Sanity Injection

Injecting a dose of sanity into your day’s news and current events.

Archive for July 8th, 2009

Think racism mostly thrives in the South? Think again.

Posted by sanityinjection on July 8, 2009

This is one of the most blatant examples of racism I’ve seen in a long time:

And let it be stressed that it happened not in the Deep South but in Philadelphia, a “blue” city in a “blue” state that voted for Obama. And yet, Philadelphia, like many Northern cities,  does have a history of racism as disturbing as anything in the South. (New York City, too, has had plenty of race riots over its long history.)

If the members of the Valley Swim Club are so prejudiced that they want to get out of the pool when black children enter it, that is their right to do so. But for the club to renege on its agreement with the Creative Steps Day Camp and prevent the children from using their pool is indefensible. If you don’t want outsiders in your pool, don’t take their money. Apparently the Swim Club wasn’t concerned about the color of the day camp’s money until its members complained about the color of their skin.

What’s particularly disturbing was the remarks made by a white parent as overheard by one of the black campers: “I’m scared they [the black kids]might do something to my child.” It’s hard to imagine that a kid would make up something like that, so let’s assume it’s true. First of all, what is a black kid going to do to a white kid that another white kid couldn’t just as easily do? Shoot them in the face? Second of all, whence the assumption that black people are all hooligans? Or is it rather a case of projection, in which the white parent assumes that the blacks must dislike her and her child as much as she fears and dislikes them?

I’m sure this incident is embarrassing to the many good people of Philadelphia, and I hope that the Valley Swim Club and its members will find themselves the subject of intense pressure to change their attitude.


Posted in Domestic News | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

I think I agree with the Muslims on this one: Part II

Posted by sanityinjection on July 8, 2009

Twice in less than a year’s time  that I find myself on common ground with Muslim religious values! And of course it took the ultimate evil to do it: “reality” television.

I have to admit, at least this time the idea was creative.  A Turkish TV station came up with the idea of a competition between a Muslim imam, a Christian priest, a Jewish rabbi and a Buddhist monk to try to convert 10 atheists to their respective faiths. The show is supposed to air this fall.

However, the Muslim authorities in Turkey are not amused and are refusing to allow any of their imams to participate: “Doing something like this for the sake of ratings is disrespectful to all religions.” And I have to say I agree. Faith should not be a popularity contest, and religious truth should not be judged by who has the most followers – or offers the most tempting blandishments to converts.

The TV network’s response was disturbing: “We don’t approve of anyone being an atheist. God is great and it doesn’t matter which religion you believe in. The important thing is to believe.”  In other words, freedom of religion in Turkey, but not for atheists. Of course those who go on the show would be willing participants, but if I were an atheist I would worry about how I might be treated based on how my fellow nonbelievers are portrayed on the show. If it were handled by a typical American reality show production company, which deliberately instigates conflicts and uses creative editing to portray people as negatively as possible in order to boost ratings, one might imagine the “contestants” being portrayed as speaking or acting disrespectfully toward one faith or another, which could lead to unpleasant consequences. I personally find atheism distasteful, but I think the right to refuse to believe is just as important as the right to choose what to believe.

I’m also puzzled by the inclusion of Judaism, because it is fundamentally not a proselytizing religion. In fact, rabbis are known to try to talk people out of converting to Judaism. While I could see a rabbi being willing to do the show as a way of spreading understanding of the Jewish faith in a predominantly Muslim country, I can’t imagine that rabbi having much success in actually converting anyone to Judaism.

Then again, we are told that the Lord works in mysterious ways…

Posted in Foreign Affairs, Religion | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Let’s tell the truth about “grunting” in women’s tennis

Posted by sanityinjection on July 8, 2009

Watching the finals of the Wimbledon tennis tournament this weekend, I was reminded of the continuing controversy over the loud “grunting” noises made by a number of women’s tennis players, including the Williams sisters and Maria Sharapova. There has been much discussion of this practice, with many tennis figures weighing in to either attack or defend it.

It is generally agreed that Monica Seles was the first big-time women’s tennis player to engage in this practice, encouraged by some coaches as a way of reducing stress. Younger players saw Seles’ success and copied the noise along with other aspects of her game.

However, I have yet to hear anyone tell the truth about this so-called “grunting”. In fact, it’s not grunting at all. “Shrieking” would be more like it. A blind person could well be forgiven for thinking that the ladies in question were engaged in vigorous lovemaking or delivering babies based on the sounds they are making. And it’s not simply an issue of being ladylike. Even the men don’t make such noises. Roger Federer and Andy Roddick played a 4-hour final on Sunday and neither one felt the need to shriek at any time.

If this were simply a matter of a natural sound that was the by-product of physical exertion – a true “grunt” if you will – then I would agree that all this would be much ado about nothing. However, the truth is that what these women are doing is deliberately being as loud as they can in order to pump themselves up psychologically and distract and startle their opponents. After all, when was the last time you heard a baseball player screech when hitting the ball? Even boxers don’t emit such sounds when they beat each other to a pulp.

Tennis authorities have discussed implementing rules to sanction players who are too loud. I’m not sure how you enforce that – how do you decide what decibel level is OK? For some players, it has become so routine that they may not even realize that they are doing it. Rather, I think it should be the coaches who train tennis players from an early age who should put a stop to this practice. And the media should stop calling it “grunting”.

Posted in Sports | Tagged: , , | 8 Comments »