An interesting byproduct — perhaps a trick — of labeling someone a racist is making them an exception. Racists, once outed, are banished to Racism Island, and then it’s business as usual for everyone else. That’s the Sterling example. But Bruce Levenson isn’t an anomaly. Who doesn’t know a Bruce Levenson? Who hasn’t overheard someone at work or a friend’s dad talk like this before? They’re everywhere.
And while the intentions were good, and helped shift some of the conversation about him back in his favor, it shouldn’t be a primary argument when given the all-too-common task of proving someone isn’t a thug. If anything, it’s harmful logic. Because the next Richard Sherman may not have attended Stanford. So what then?
Nothing in this message is a lie, or even exaggerated, once you realize who the audience is. This message isn’t directed toward the Atlanta city-dweller. The “you, our fans” is not targeted at a person who lives in the city of Atlanta. It’s targeted at everyone in that dark-red blot that lives in the city’s northern suburbs. If you’re a fan who lives in these suburban areas, today is a great day. It has long been a hassle to get to Turner Field — because it involves going all the way to Atlanta to see the Atlanta Braves.
While not the same, because it’s much more complex, this “Django Moment” is an evolutionary advancement to my own personal “Jay-Z Moment,” in which the decision has to be made, going into one of his shows, of how to attack the N-word. While most certainly not just tied to Mr. Carter, the overall sentiment of “I’m not black, but I want to say the N-word at this concert, because the rapper onstage is practically begging me to say it along with him” has long been something to note among his ever growing, ever more mainstream fan base. What’s happening in Django is simply taking that premise to the next, more intense level.
Really good stuff from Rembert Browne (@rembert).