I subscribe to ESPN magazine as I am somewhat of a sports junkie. The most recent edition did a wonderful job of celebrating fanhood. They had articles on football fans, basketball fans, baseball fans, and fans of all types.
One of the features was a poll done of fans all over the country. They asked fans a variety of questions about their favorities and how they express their support. One of the questions asked if you, the fan had every shouted a racial epitath directed at the opposing team, at a sporting event. I was shocked that 11% of all the respondents claimed that they had.
Lets think about this for a minute. If 11% are brave enough to admit that they have used a racial epitath at a sporting event, at least twice as many, I would suspect have done so but will not share it on a survey. In addition, that does not include people who have not used a racial epitath at a sporting event, but do use them in everyday conversation. People only use racial epitath publicly in environments where those statements are accepted. Reflect on that last statement for a second.
Despite significant progress in addressing racism in America, it is important to realize that it is incredibly resilient. Its presence is foundational in many structures and institutions in America. I am not suggesting that I see racism in every structure, but that often there are racist assumptions based upon stereotyping.
I wondered what my response would be if I was sitting next to a fan that used a racial epitath to describe others? Would I have the courage to speak up, the grace to "love the racist, hate the racism", and the resolve to inspire better. I hope so.
Will you take responsibility to end racism, sexism, and any other xenophobic violence by asking God for the courage to be a peacemaker wherever your sphere of influence lands.
God bless you,
Pastor M Traylor