AP_Sherman_140119_16x9_992When I read the ridiculous racist sludge that was slung at Richard Sherman after his adrenaline-fueled post-win interview on the football field, I didn’t feel much of anything.  Lots of “regular Joes” on social media called the Stanford-educated NFL cornerback the n-word, questioned his intelligence, called him a thug and expressed concern for the safety of the white female reporter. Even some not so regular Joes weighed in on the interview. NBA player Andre Igoudala tweeted that Sherman had set black people back 500 years. Right.

The wonderful and awful thing about the internet is that we all get a peek into each other’s minds in a more anonymous way, which strips away the pc mask and allows for more (brutally) honest commentary.  I’m not shocked that in 21st century America, a black man who has committed no crime and is merely expressing his excitement about making a game winning play that guaranteed his team a Superbowl appearance, is walloped with ignorance and racial slurs.  I’ve seen this country’s hateful underbelly many times in history books, on television, online, in magazines and right in my face. I almost kind of expect it now.

How sad. I should be outraged, upset or something, right? I do, of course, feel that these outlandish racist ways of thinking and acting need to be rectified, but sometimes I worry that I’m getting numb to racism.  I literally felt exhausted just looking at that picture of a smug white woman sitting on a chair that was made to look like a black woman in a  BDSM position. So many layers, so much wrong, not enough time.

I also feel privileged to be in this world right now. My ancestors endured horrible, terroristic acts all in the name of  good ol’ fashioned American racism. I can sit here and type about my little angst because people much braver and stronger than me, did courageous things to create a country that was a least a little bit like right.  And I do appreciate the fact that we hear and see the n-word more often in recent years because apparently, the lack of it being in the public sphere was just about being polite not enlightened.

But I do not want to be de-sensitized to racism. I want to recoil when I recognize it. I want to have a visceral reaction that will inspire me to somehow be a part of the ongoing and surely complex solutions to racism.


How do you feel when you encounter racism? Are you outraged, numb, somewhere in the middle?


Follow Demetria Irwin on Twitter at @Love_Is_Dope and connect with her on Facebook.

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  • brown stocking

    Sherman was intentional in how he performed both with the solo interview and panel interview. Someone said above, he’s an arse with a chip on his shoulder.

    My one bone is that folks throw Stanford University around like that place is full of geniuses. It’s a university like others, with bigger endowments. Thugs, dealers, psychos, and mediocre folks graduate from Stanford just like “special snowflakes.”

    • cheeky

      Yeah, but Sherman isn’t any of those, so what’s your point? And why stereotype him like that so quickly anyway? All the man did was make a trash talking statement,which athletes do ALL the time. That’s why I don’t understand all the hate and vitriol that’s been poured on him because of this—you’d think he’d run over somebody with a truck the way people are acting. I’ve seen the racist hate thrown at him from other sites, and I swear i is completely over the top. The only reason I can think of that they’re doing was because he dogged out a white player named Crabtree whom he’s had beef with for some time.

      And, honestly, I don’t think he needed to apologize like he was pressured to do— I’ve read about how there are white players who trash-talk the same way, but rarely get called out for it. So why jumped all over Sherman for something so insignificant?

      Another thing—having been to college, I can tell you that even some of what looks like “easy” classes turn out to be the ones you still have to work hard in. In fact, you have to work hard period to even get through college—no sliding through like you could in high school.

  • WhatIThink

    In other words, the only time we let these beasts out of the cage is when they are in the arena. Otherwise they should stay in cages.

    Put it like that and they will shut up. They know dam well that sports and entertainment are the two main avenues they have purposely allowed blacks to “out”shine them in and they know perfectly well that this pent up energy has to be released. But they don’t want to acknowledge that this is all strictly controlled and the only place where they allow black folks to engage in any sort of expression of exuberance. So they let these guys go all out and do all sorts of things without really saying anything and wait to just the right time to put a smack down on them, in order to show them their place. It is all simply racism.

    But too many of us at the same token miss the obvious and seemingly let a little money and fame go to our heads because we forget that we aren’t in the drivers seat. It is a big chess game but most times were are simply the pawns.

  • JS

    Please see an article by Huff post in 2011 (I cant link but its called, “Stanford Athletes Had Access To List Of ‘Easy’ Classes: California Watch Report” which talks about how easy Stanford athletes have it in school compared to the rest of the student body, then come talk to me.

    Sherman majored in communications for godsake!

    Also coincidentally the main picture is a pic of Sherman with Harbaugh in the background. Mind you this was back in 2011 BEFORE the controversy. So you all can miss me with this intellect crap.

    • So because he got into Stanford, he should be called nigger? If this were a White man, there would’ve have been no talk. You sound like a piece of shit.