Fans kicked out of Boston baseball stadium for ambiguous anti-racism banner

Except racists would never advertise themselves using the actual word “racism” to define their message – they have a good enough time just saying outright racist things.


I would rather see that its ambiguity is the real power.
People are thinking and talking rather than just tapping “like” or dismissing altogether.


Ouch, stil in 1976…


I think when anyone says “______ is a racist city” (no matter what city it is) people get upset because it’s like you’re saying “this is the one defining aspect of the city”, and so residents feel like you’re singling them out personally. I would also say “OK, name a non-racist city”, because I’ve witnessed racism in all three cities I’ve lived in. (A friend of mine used to talk about how her hometown in the mid-west was a some kind of non-racist Eden, she moved back there a few years ago and found the town was dealing with a rash of antisemitic graffiti.)

I’ve lived in Boston for 20 years, and my impression of the city is that it is mostly a very liberal city but that there is still a segment of the population who are just old-school loudmouth “ya-dudes”, who have some kind of chip on their shoulder, and don’t care what they do or say (particularly when they get drunk); juxtapose racist taunts at Fenway with the huge masses that came out to counter-protest the “free speech” rally on the Common last month.

Boston still has a problem with racism because America still has a problem with racism.


EXCELLENT point; bigots and hate-mongers nearly always use code words & dog whistles; rarely do they call their malignancy exactly what it is.

I concur; I grokked it immediately.


Intent is ambiguous (hard to determine just from the banner if they’re happy about it or not), but the statement itself is unambiguously matter of fact. Racism is baked into America like shit in an apple pie.

But that’s exactly the problem. It isn’t, and feel-good statements arguably lend cover to American racism, a textbook No True Scotsman argument. I do agree their wording was needlessly unclear, but their message is spot on.

Unfortunately a college education no longer guarantees good communications skills, if it ever did.

I agree, and I think it’s interesting how people are piling on them for phrasing.

I didn’t; I wasn’t entirely certain, but I leaned toward anti-racist, and here’s why. If you call a racist racist or tell them their doing or saying something racist, they get instantly defensive. Racists are happy to be racist, but Jebus forbid anyone ever call them on it. If it matters, I have no strong opinions on baseball whatsoever, other than it making for some interesting math problems.

So being American is automatically good? Maybe that’s part of the problem.

Exactly! They avoid the label like they avoid minorities.


That’s where pejoration fails activism, it only buries the problem deeper.

Also Racism in America predates Baseball by a few centuries.


I would have wholeheartedly agreed with you only a few months ago. Honestly I just don’t know anymore.


What you say makes sense, only 1) that is still what I FELT initially, and 2) I would not be surprised at all if there is a segment who is unapologeticly racists. I know I’ve seen people super close to that, though perhaps not using that actual word.

So you’re right with a little thought one might lean that way, but a) still should be a clearer message and b) strange times, one can’t always be sure what things mean.

Disagree it is part of the problem. I think MOST people, even those who are aware of and criticize its problems, still mark up “American” as “good”. More good than bad, at least - or wanting to see the positive side.


Racist is the one word they seem to retain their allergy to even as they embrace everything else up to and including Nazi. I totally agree it’s a weird place to dig in on their hypocrisy, but dig in they do.

That’s valid. I only wanted to offer a counterpoint perspective that some, such as me, felt the opposite.

And see that’s what’s really weird to me. Originally I thought it was because they regarded racist as a slur, but they’ve embraced Nazi and even self-professed Nazis will argue with being called racist. I don’t pretend to understand it.

Okay, I knew that was going to get me into trouble without further explanation. I believe that the quest for a national identity is fine, and that the desire to have positive shared community values is also a good thing, but that when they’re combined together there is often a trend of trying to cherry pick from history to shore up a rose-tinted national identity. If people remain conscious of it and do face the bad and the ugly with the good parts of our shared culture and history, then we can avoid that pitfall and talk about working for a set of ideals. But when the word for our identity itself is whitewashed, it allows us to absolve ourselves of the truly horrible things that our nation and our ancestors and we have done and been part of. Hence the No True Scotsman reference. It’s fine to be proud of being Scottish just as it’s fine to be proud of being American, but it’s unhealthy to pretend it’s without its shameful elements as well, like a family that doesn’t talk about it’s problems.


It’s ambiguity is a feature not a a bug.

I am connected with this city in so many ways, and the truth stings (although this message is for our nation, not just this city).



I’d like to join those people pointing out that this sign isn’t really ambiguous. It’s a bald statement of fact as far as most people in the world are concerned.

Using American as a synonym for good rather than as one for ambiguos as best (like all other countries) strikes me as a much bigger communication fail than anything these people can be accused of.

Then they would have been lying.


It’s very rude of them to block out the advertising for the Native American casino like that.

there’s just too much meta.

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Agreed! I live in KC where we have the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, so the layered messaging was almost immediate to me, and a pleasure.


I would contend that the majority of people for a majority of countries associate their country as good. Whether this be Mexico or Brazil or Germany or Japan, their people, culture, and country are definitely talked about in a positive light by people who live there.


This was Fenway, just check your Apple Watch to read the signals.


Never forgotten.

RIP Josh Gibson, Satchel Paige, and many more…


I wouldn’t.

Most people in most of the world have pretty ambiguous feelings towards their country. Apart from the he racists in each country.

I haven’t read replies to this but I see they exist and I want to clarify that in most countries flag flying etc. is for when your team qualify for the world cup, not everyday use. In most countries where people think their country is an unalloyed good they are the racist minority. Most countries have ambiguous views of their history. Most countries have been colonised and know that their countryfolk would sell out their brothers and sisters for cash and/or a pat on the head from the colonists.

I think the pervasive propaganda in the US means that it would generally be a surprise to most Americans to realise that the US is perceived neither as good or bad per se throughout the world but rather its actions are parsed individually. Some are good. Some are bad. Same as everywhere else.