Detroit Tigers' television commentator Rod Allen made a huge mistake the other night by suggesting that the seven Tigers on the field at that time might (gasp!) want some rice and beans during the after game meal.
Allen: "Lot of quality at-bats tonight by Tigers batters."Now, there is no hint that any of the mentioned players were offended by the suspected racist remarks of Allen, but in the absence of their echoing an injured protest, some white guy from Yahoo got offended for them.
(Avila fouls off a pitch.)
Allen: "Tigers pretty much got a all-Latin squad out there tonight."
Impemba: "Ordoñez, Cabrera, Martinez, Peralta, Guillen, Avila, Betemit. Jackson and Boesch don't qualify."
Allen: "They're gonna have to get some rice and beans for the postgame spread tonight."
Impemba: "[Nervous-sounding laugh]. Yes, they are. ... Two and two!"
Give me a break. There is already enough legitimate racism in this country that the empathetically benevolent among us need not create it out of thin air and then waste our time in drawing our attention to the creation.
Says the too offended David Brown:
It might have been tricky for him, [ed. Brown isn't suggesting that Allen, as a black man, is incapable of such a thing, is he?] but Allen could have referenced how the Detroit clubhouse — which includes respected stars such as Victor Martinez, Miguel Cabrera and Jose Valverde) — is a place where Latino players can feel comfortable. That's not always the case in the major leagues. Such a discussion could be valuable.No, it didn't sound to me like he was mocking them. For instance, from what I heard, Rod Allen didn't suggest that the players would only want to eat rice and beans as Brown asserts, but merely that they might want it included. But then again, I don't try to interpret every word uttered by anyone I hear through the filter of racism and cultural disrespect.
Short of that, if only Allen had tried to be funny, maybe something stereotypical he said theoretically could be defended. But Latinos eating only rice and beans? It wasn't funny the first billion times someone said it, so why keep it going? Allen comes off like he's mocking them, even though — giving him the benefit of the doubt — he probably didn't mean to.
Perhaps Allen could have made it all easier for the rest of us by simply coming right out and uttering a colorful slur. After all, its getting pretty darn hard these days to tell the real racists from the poseurs.
But, I've got an even better idea, this one for David Brown.
Lighten up a little bit, take to the sidelines, and let the Latino players on the Tigers speak to Rod Allen if they are actually offended. Let them be the ones to draw Rod Allen aside and tell him that his words cut them to the quick, otherwise it just sounds like your lecturing of Allen is done because you feel that Latinos are somehow either incapable of speaking for themselves or are simply too dumb to know when they've been insulted. (See how two can play at this game.)