Posted: 03/10/14 15:39
by Dave Mindeman
Rep. Pat Garofalo is back in the news.
Let's be honest, 70% of teams in NBA could fold tomorrow + nobody would notice a difference w/ possible exception of increase in streetcrime
-- Rep. Pat Garofalo (@PatGarofalo) March 9, 2014
For some reason that tweet has come under some intense criticism. And Pat G. can't seem to understand why.
A lot of people look at that and see a racist comment. After all, the NBA is predominantly African-American and the word "streetcrime" is often just a euphemism for "black" crime.
But, of course, Rep. Garofalo didn't mean any of that. No, he just "meant" a reference to the high level of arrests among the league as a whole.
Actually, Garofalo may have realized a lifelong dream. He was mentioned in Sports Illustrated....
Garofalo defended his tweet to the Star Tribune, saying that he was merely "talking about the NBA's high arrest rate and that they are the only major pro league that testing positive for marijuana is not a substance abuse violation."
Of course, that explanation is complete BS, because not only is he factually wrong (Kevin Draper over at The Diss has figures that shows the arrest rate in the NBA is far below the national average), it's also nitpicking a minor issue as if it's a major one (marijuana is legalized in two states, widely available for medical use in another 18, and is generally considered not a major offense). Anyone with enough common sense can read between the lines of his tweet. The word "street," much like "thug," has a history of being associated with black American males, and the NBA is, of course, made up of mostly black male athletes.
Garofalo is no stranger to questionable statements. He had an unusual target when he complained about integration funding...
"There is simply no excuse for state government to be spending money on a six-step hip-hop program or a kindness retreat," Garofalo said, criticizing actual programs districts use the money for. "It's embarrassing these expenditures are even allowed under state law."
It almost seemed that money used for "hip-hop" particularly incensed him. Now, you might think that hip-hop is primarily an African-American form, but then maybe Rep. Garofalo is in to hip-hop in the privacy of his basement, along with his internet gambling....
I'm not going to call Rep. Pat Garofalo a racist. Only he can be the true judge of that. But the fact remains that statements like his have to have a mindset that brings them to the surface. And that kind of mindset should not be coming from a public political figure.
Garofalo likes to push the envelope. This time was probably too far.