Cry-Gate and Sexist Stereotypes

Education for Liberation

In the second semester of the 2010 school year, seventh grade students at the Curley K-8 School (BPS), in Jamaica Plain, were given the following facts and description of events surrounding the report that Miami Heat players were crying in the locker room after a loss:

· David Stern, the Commissioner of the NBA, discovered through a poll which he issued to the NBA fans at the beginning of the year, that most fans regarded NBA players as “thugs;”

· The vast majority of players are Black or of-Color, and the majority are African American;

· Ron Artest was regarded as the most thug-like criminal lunatic of all when he, responding to having a beer tossed in his face by a fan, ran into the stands and indiscriminately bashed whoever he was able to reach;

· Conversely, Magic Johnson and Isaiah Thomas burst asunder numerous sports and male stereotypes when they kissed each other at mid-court at the start of every NBA finals game in the year 1988;

· The vast majority of fans in the loge area — that is, the first floor where they could reach Artest and hit him with a cup full of beer — are rich White Americans. (The average cost of a ticket for a Lakers-Heat game is $893, http://www.cnbc.com/id/39759568?slide=11&par=yahoosports);

· Sports radio and TV jocks spoke of the Miami Heat “criers” as “punks” and “girls”;

· Coach of the LA Lakers, Phil Jackson, said “this is a game for men,” not for boys, and that the Miami Heat players who were crying are not ready for prime time;

· Ron Artest, who is coached by Phil Jackson, and who was remanded to mandatory therapy after his bashing incident six years ago, said, “I cry with my therapist all the time. We hug each other, we hold each other, and get it all out. Then we go have an ice cream together. I think it’s good for a man to cry…”

The following is the collective agreements of the 7th grade students at the Curley (BPS) to the cry-gate incident:

A real man cries. It is a man who is not in touch with his whole self who is unable to cry. Why should NBA players not be able to express their emotions? Remember, in basketball the players do not wear helmets, they do not have shoulder pads on. They wear shorts and t-shirts. Therefore, anyone can see all of their emotions. It is a hypocritical modern-day plantation owner who regards the players as “thugs” if they get mad, and “punks” if they cry.

We were learning about the gladiators in ancient Greece. These people were slaves who had to fight each other for the entertainment of the slave owners in the stadium, cheering them on like bloodthirsty maniacs. The NBA players are like high-paid slaves in a coliseum.

If the fans are paying all this money to see a game, then they should be grateful and let all the racist judgment go. Remember, it is a game — real men play games, and real men also do important things in real life like take care of their families, get angry when their family is not well-taken care of, and cry when there is a tragedy. None of these latter examples are games to be played at. As Ron Artest has shown us, real life is nothing to play with, and our emotions are valid, and not to be judged.

It is sexist to say that men are thugs when they get mad, and that they are punks when they cry. These are unhealthy ways of separating men and women. Furthermore, it is racist to say that Black men are thugs and punks. When would two White sports figures ever be seen kissing each other during a game, the way Magic Johnson and Isaiah Thomas did in the 1988 finals?

Let it all out! It’s healthy to show how you feel. It’s disrespectful to call names like “gay” or “punks” because a man does something healthy like show his emotions. Those who matter don’t judge; and those who judge don’t matter.