Fans in the stands at Fenway Park in Boston unveiled a banner at yesterday’s baseball game. Here’s a picture.
A news story about the incident
Here’s a story about it:
“Alt-right” activists unveil banner at Fenway
September 13, 2017
In the middle of the fourth inning of the Red Sox-Athletics game on Wednesday night, a sign was unfurled from the front row of Section 6 of Fenway Park’s Monster Seats.
“Racism is as American as baseball,” it read.
The sign remained visible for approximately two minutes before security personnel removed both the sign and four people — all white men between the ages of 40 and 66 – from Fenway Park.
Police said the protestors identified themselves as members of the “Alt-right.” According to Alex Kowalski, a fan who was sitting in the seats next to the where the banner was hung, “They were spouting nonsense about America’s European heritage and the rights of white people.”
A website for a group taking responsibility for the action posted a message about it, including the sentiment, “The races in America are unequal. It’s time we admitted it.”
According to a statement issued by the team, four people were removed from Fenway for violating “the club’s policy prohibiting signs of any kind to be hung or affixed to the ballpark.”
Another news story about the incident
Here’s a different perspective:
Green Monster protesters make big league statement
September 13, 2017
The Green Monster sported a massive “Racism is American as baseball” banner last night as guerrilla activists staged a fourth-inning protest last night in the latest race-related incident at Fenway Park.
Four protesters were ejected, telling ballpark security on the way out that the message was inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement. No charges were filed, and the four left the stadium without further incident.
“During the fourth inning of tonight’s game, four fans unfurled a banner over the left field wall in violation of the club’s policy prohibiting signs of any kind of be hung or affixed to the ballpark,” the Red Sox said in a released statement. “The individuals involved were escorted out of Fenway Park.”
Immediately after the final out in the top of the fourth inning, the banner was draped near the middle of the Green Monster. It remained until just before the bottom of the inning, when ballpark security confiscated the banner and broomed the activists.
“We see Boston continually priding itself as a kind of liberal, not racist city, and are reminded also constantly that it’s actually an extremely segregated city,” the protester said. “It has been for a long time, and that no white people can avoid the history of racism, essentially. So, we did this banner as a gesture towards that, to have a conversation about that.”
What is the truth?
One of these stories is true and appeared in a Boston newspaper. The other one is fake news, I made it up.
Which one do you think is true? Don’t read on until you’ve chosen one.
Here’s what I think is going on with this picture and how people see it.
Boston has a history of racism. Fans have shouted racist taunts at black outfielders in Fenway Park. So this incident occurs in a racially charged context.
The moment you read this banner, the blood rushes to your head. The word “racism” is emotionally charged. All people of color in America have experienced it. And virtually all white people feel it does not apply to them. So the moment you see the words “racism” and “America” on a banner, you become incensed at the people who posted it, bringing racial politics into a baseball game.
So you hate and resent the banner.
If you tend more towards white guilt, you may think the protestors are like those in Charlottesville, and this is a banner created in favor of racism. You believe the first story, that racists posted the banner to justify their views.
If you tend more towards suspicion of liberal entitlement, you may think the protestors are Black Lives Matter people attempting to draw attention to their perception of racism and running down the values of America. You believe the second story, that Black Lives Matter sympathizers posted the banner.
This banner is like a Rorschach test for your vision of America. The truth shouldn’t depend on what you believe, but too often, these days, it does.
Who actually posted the banner? To find out, read this story in the Boston Herald.
Photo: Boston Globe.