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Mow your own lawn

By Brittany Feagans [brit.feagans@gmail.com]

While I usually appreciate and chuckle at the originality of the merchandise being sold on the streets of Wrigley, there is something bothering me that I need to get off my chest.

Recently there has been an infestation of derogatory t-shirts in Wrigleyville, particularly directed towards Latino baseball players. Last week as I walked by a stand on Clark Street, I had to look twice.

Was my 20/20 vision impaired by the Chicago humidity? Had I indulged in one too many $6.75 ballpark beers?

No. This was no mirage. This was straight-up discrimination. The vendor proudly displayed shirts advertising landscaping services. Shirts proclaiming, “Pujols Mows My Lawn,” or “Guillen Mows My Lawn.”

That’s when I saw it. “Zambrano Mows My Lawn.” The bright red shirt had racism written all over it. Not only were these shirts offensive to Latinos, but an anti-Cubs connotation as well? Now we have a problem.

Not only do Latinos comprise a significant percentage of the United States population, they are an important part of Major League Baseball.

In 2008, 239 Major League baseball players were born outside of the United States; 200 were of Hispanic origin. Of these 200 players, 88 hailed from the Dominican Republic, including current Cubs Aramis Ramirez, Carlos Marmol, and Alfonso Soriano.

On the Cubs’ active roster, six of the 25 active roster members are Latino. Even manager Lou Piniella, whose ancestors are from Spain, is also a native Spanish speaker.

Look at the baseball greats of past and present. Albert Pujols, Carlos Zambrano, Alex Rodriguez, Roberto Clemente, Sammy Sosa, Juan Marichal, Rafael Palmiero, Johan Santana, Rod Carew, Orlando Cepeda… Now tell me this: how can you not respect and admire these magnificent contributions to the American pastime?

Whatever happened to simply poking fun at rival teams? I still laugh every time I see a fan wearing an anti-Cardinals “Flip the Birds” shirt or the standard “Sox Suck” apparel.

There’s a difference between clever and uncalled for. Remember when last year’s “Horry Kow” Fukudome shirt sparked controversy amongst the Asian population?

Although the ignorant attitude of these street vendors and their customers isn’t reflective of all fans, it sure doesn’t set a very good example for a city in which nearly 30 percent of the population is Latino.

2 comments:

  1. Couldn't agree more, this crap has to go. Unfortunately, it isn't confined just to Wrigleyville. Shirts like this are cropping up all over the place. There are too many ignorant losers out there who think cruelty is funny. I'm all for poking fun in good taste now and then, but this is way over the line.

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  2. This is sad that this even around. Who makes this crap anyway? I'm glad you did a blog about this.

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