Single page view By Alan Grant
Special to Page 2

On Wednesday, San Francisco radio talk show host Larry Krueger was fired for racially insensitive comments he had made last week (a program manager and producer were also fired for playing "inappropriate comedy sound bites").

I went to the therapist's office.

Doc: So what is it this time?

This whole thing with Larry Krueger at KNBR. He complained about the Giants' "brain-dead Caribbean hitters hacking at slop nightly."

Doc: You don't think it was overblown? The man lost his job because of it.

It's the most racist thing I've heard on the air in awhile. Doc: How is it worse than John Rocker, or Larry Cochell?

Well, those guys used banned words and laughable stereotypes. But this guy just referred to a group of people as collectively brain-dead. Not only does he think Caribbean players are stupid, he said as much. Can't get any more racist than that.

Doc: But wasn't it said in the heat of the moment, in one of those ever-popular sports radio diatribes?

Yeah. But emotion can't explain everything. Emotion is no excuse for disrespecting an entire group of people. It's one thing to say the Giants hitters, as a whole, are brain-dead. That would apply to the men as ballplayers and he'd be critiquing the team in that tough-guy way. But to identify a nationality as such is the song of bigotry. He should have been fired.

Doc: But didn't Felipe Alou, the Giants' manager, say Larry Krueger shouldn't be fired?

Yes. So what are you saying? That since one brown-skinned man says he shouldn't be fired then I should agree?

Doc: No, just …

I know what you mean. If black folks would just agree on one common front, maybe this race thing wouldn't be so confusing, right?

Doc: Well …

But that isn't how it works. We aren't all the same. And besides, there are too many Uncle Toms around.

Doc: Uncle Toms?

Yeah. An Uncle Tom is a black person who's sole purpose is to undermine the personal and professional efforts of more confident black folks.

Doc: Why?

They hate themselves. But it's more than that. They're terrified of white people. They see racism just as much as I do, but they never say anything about it because they're scared.

Doc: Scared of what?

Scared that white people won't like them or that they'll get fired.

Doc: So these Uncle Toms assume that all white people really are hateful racists? And if they initiated conversation, there would be dire consequences?

Yeah, that's it.

Doc: So why aren't you scared?

I grew up around white people. Some are racist, but most are not. I had white teachers, coaches, teammates, and classmates. So I'm not scared of anyone.

Doc: Does this Uncle Tom behavior exist in sports?

Well, I wouldn't say that. But there was something that smelled an awful lot like it. Last year, Ozzie Newsome, the Baltimore Ravens general manager, said that "sometimes a black man's got to be slapped."

Doc: I don't remember that.

I remember it because I thought it was totally unnecessary. I mean, Newsome works for Art Modell, one of the more progressive owners in the history of the NFL. Back in the day, Modell embraced the mercurial genius of Jim Brown and three years ago he made Newsome the first black GM in the game.


Page 1 of 2Next>>         Single page view