From Uptown – It is my theory that this post will offend someone– it’s inevitable. Last week, I stumbled across a story entitled “You Mad Bro?”.Intrigued by the title I read the story of two rival football teams in Painesville, OH fighting over more than a few flags on the play. After the game, attendees of the winning side held up a sky blue tie-died sign with big, bright “notice me” yellow lettering that read: “You Mad Bro?”
That’s all. No racial undertones. No underlying discriminatory slur to be discovered. Simply, “You Mad Bro?”
While fully aware of how it could be taken, I took no offense. But I stuck with the article long enough to hear both sides. Roderick Coffee, president of the Lake County chapter of the NAACP and who was also in attendance at the game, stated, “At the conclusion of the game, some of their students and parents put up a sign that we believe was racial intimidation, ethnic intimidation. It seems like every day there is a new story.”
By this point, I’m still scratching my head and trying to utilize the analytical skills that cost me thousands of dollars in student loans. At the most basic level, I have seen many Black people use the word “bro” and although I’ve never taken a formal survey, I believe that I’ve heard just as many white people say “bro”.
In no way am I trying to downplay someone’s feelings. If any player, student, parent or attendee of that game was offended, I find their emotions valid. They were there. They know the climate and the place from which the “racial intimidation” came from.
However, from the outside looking in, I see it as another example that (takes a deep breath): for Black people, it always comes down to race.