More racial outrage was stoked over the weekend, when social media jumped on an incident at a Colorado Rockies baseball game in which a fan was heard loudly and repeatedly shouting the N-word at a black player up to bat.
Thankfully, before the rioting could start, it was determined no one was yelling any slurs. A fan was calling for the Rockies mascot… “Dinger.”
It sounds like the fellow in Denver may have been yelling “Dinger,” not what folks originally heard, at least to many who listen. MLB has been looking into it but so far no one nearby said they heard a racial epithet. So that may actually be positive news. https://t.co/VQyQYp7hg3
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) August 9, 2021
As a black woman and someone who has covered claims of horrific racial crimes over the past few years, I was naturally intrigued by the original story. But I must be honest — I didn’t for one second think that there was actually a Rockies fan sitting around shouting the N-word at a professional baseball game, in which three-quarters of the players are black and have been for decades.
It’s not because I am some “MAGA maniac” who is in denial that racism exists in some of the dusty corners of this country, and sometimes, even right in front of us. I’ve had too many of my own experiences to think that.
No, I thought that because, since 2016, nearly every public case of racial slurs being hurled in public has turned out to be a hoax. Naturally, my journalist hackles were raised the moment I saw social media erupt about the incident. My first thought was, “What was he really saying?”
My second thought — because I am a curious person who knows better than to jump to conclusions based on a tweet schedule — was, “No way this guy was screaming that so loudly, for so long, without one single person around him commenting, throwing something at him, tackling him or at the very least going to grab security. No way.”
I thought that not because I have some high-minded ideal of who Americans are. I thought that because, logically speaking, in this day and age of wokeism, there’s no way that there wasn’t at least a single person around the man who would have jumped at the opportunity to play woke warrior and “punch a Nazi.” There are people who wait their entire lives to find a blatant racist for just that reason.
But that’s the problem, isn’t it? Logical people like myself didn’t immediately jump to outrage, because we posited through the possibilities and reasoned that no person in a public forum in modern America would be allowed to shout something that horrible, that loudly, for that long. It didn’t make sense to the thinking person. But there are people for whom race and racism have become idols of this new church, The Church of the Perpetually Offended (COTPO). In COTPO, race is worshipped, wokeism is penance, and salvation can only be achieved by being victimized.
In COTPO, the saints are not those who have performed public miracles but those who have been the victims of public -isms. Racism, sexism…you know the drill. In COTPO, the faithful cannot be dissuaded from their perpetual pain. To do so would be to ask one to denounce their faith altogether.
Case in point — the young man at bat, Lewis Brinson, said that even after the charges against the fan proved to be false and all evidence pointed to Dinger, he still can’t stop hearing the N-word in his head.
“So I watched the video at least 50 times in the past 15-16 hours. I watched it a lot, especially when I heard that he said Dinger instead of the n-word.”
“I personally — this is again my personal opinion — I personally keep hearing the n-word. It’s not that I want to hear it, I never want to hear it. Personally I’ve never been called that in person to my face on the baseball field, outside the baseball field, ever, so I don’t know what my reaction would be if I got called that.”
Brinson didn’t even hear the word while batting (a good thing, because it means he’s focusing on his job and not fans). When he did look at the video, he’d already been told it was the N-word, so his mind was primed to fill in any audial blanks in the video. As RedState writer Bonchie pointed out, our brains will help us see or hear what we’re looking for, if we want it bad enough.
Let me explain something. The mind has a way of hearing what you tell it to hear. There are many mind-twisters where a piece of audio is played and subtitled in a way that makes you hear something that it’s not actually saying. This was a favorite technique on those “ghost hunting” shows where they’d play some garbled static, but would tell you what it’s supposedly saying. Sure enough, you’d start to hear what they were claiming.
In this case, a whole lot of people were told they would hear the n-word before every pressing play. Because of the similarities between the n-word and the name Dinger, it was easy for people to trick themselves into hearing what they wanted to hear, not what was actually being said. That’s why those in the crowd didn’t hear the n-word. They were not predisposed to hear it so they heard the actual word, in this case, Dinger.
Brinson himself admitted he’d never been called that word before. That was another thing I instinctually knew. My childhood in an all-white province in Canada in the ’80s and ’90s was filled with the N-word. I heard it every single day. When you’ve been a victim of the word, you know it when you hear it, and frankly, it loses a bit of its weightiness after a while. His reaction was a sign that he’d had no experience with the word.
And he still doesn’t. But he told us he hears it anyway.
It goes without saying (although we keep having to say it) that America is not a perfect country with perfect people. Racism lurks, as does sexism and general cruelty. As I’ve said over and over in my life, a**holes are everywhere. No country, county, or city has a lock on them.
However, America has been so successful in relegating racism to the fringes of society that the congregants of COTPO find themselves desperately searching for racism around every corner, even at a televised baseball game.
Why wouldn’t they? Genuinely blatant and public racist incidents are hard to come by these days, but that’s what you need to reach sainthood status and continue to fill the collection plate. They so rarely encounter a genuine incident that eventually just the possibility of an offense becomes of equal value to an actual offense.
In the digital age, that narrative was never going to last long, and thankfully so, for the fan who was just trying to flag down a mascot for a picture. But rest assured that the COTPD will not end their services. Like with every other racial hoax/misunderstanding they’ve coopted for their faithful, they will simply add this to their weekly sermons as an event that didn’t really happen, but could have happened — and for their ardent followers, that’s all that matters.