Some Thoughts on Kyle Larson

This is the Statt Mann baby. Let’s Scatt a little bit.

I tried for several days to get around the concept of a NASCAR driver using the N-word in sportive communication with his contemporaries. Instead I just grew angrier.

Kyle LarsonHow could a Japanese American male, who was helped to the highest levels of his chosen profession through a celebrated diversity program, casually disparage another body of people who’ve been systematically kept out of those same highest levels? It’s hard to understand.

The profanity fell so casually from Kyle Larson’s tongue that he might have never noticed. There was a time he wouldn’t have been punished. No one on the open radio channel chastised him last Sunday. They only warned him that the microphones were hot and public.  Reminds me of the saying: you lay with dogs you’ll get fleas. That’s not to say that everyone in the NASCAR community is canine. But there are enough there that a man whose ancestors were treated like slaves and had their liberties and lives stolen found himself speaking just like the flea-bitten dogs you can find in that world.

He fashioned an apology a day later and he’ll get another chance in his chosen profession. Eventually. That’s better treatment than the people he maligned with his vulgarity.

The curiosity I’ve seen in the aftermath is the ongoing question from white Americans: “why is it they can use the word and we can’t?” The obvious answer: “Why ask permission? You do anyway.” But further, why is it you need to control everything including a community’s lives and language? Do you feel that entitled that you must enter every closet in everyone’s life to see what’s there and control how those things are used?

In fact, that seems how we got here in the first place. Your ancestors saw a commodity that met your needs and stole it for your own good. Now, centuries later, you still covet even the language of that commodity. It’s true. Many of you know no shame.

Today we celebrated Jackie Robinson breaking the Major League Baseball color barrier April 15, 1947. Now, 73 years later, racial profanity remains an issue in this culture. Entitlement is so addictive, corrosive and, ultimately, American.

April 15, 2020

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