Four score, and nearly seven years ago, a teenager was trying to probably make some of his high school buddies laugh not knowing what the future held for him. Racially fueled tweets and homophobic remarks have no room at any age, but we forgive younger people’s mistakes because they are not as experienced. One such teenage boy was Josh Hader. I will not directly quote the tweets because I do not wish to spread such hate. There are quite a few peculiar moments while witnessing the timeline of the tweets themselves, the reactions, and the backlash. I find the standing ovation and the dismissal of the acts themselves both appalling.
A defense I’ve seen for Hader was his age. When I spoke of “we forgive” I meant as a society we downplay heinous acts because someone is younger and I want to come out and say this is unacceptable. Just because someone is young whether it be an young adult, a teenager, or a child, racism and homophobia are NOT OK. It’s the same forgiving culture that may inspire kids to think “It’s okay for me to say these things because it won’t matter when I get older.” Children and adolescent brains, as one might assume, are the most impressionable. So when a famous athlete is forgiven for saying these horrible things, then a child may be impressed into believing that the same may happen for them, fueling an ignorant culture in the underbelly of a society.
When the children become tainted it becomes easier and easier for the next generation to fall into the same web. Many would believe racism to be on the retreat with the Civil Rights’ Acts being over a half-century old but we still see arrogant language all over. I’ve had an issue with the idea that older people are allowed to be ignorant and hateful towards race because “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” This same loophole can still be applied to teens and kids for the very fact that if they begin racist, then they too, cannot change. Our society has softened on morality and should bring open-mindedness to homes almost as a discipline. Parenting needs to evolve now more than ever with these past few years showing that racism is still very alive and well.
As for the standing ovation, I thought it was an American ideal to be honest and own up to your mistakes. I haven’t been applauded for owning up to the fact that I shouldn’t have hit or attacked someone, or apologizing for something I shouldn’t have said. My friends didn’t compliment me for knowing I did something wrong and admitted it. It’s something one is supposed to do. So the fact that an athlete gets a gigantic roar in his return following a public apology feels like something deeper.
Something tells me that this crowd at Miller Field weren’t cheering for Hader, but found this as a way of apologizing themselves. Human nature demands that if you can forgive someone else for something they did, you can move on for the same reason. Basically, my theory is that all the Brewers fans who gave a standing ovation to Josh Hader in his first game back, have committed similar racial and homophobic speech in some way or some form. So because they have forgiven this famous athlete who plays for the home team, they may now find peace and solace for their past sins without being openly exposed.
The over-forgiving gives me nervous chills for where our country is and that apologies cure racism and homophobia even though the problem has rooted itself square in our society. With each apology given, and action not taken against it, the same vicious, hateful cycle will be fed through from the elders, all the way down to the infants who all are witness to the openly racist, but semi-apologetic American culture. So if you want to see the state of the country, you may see it’s reflection in Miller Field where racism is tolerated for the sake of the youth being naive, and the elderly blind to the true problem.