On Wednesday, May 2, 2012, two minutes and fifty-seven seconds into overtime, Joel Ward, a winger for the Washington Capitols, scored the winning goal in the NHL playoff game against the Boston Bruins to win the series. The Bruins are known for being a hockey powerhouse, so in the eyes of many the Capitol’s win was a major upset. One would have thought the pages of the newspapers the next day would be full of stories about underdogs and comeback kids, but instead the attention went elsewhere. Racist tweets erupted within seconds to the tune of “You guys let the nigger score? #ImDone.” Oh! Did I forget to mention that Joel Ward was black? Silly me, I thought the details of the amazing victory by the Capitols was what was paramount, but apparently I was wrong. The above tweet was one among many that took offense to Canadian born Ward’s Barbadian heritage.
“Ward you fucking nigger.” Joe Daaboul
“So..The nigger scores the game winner? #shitty” Zack Flesher
“Ill be the first to say it that fuckin nigger on the caps” Connor Sullivan
“Fuck noooo #bruins #fuck #nigger nigger you suck” Stephen Webb
“That nigger deserves to hang” EthandaGXD
While the collective outrage that was felt was to be expected, what was most interesting was the genuine shock felt by the content of the tweets. Can we as a Black community honestly say that we are really surprised over these comments? A little over a month ago, The Hunger Games premiered, and the casting of Rue was met to a similar reception:
“Kk call me racist but when I found out rue was black her death wasn’t as sad #ihatemyself.” Jaspher Paras
A little over a month ago, a Black woman stepped off a train in New York City to find the words “Nigger Whore” scrawled across the face of Megan Good on a Think Like A Man poster. Just last week Black congresswoman, Yvette Clark, who is of Jamaican descent, was forced to call the police after receiving threatening messages due to a video of her speaking out against the Tea Party which surfaced (after being highly doctored) on Glenn Beck’s website This is not t mention that there is a whole website dedicated to keeping President Obama out of office for a second term which profits from shirts, hats, bumper stickers and other paraphernalia that spout gems like “Don’t Renig in 2012”
So when will the shock wear off? When will we realize that these are not isolated incidents from an ignorant minority, but a very serious and potentially dangerous undercurrent within this country that is becoming more and more prevalent each day. Again, I urge all of us in the Black community to WAKE UP! To be surprised by these incidents you must walk around with blinders on, and to do that in our country’s current climate is to abandon all sense of self-preservation.