Sensitivity nitwits…

I hate to say it, but [tag]John Rocker[/tag] is right. Sensitivity training is a “farce,” as the [tag]Scoobie Doo[/tag] doppleganger and former big league wingnut was quoted as saying the other day.

Of course there’s another brand of nitwittery going on here – journalists desparate for a controversial quote asking John Rocker, one of the biggest dumbshits to ever handle a baseball, for an opinion on MLB’s sending [tag]Ozzie Guillen[/tag] to [tag]sensitivity training[/tag] for frothing at the mouth about [tag]Jay Mariotti[/tag]. But that’s too much of a digression to deal with right now.

I really hate to say it, but Rocker is 100% right. Sensitivity training, as a method of dealing with someone who is prone to say insensitive things is, frankly, bullshit. Equally wrong are the people who think that we should all collectively just let Ozzie be Ozzie, as so many have said.

The fact of the matter is that Ozzie Guillen, more than likely, does think that calling someone a “fag” is a pretty harsh slap in the face. He didn’t do it because he’s insensitive. He did it because he probably genuinely thinks that accusing Jay Mariotti of being a [tag]homosexual[/tag] is a pretty mean thing. Obviously Jay Mariotti thinks it’s a terrible thing too, otherwise he wouldn’t be continuously writing about the incident in his columns ever since.

The problem here isn’t a lack of sensitivity. If someone honestly believes that gays, blacks, women, baseball fans, nerds or whatever social grouping you’d like to choose is a bad thing no amount of sitting in a sensitivity training class is going to change those beliefs. So it’s not really sensitivity training, is it? It’s more like “how not to put your foot in your mouth and embarass your employer” training.

In a perfect world everyone would love and appreciate everyone else equally. We’d have no racism, no sexism and no bigotry of any kind. If we’re really lucky humanity might reach that state of perfection sometime within the next 100,000 years of our existence, provided we don’t cause catastrophic environmental degradation or otherwise annihilate each other first. The reality of the here and now is that some people don’t like other people and some people have abiding dislike, even hatred, for entire groups of people. Sometimes this is based upon legitimate gripes; I’d say the grieving wives, husbands, sons, daughters and friends of people killed in the WTC and Pentagon on 9/11/01 have a distinct and abiding right to hate Osama bin Laden and his pals, for instance. A lot of the time, however, people hate other people for reasons that defy logic or even common sense.

I propose that Ozzie Guillen called Jay Mariotti a “fag” because Ozzie Guillen doesn’t particularly like homosexual men (if he’s a typical male of his generation he’s probably pretty cool with the concept of homosexual women, but that’s another bit of thinking that defies logic and reason, and another digression best left for another article) and that what Ozzie was doing was not attempting to insult homosexuals by claiming Jay Mariotti is one of their kind and that he therefore needs to go to sensitivity training in order to learn that saying mean things hurts people, but, in fact, he was trying to insult Jay Mariotti by claiming that he is, in fact, gay. See, in order for that to be an insult you actually have to think there’s something wrong with being gay in the first place. Sensitivity training for Ozzie Guillen (or John Rocker for that matter) is then basically like proverbially trying to teach a pig to sing – it annoys the pig and wastes your time.

I do not excuse Ozzie’s behavior. I think it’s pretty unfortunate that such a gifted athlete and leader of other athletes is so stupid and small-minded. But I find it offensive that Major League Baseball thinks that what you do with someone who is stupid and small-minded (and has a big mouth) is send him to a class. Fine him. Fine him a lot of money. Make it hurt. Inflict fiscal damage on Ozzie Guillen and state emphatically that this big ol’ fine is a warning. More of the same behavior gets greeted with another fine and a significant suspension. And at three strikes, in keeping with baseball traditions, you’re out.

The focus in this country with regard to relations between different social groups has been for many years on tolerance. Tolerance is a terrible thing. Tolerance teaches you nothing. If I hate gays but I “tolerate” them then that just forces my hatred underground. So-called sensitivity training isn’t about teaching people to like people they hate, it’s about teaching them to keep their hate to themselves, or hidden behind walls. What we ought to be asking of ourselves and of others is acceptance. And instead of sending our prominent social figures to school for a day to learn how to keep their mouths shut we ought to be telling them what our values are and that we expect them to live up to those values or ply their trade elsewhere.

Sending Ozzie to class because he called Jay Mariotti a fag is assinine. It’s also treating him like a child who has forgotten to put his toys away instead of like an adult who ought to behave like one or pay some harsh consequences.

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