Tuesday, May 03, 2005


Mary Mitchell, Perception and Racism

In the long run, just who is she trying to help?

Maybe there is more to the story, but as Mary Mitchell tells it a man tried to pull a fast one at a White Sox game, got called on it, and didn't like the consequences.
The group ran into trouble when they were turned away from the Stadium Club, a private lounge, because they had a drink in hand. Two of the consultants got rid of their drinks. Wilder and Braun stayed outside the club and, Wilder admits, he tried to sweet talk the waitress into letting them bring their drinks into the club.

That turned out to be a bad idea.

"She told me that she would call 'Vito,' the security guard, and Vito came out of the lounge with a chip on his shoulder," Wilder said.

When the pair tried again to enter the lounge, this time without their drinks, the security guard allegedly said Braun could go in, but Wilder couldn't.

"I asked him why, and he told me that I had too much to drink. When I pointed out the fact that I had the same amount to drink as my associates and that it was b------t, a security guard got into my face."
Security as White Sox games is excellent. They are quick to clamp down on unruly behavior and Mitchell's account seems to offer a good example of this. Wilder was refused entry because his behavior was out of line and a security guard got in his face only after he used profanity. Would he have been refused entry if he'd just followed the rules, as did his companions? Doesn't mouthing off to a security guard who obviously has "a chip on his shoulder" indicate a lack of self control?

Wilder's effort at "sweet talk" is the crux of the matter, specifically the perception of the recipient. Communication is, after all, a two way street. Wilder was trying to pull a fast one and the waitress took offense. What was the problem with the perceptions of the waitress? Mitchell doesn't really address why she feels that it was racist.

From the information she provided, its impossible to discern that Wilder was treated differently because he's black. But it is clear enough that had he behaved himself none of this would have happened. As for Mitchell's assertion that black people receive greater than average scrutiny in certain situations, she's undoubtedly right. But how does whining about it while contributing to a pr campaign that seems intended to bully the White Sox help anyone in the long run, other than Mr Wilder and his attorney?


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