As I have gotten older, I find it harder and harder to associate with people in my own age group. My tendency of being impatient and irritable notwithstanding, I generally feel like 80% of what individuals in their early-to-mid 20’s say isn’t very important. It’s not a knock on young people; I’m sure 80% of what I write on this blog isn’t very important to most people, either, but I still take pride in it. Because it’s at least real.
People from prior generations often look at the one that comes after as inherently different, softer, more entitled, lazier, all of those things and a myriad of others. I look at my little brother, for example, who’s a senior in high school, and I think he’s incredibly soft. Mentally, physically… across the board. I see his friends and I think the same about them, and so on and so forth. Younger people really just don’t do it for me; I need to hear some experiences; typically, I’ve found those older than I am are easier to have real conversations with. It’s more rare with people my own age, so I’m lucky to have a best friend like the one I have.
But that is all beside the point, really.
One thing the younger generation is better at than any of the others, I would think, is tolerance. It’s not 1965, anymore. Racism is obviously still alive and kicking, but among people born after 1990, I’d like to think the heavy majority were all taught through the public education system that — this might sound kind of crazy — everyone was created equally. For the most part, we all have two arms and two legs, 10 digits in each set, we all need to eat and breathe and exist.
That’s why the whole Marcus Smart vs. ignorant old bigot white man controversy that recently happened at Texas Tech is such a thing.
The fan claims he called Smart a “piece of crap,” but according to the Internet (the Internet is never wrong), he really told him to “Go back to Africa, nigger.”
Logically, Marcus Smart — being as talented as he is — probably hears some pretty obscene shit when Oklahoma State is on the road. My guess is, if he really was called the n-word, I’m surprised he didn’t give the old man more than just a shove. If they were on the street, there’s no way he would have gotten off so easy.
Unfortunately for Smart, he’s being tagged with a three-game suspension. If I put myself in his shoes, I likely would have done the same type of thing if a fan was trying to be brave in front of me. In basketball, players and fans talk a lot of shit to each other;
There’s playful shit-talking; there’s competitive shit-talking; there’s getting personal shit-talking; and there’s You Just Can’t Say That Without Getting Hit shit-talking. I believe Marcus Smart, who is a well-spoken, mild, regular guy with an extreme talent on the hardwood, was hearing Level 4 shit-talking.
I know this is the era of political correctness, but this is an issue about right and wrong. Without provocation — if Smart was just shoving people because he was frustrated — I could see why a suspension would be necessary. And for much longer than three games.
In the grand scheme of a basketball season, a three-game suspension is a slap on the wrist, which makes me think there was clearly some error on both sides. Marcus Smart gets valuable experience in knowing that racism is not dead, and the Big 12 gives a break to a player who was acting within his rights;
not as a college basketball star, but as a human being.