The Racist Boston Fan Trope Will Continue Until You Stop It
Last night the Boston Red Sox once again put up an embarrassing performance. Rick Porcello probably had his best outing of the season, but gave up two runs in six innings of work, one of those a gargantuan blast to Manny Machado who admired his work sans repercussions. The offense was held to just two runs–in one lone inning per usual–making that 12 of 25 games scoring in one inning or fewer. The defense also at one point committed errors on three straight plays, which honestly is actually quite impressive. However, despite the sub-par effort on the field, it was the off-field performance by the Red Sox “faithful,” that was most egregious. Adam Jones, the centerfielder for the Baltimore Orioles, claimed he was the target of racial epithets and unfortunately there is good reason to believe him. The stereotype of the racist Boston fan has continued throughout the decades and despite people like me believing we are past it, a new incident props up every couple of years and makes the other humane people want to bash their heads against a metal pole. Most want to blame the outlier for giving the rest of the fans a bad name, but the buck needs to stop with the other fans ostracizing the “lone wolf,” and until that happens, everyone is to blame.
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At the risk of sounding like Mrs. Lovejoy, if you are at a game and you hear somebody hurling the N-word at Adam Jones and you do nothing, you are just as guilty.
What type of message are you sending to everyone within earshot? What are you saying is an acceptable way to act for those children and younger fans who are still impressionable. You are saying that letting somebody mouth off and spew vile sewage out of your mouth is a totally legitimate way to act just because the victim of the insults is wearing the other team’s uniform. When you stand idly by and let these things happen you are complicit in everything that fan is saying. Maybe you are not the confrontational type, but guess what? Some situations require confrontation and even if you cannot handle it yourself, there are security guards who will gladly do so and it says right on the back of your ticket that behavior like that is unacceptable. Jones claimed last night that he was told something like 60 fans were tossed from the game. Good. That is exactly what needs to happen, but every second you let somebody think racist remarks are passable, that is one more second the stereotype of the Boston racist fan continues.
There is a time and a place for heckling. The time and place? Literally any game you spend money to attend that features professional ballplayers. However, there is a fine line between heckling and being a racist. Scratch that. THE LINE IS ACTUALLY PRETTY OBVIOUS! Are you attacking Adam Jones because he needed a statistician to tell him over the offseason to back up because he is letting too many balls go over his head or are you attacking Adam Jones because he has a higher melanin content? Guess which one is acceptable and which one you should get you banned from life from every game every and labelled a horrible human being? Some of the best hecklers in the world come from New York City and the reason for that is because the boroughs contain the highest mix of people in the world. Everybody that attends a Yankee game knows that in the five seats to their left and right is probably about seven different nationalities. Kind of hard to be a racist when you are in the proverbial melting pot.
Even if the stands were homogenous though, there is still no time and place to let somebody be racist. It is 2017. If racism is still something you hold in your heart or after you get a few too many in you, you come out with the racist crap, you deserve to be excommunicated. The reason racism persists and the trope of the racist Boston racist fan is still a thing is because not enough people make it a point to shun that person. Coincidentally, one of the best lines and scenes in movie history regarding a similar trope comes from a movie based in Boston; the Boondock Saints opening scene. The evil which we must all fear is the indifference of good men. If you consider yourself a good person, the onus is on your to make sure things like racism are stopped dead in their tracks. If you do not, you are just as guilty as the guy hurling peanuts and racist insults at Adam Jones. If you want to stop being a part of a region that is considered behind the times, if you want to stop being a part of the region where the stereotype of the racist Boston fan is still a thing (IN 2017!!!) then whenever you come across it you must stop being indifferent and take action. If you do not, then when the rest of the country calls you a racist Boston fan, they will not be spewing evil out of THEIR mouths… it will be worse… they will be right.