Major League Baseball Homer King Barry Bonds is less opinionated than he was while fighting PED allegations for almost a decade. He’s conquered MLB, returned to the game, had his federal charges dropped and is back where he belongs, influencing players and the game.
In fact, if you come at Bonds sideways, he probably won’t even pay you much attention because he’s having too much fun at the ballpark each night. However, the seven-time MVP had a lot to say against racism at his daughter’s elite private school.
Bonds went in on his Twitter page while posting a link to a video of white students from the school freely and happily using the N-word and other offensive language while singing along to A$AP Ferg’s song “Dump Dump”
“I am sad that I had to see this at my daughter’s school, #Racism #Fixit #Suspension,” tweeted Bonds, who is the current hitting coach for the Miami Marlins.
His daughter Alisha attends the exclusive Brentwood School in West Los Angeles. The tuition to attend that academic country club is almost 40k per year.
A Change.org petition entitled "Take action against the racist behavior of Brentwood students" also has been set up, with more than 450 signatures as of Wednesday afternoon. The petitioners want the school to investigate the video, which was also “filled with sexual innuendo”
Bonds' ex-wife signed the petition and posted it on Twitter.
"The school is handling the situation," Elizabeth Bonds told the Daily News Wednesday.
"Is this what $40k worth of private education gets you? I am extremely embarrassed that my daughter is a current junior at this school and has been here since kindergarten. I can't even speak. I blame the parents of these children. SMH," she wrote in the post.
School officials have vowed to take action and released a lengthy, predictable statement about the party being off school grounds and how they will make more attempts to foster a climate of mutual respect.
Racism or Culture Gap Problem
My issue with all of this is that we have A LOT of different dynamics at work here. We can start with the always controversial, polarizing and nearly commercial use of the N-word in today’s changing society, especially in music.
When adults like Bonds and his wife were in school, the racial and musical climate was different. Rap hadn’t engulfed the mainstream and therefore all of its stereotypes and cliches and accepted words on wax had more of a subculture feel to it.
It wasn’t totally accepted by mainstream America, so therefore the music only penetrated certain aspects of society. We have written numerous articles on the N-word and its evolution into mainstream usage and how people perceive the use of it differently even within the African-American community.
Despite the despicable history associated with the word, the rap world has embraced it as one of its most commonly used terms. As the country moves further away from slavery and social media brought the world within a fingertip of each other, hip-hop music has risen to the top of the musical food chain in America and internationally.
Look at this A$AP Ferg concert at Coachella in 2014. The majority of the kids in attendance and wigging out over the song are NOT people of color.
And as the white kids in America started becoming the No.1 consumers of this music, it grew in popularity and softened a bit in posture, but the key words and phrases that have shaped and fueled the music remain. Rappers say, “nigga, nigga, nigga, nigga,” all day long.
So where does that leave America? With a bunch of young kids of all ethnicities, appreciating rap culture, totally embracing it, participating in it from the hood to the highest levels of entertainment and eventually being comfortable enough within the watered down culture, to recite the lyrics of the rappers who have become the soundtrack of their lives. Yes, this demographic includes the privileged few of the Brentwood School.
I have no idea if the students shouting A$AP Ferg lyrics are racist. America is still inherently racist so I can’t start conveniently picking when people are being bigots. The lines of cross-culturalization these days, particularly in music and fashion, make it hard to call. The parents of these private school kids can’t really take all of the blame either as Bonds’ ex-wife suggested.
I expect them to teach their kids to be aware of the historical significance of the word and how offensive it can be. However, I don’t expect teenagers, who are rebellious by nature and enthralled by anything perceived as anti-establishment, to keep their political correctness in check when hanging out and indulging in rap culture. That’s unrealistic, especially in these days. You kind of have to understand the past and present of hip-hop to understand why this wasn't an act of bigotry.
Black rappers use the N-word like periods and commas in a book. Even rappers who were credited with being socially responsible such as A Tribe Called Quest, made songs referencing the N-word as a “term of endearment” and that was back in 1993.
Young America has become numb to the use of the word in music and a generational gap between the under-30 crew and any adult born before 1990 remains. Young white teenagers are around young blacks who refer to themselves as the N-word all the time and are increasingly confused as to when they can use it and when they can’t.
Of course Bonds is pissed about it. Of course, the school sees a PR nightmare on its hands and will lash out with a live for prime time TV fury against these kids. Overreaction is always the reaction in these touchy matters.
The kids parents are embarrassed because no white person wants to be labeled a racist or give the impression that they promote it in their homes. The kids, however, probably don’t see what the hell they did wrong.
And truth be told, rather than a bigoted attack, I saw a support and appreciation of what other races perceive as “black culture” in 2016 in that 26-second video that was posted on YouTube Monday by a group called "Brentwood Students Against Racism."
The Brentwood School website lists minorities of color as comprising 26% of its kindergarten through sixth-grade and 34% of grades seven through 12.
It's not clear exactly where or when the incident was recorded, but comments posted to the video claimed it was filmed at a private party thrown on a boat. Everything is harmless and free amongst youngsters until adults come along and put their outdated spin on things.
Looked like a bunch of rich kids having fun to me. Despite their financial privilege and pre-ordained futures of prosperity, they are allowed to have some ignorant fun.
Problem is, Bonds and his wife are making sure it won’t be at the expense of their African-American daughter.