It’s Cinco De Mayo and the NBA’s Phoenix Suns are going to wear some specialized jerseys to celebrate their many latino fansn for tonight’s playoff game against the San Antonio Spurs. Instead of just “Suns”, for tonight, they’ll be “Los Suns”. This gesture was planned weeks in advance, but has taken on a new meaning as Arizona just passed a harsh new immigration law.
Owner Robert Sarver came right out and publically removed all doubts about the political message he was sending when he said:
Reading the ESPN article on the change, I happened to catch a throwaway line about how a similiar thing played out the last time the Superbowl was scheduled in Arizona. Apparently, far from being a decades long holiday of historic importance as I assumed it was growing up in CA, the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday was only a recent invention, first celebrated in 1986. When it was first adopted in the 80’s, MLK Jr. day wasn’t a national holiday celebrated everywhere. Half the states didn’t immediately decide to make that day a holiday. That’s news to me since living in CA, I can only assume we’ve been celebrating this day from the beginning. Anyway, the NFL voted to take away the Superbowl from AZ because of them not celebrating the holiday. Even John McCain was against it, though that comes as no surprise now. So after a voter initiative and heavy lobbying, AZ popularly voted to make that day an official holiday and the NFL brought the Superbowl back a few years later.
All this was very surprising to me, as I had grown up with the holiday (no I didn’t pay much attention to it when I was in grade school, but it would have first happened around 4th or 5th grade). I cannot imagine my schooling without MLK and his impact on civil rights. I cannot imagine being taught that he was anything less than a major influencial piece of the Civil Rights era in the 50’s and 60’s. My worldview would probably be very different, especially if I had grown up in some of the southern states where I just learn, to my horror, that they have a Confederate holiday, or that MLK Jr. day is bundled in with a birthday for Robert E. Lee. No wonder those people are so pissed off at me in the Confederate topics when I call them racists. They’ve been fed this shit for their entire lives!
Which brings me back to Texas. A month or so ago, Texas apparently decided to de-emphasize a lot of minorities and liberals in their education curriculum. People from pre-Civil War days fighting for minority and women’s rights, Cesar Chavez, and Thomas Jefferson’s deism were all given the short shaft while a bunch of conservative and religious loons got a higher billing. If I had any doubts that such a thing was dangerous and stupid in the past, all of that has been erased. I can see exactly how different I would have turned out had I been unlucky enough to live in one of those backward former slave states. It disgusts me that somewhere in a parallel universe, a version of me is defending the Confederate flag using some bullshit state’s rights or Southern heritage nonsense. I wish California can man up and use it’s even larger and even more influential powers based on our population to act as a liberal counterweight to the crap that Texan children and children across this nation will be teaching for a generation. It’s this kind of purposeful misrepresenting of history that cuts deeper and harms us more as a nation than a hundred dimwitted Tea Bagger rallies.