Free-Floating Hostility

Sunday, November 21, 2004

On T.O. and Tony Dungy and interracial hugs

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Dave wanted to know what I thought of Tony Dungy's response to the Desperate Housewives opening on Monday Night Football last week, especially his invocation of the name Kobe Bryant. Well, here goes:

In his comment Dave referenced ESPN's Pardon the Interruption so I'll go back to something else that was said in the show in response to this story. The facts of the story are such that anyone can make whatever argument they want and have something to back it up. Tony Dungy is entitled to his opinion, that T.O's appearence in the commerical reinforces stereotypes of black athletes, but in this case Dungy's opinion is wrong. It may also be socially harmful, but I'll get to that.

Watching the NFL posture about this, of course, is vomit-inducing. Football's a great game and I love both the strategic aspect and spectacular athleticism you see from guys like Mike Vick. But I accept that fact that the experience of watching it is purposely visceral. The collisions and the injuries and the noise and the half-naked cheerleaders (or beer commerical women) appeal directly to my id. Incidentally, a naked Nicolette Sheridan also appeals directly to my id. ABC's opening was crass commericalism and slightly immature, which is to say that if I had seen it live (6 p.m. on the West Coast by the way) I would have thought it was great.

When Dungy compares this opening to the Kobe Bryant case, he implicity suggests that all sex (especially when the participants are of different races) is rape. I don't think he meant to do that. The specifics of the ABC clip, that she seduced him and whatever coitus is forthcoming is clearly consentual, immediately remove us from the realm of rape. It's also interesting that there is no kiss. She jumps into his arms instead and then it's gametime. One assumes this that was not how things played out between Bryant and his accuser.

It troubles me that a black man (Dungy) publically suggested that coupling between the two would be somehow transgressive because racial politics have always extended into the realm of the sexual. People have argued that the ideological underpinning of slavery and Jim Crow was that, if given equal rights, uncivilized black guys would fuck white women with impunity. Scared they would be locked out of the bedroom white men created an institutionalized system of racism in the American South. It's an appealing theory if only because you get to think of the Ku Klux Klan as limp-dick fuckers looking to take out anyone (blacks, Jews, et al) who stereotypically beats them in the phallus department. But given that the Klan's primary goal is protection of the white race, whatever that means, there's probably something to it.

After her charges were filed, I sought out the pictures of Kobe Bryant's accuser on the Internet. And when I saw her, my first thought was that Bryant was fucked if the case went to trial. I believe that particular strain of racism still thrives in this country. But that doesn't mean that it's the responsibility of anyone to cater to that. Certainly black athletes, the targets of that racism, can't be expected to indulge it. People are entitled to their prejudices, but they are not allowed to demand that everyone else engage in them.

1 Comment(s):

  •   Posted by Anonymous Anonymous at November 22, 2004 12:29 AM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • Jews? There are big-cock stereotypes about jews? Can I get in on having people assume I have a large tool if I'm fractionally Ashkenazic?

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