I’m writing this to you because no one has written the article I want to read. Or maybe they have, but I just can’t get enough of reading about “The King in The Fourth” (sorry Kobe, but IT already has a nickname). This article is not about the recent tragedy that shook the foundations of your family. It’s not about your contract. And it is definitely not about your height. This is all about how your performance in Game 2 temporarily made us forget about our city’s sordid, racist past and present.
Yesterday morning, I woke up to the news about what happened at Fenway Park the night before. Although I was disgusted and a little confused, I cannot say I was surprised. I have heard too many of my friends, classmates, and neighbors casually use the N-word behind closed doors. It disgusts me to the very core of me even when they aren’t necessarily saying it with the “hard R” (and believe me, the ones that do are definitely not my friends anymore). So when this topic of conversation inevitably made its way to my living room among my best friends, we traced the ghost of this despicable act to just a few degrees of separation from our friend groups. We all know someone who has said it casually. We all know someone who has said it behind closed doors. And although we don’t know anyone who has been “overtly racist,” we could only assume one of our friends who says it in the privacy of their homes probably knows someone who is even less bashful about using it. This is definitely still a problem with some of the people I know, but I hope every one who is reading this understands what I am saying when I say “Stop Using the F—-ing word!” Just stop. It doesn’t look good on you and never will. Not even when you are quoting rap lyrics. And if you’re saying “shut up Maneikis you liberal yahoo,” well then take it from this woman.
I was glad to hear my roommate proclaim that Adam Jones received a rousing ovation from last night’s crowd, but I was still unnerved by my city’s racist tendencies. I’ve been to hundreds of Boston sporting events, but I have never heard someone be so hateful towards an athlete because of their race, but I always knew these people were lurking around me. I figured they were in the shadows, but for whatever reason, on Monday night they decided to let their voices be heard. Needless to say, these incidents seemingly have been popping up more and more, and the ubiquity of social media shines a light on every negative thing happening in this world. Therefore, I’m pretty sure this has always been around me, and I was just fortunate enough to know enough good people who are not racist jerks and to have been raised by a multi-cultural family in which I have family members from all different backgrounds. But last night I was not feeling good about my city.
But then all of that suddenly changed because of you IT. You became and have become what every legendary Boston athlete is – a reminder that we have more in common than we have that divides us. I bet even those racist jerks from Fenway were cheering for you last night because you put the city on your shoulders and said “You want a headline?” Crossover, step-back – swish. Double cross, drive – and-one. 53 in your grille, Marcus (not a typo) Morris!
You made everyone forget about the headline that began the day and wrote your own so that we could remember a very important lesson. You showed us that even when times are seemingly at their toughest (RIP Chyna), there is work to do, and one man can make a difference. You carried your team to victory and inspired them to be better basketball players, just like every single person in Boston needs to inspire their friends and family to see past their prejudices and carry this city into a future where friendship and family no longer comes with a side of distrust. Where we attempt to heal the wounds of our past, learn from our mistakes, persevere through the dark, and move on forward towards brighter days.
So on behalf of the entire City of Boston, including those who may hate you just because you are a different color of skin from them, thank you IT!
We are lucky to have you.