'Hare said...

1:53, I feel the unconscious racism.

Anonymous said...

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Absolutely! We are all guilty at times."


Well, it took almost all day, but at least you've finally admitted that the fault here could be the unconscious racism of the player.

Anonymous said...

Now how about we take a minute to remember those who died on 9/11 - those in the Towers, those in the Pentagon, those on the planes, and the First Responders who went to their deaths trying to save others.

And how we somehow ALL managed to come together for a little bit after that?

Bernie O'Hare said...

What I admitted is that we are all guilty of unconscious bias at times. You twist words and are a sophist.

Anonymous said...

You are clueless to support a High School player taking a knee and have Kaepernick on your blog today (Sept 11).

Anonymous said...

Racism is alive and well on the HS football fields of the region. N word used liberally by players during games and nobody does anything about it. Even when the referee's have complained and hey have been shut down by local AD's and banned from doing their teams games..cover up underway.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I can think of no better day, other than Independence Day itself, to stand for a modern patriot who reminds me what what we fought for. Phonies like you remind me what we fought against.

Anonymous said...

Who is the Patriot ?, Kaepernick is a loser !. Sarena in the Nike Commercial is a sore loser !.

Agree 7:58 (google the ugly truthonbernieohaire).

Anonymous said...

Racism is a system... not a state of mind conscience or unconscious.

An individual can be a conscience or unconscious bigot or be conscience or unconsciously prejudice.

A racist can only exist within a system of racism, without a system to operate within one can only be prejudice or a bigot.

Or words mean nothing.

Anonymous said...

When we kneel it's not out of respect it's what we believe. But again you will never understand how many people in the court house are black or Hispanic point made

Anonymous said...

Trump has unleashed all the closet white nationalists and their bigoted cousins. They now feel free to spout their own personal hate as their fearless leader in the WH does on a daily basis. Sig Heil!

Anonymous said...

Do what you want. Tell the cop to fuck of. Smack your coach. Rob you local stores. If anyone says anything claim racism.

The sadist thing is another young man of color is being taught that being a victim and blaming others is easier than taking responsibility for your own actions.
The Real Thing!

Anonymous said...

Everything is not black and white like you think pure ignorance...we have a problem and it's never gonna go away read all the comments pure racism

Anonymous said...

This was the dumbest post of the many dumbest posts O'Hare ever posted.

Canary_In_Coalmine said...

Here's an easy test for appropriateness of what the ref said. Would he have said that to a white player engaging in excessive celebration? Obviously not.

Thanks Bernie for shining a light on this.

All you have to do to see overt racism is look at the comments under most news reports of events involving black people. When a few fights broke out at a hip-hop concert in PPL Arena, comments appeared denigrating blacks. When a man was wrongly shot by police near Dorney Park, FB comments mocked mourners and made light of the tragedy.

I've noticed that when white people commit crimes, nobody seems to make comments impugning the entire white race. I wonder why.

Anonymous said...

When are we gonna take note about bias toward fat and/or ugly people. Ive been a victim all my life.

Anonymous said...

Canary - maybe he would. The point was made earlier that BO was speculating on the thoughts of the reporter and the person who made the NAACP comment. Unless you are the ref its just speculation.

Anonymous said...

Color matters?..
Jesus was an olive skinned Semite.

Fire the Incompetents said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Bernie O'Hare said...

If you want to impersonate that guy, Villa, misspell his name like he does.

Canary_In_Coalmine said...

@2:57

You're right, it's my opinion that the ref wouldn't have said that to a white player. Had he done so, that would have been inappropriate too. Either way, saying it to a black player is breathtakingly inappropriate.

Anonymous said...

We really don';t know for sure what the ref said. We have one angry kid who has a problem with authority and a quick temper,"claiming" he staid it. What if he did? Refs have told over acting or overly aggressive with kids to get off the trailer park theatrics or thug shit. Not everything is about color. However, those with weak self image problems will make it that.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Any referee who said anything like you suggest should be fired. I know refs who would be among the first to report this guy.