February 17, 2014

The Other Side of Anger

Sometimes second-guessing is a good thing. Yesterday was one of those times.

Jamie read the post in which I borderline ranted about what I perceived as my daughter and her basketball team being racially painted with a broad brush. Even though I don't take back what I said, our conversation was what I needed to self-reflect.

I was angry about Street Ball being used to describe how our daughter's team played, and to an extent - the individuals on the team. Now, in my mind, Street Ball is just code for poor and black. What I didn't know, and what Jamie told me, is that the term can also be used to describe a certain type of aggressive play.
I don't know Rochelle...maybe she was just using the term just for what it is and not any kind of code. Maybe it's just what she really meant. 

I hadn't thought about that. Maybe it was. Maybe it wasn't.
Maybe she brought her experience with that as a technical term and used it in this particular instance while I, on the other hand, brought my experience of years of race-related slights and run-ins as I heard it.
I'm still sure about what my gut told me at that point in time. But, if I'm being honest, the only known thing are the words I heard. I can't get inside someone's head and know intent

Well, if she didn't mean it in that way, she certainly shouldn't have said what she said within earshot of parents or especially the team who could think it was code.
He agreed and then tossed another maybe:
Maybe she does regret it. I mean, after you said what you did, maybe she walked out of there wishing she had done things differently.

Crap. Maybe she does.
While I'm seething, she could possibly be replaying the whole scenario and wondering what the heck she was thinking.
My gut tells me probably not, but I'm not a psychic and don't play one on TV, so really...truly: I don't know.

Understand that my husband wasn't trying to defend or downplay what happened.. Remember, he's got a stake in this too: our daughter. If I'm the scary momma-bear, then he's Prince Charming liable to turn Mr. Hyde in her defense.

But what Jamie wanted me to do was think -- think about words that will live on in perpetuity in cyberspace. And I did. 

I thought about how I don't want anyone broad-brushing me based on race when they don't know who I am on the inside. You know -- that whole content of character thing. Yet here I was doing that very thing to someone else when the only thing I knew about that person was the name on a coaching roster.

You know, our invisible baggage follows us everywhere we go. It colors (no pun intended) everything -- from how we carry ourselves, to our choice of language and phrases, to how language and phrases fall on our ears, and to how we respond to all of the above.

I guess I had forgotten that even as I was smack dab in the middle of it.

Now, back to the Great Street Ball Incident of 2014: I am still convinced my gut was 99% right about it, as well as my response to it, as is Jamie.

But there's always that 1%...


  1. Ro, I don't have a stake in the fight, but the term street ball to me has never meant black or white. It has always been about smart hustle, physical play - an "in yo face", take no prisoners kinda game that is often a lot more interesting to watch than the folks who earn the big bucks to do it for a living...but maybe I'm naive? :)

    1. No more naive than I am, Rick....and if I had my druthers, I'd skip out on pro ball every time. :)