OK

So it's NBA All-Star Weekend in Houston. What this means is that a host of basketball players have flooded town, bringing money, groupies, and media. It's also meant a huge influx of African Americans into a town already filled with plenty of African Americans. However, more pertinently, it's reared an ugly scent of racism I can't quite ignore.

It's just odd. Places people would normally go, night venues, bars or clubs, are now off limits, at least until the end of the weekend. "It's a blackout over there" says one person. If you say you're going to one particular venue, another says "I'll make sure to buy you some weapons". As if the presence of a higher number of African Americans immediately means a higher rate of violence. Don't get me wrong, I'm aware that in certain parts of the community, primarily those with high rates of poverty, there might be some justification to the fear.

But the majority of people coming to these places are flying in, or coming in large groups that have rented entire venues. It seems preposterous to immediately infer greater chances of violence based on ethnicity without acknowledging the role poverty plays in subgroups of the African American population. NBA players making millions have much less incentive to be firing pistols. It might happen, but the percentage chances aren't likely, and it lends itself to a narrative that African Americans are intrinsically more violent.

Even phrases spoke innocently enough, like "You're going to go gangster", meant to play to elements of hip hop that glorify the lifestyle, again take an entire ethnicity and impose a stereotype upon them. Do blacks that listen to a lot of hip hop act differently than whites that listen to a lot of country? Yeah, probably. Speaking mannerisms, lingo, methods of dancing, culture, that can all be different. Does that mean they're bad people or more violent? Do we really need to be having that discussion in 2013?

And it ignores the similarities the groups have. The same people criticizing the music and creators of it are the same people listening and dancing to the products in different bars and clubs. It makes no sense.

Look, it can be scary dealing with things that are different. That's a truth. If you don't have a lot of experience dealing with black people, you'll probably be nervous. You'll probably wonder if you're saying the wrong things. However you're never going to bridge the gap by avoiding places where people of different ethnicities go. So says the six foot tall Anglo adopted by hispanic parents who was in love with a black woman.

That last one was for laughs.

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