Sometimes real life won't let you forget the stuff you debate on the Internet.
Last night I caught the Pretty Boy Floyd Ricky Hatton championship fight, and I found myself cheering for my man Pretty Boy to win. Of course that wasn't hard, he is one of my favorite fighters, who I think is right up there with Sugar Ray Leonard as an all time great in his weight division (now watch all the e-mails and nasty comments I get from the folks in Maryland) and I always go for the classic boxer over the brawler. But then I got to thinking: If you follow the "Border Negro's" logic, shouldn't I have been cheering for Hatton? After all, I was born in Jamaica pre-independence so that would make me a British subject no? Shouldn't I then be supporting the Englishman over the A-merry-can? And what about the Black Brits on the other side of the pond? Who were they cheering for? The black man who shared their race, or their fellow country man?
This is one of those age old questions that sports often forces us to confront. When two different sides or individuals are competing, who is your gut telling you to cheer for? When it's your hometown sports team it's usually pretty easy and cut and dry. You are cheering for your hometown team regardless of their racial makeup, or that of the other team. But sometimes it gets a little murky especially where individual sports are concerned. Would the "Border Negro" cheer for a white A-merry-can boxer over a black one from England? I suspect that the "Border Negro" would. But then I must ask myself: Would I cheer for a white Jamaican over an African A-merry-can in a similar event?
I bet most white A-merry-cans, if they are honest, will tell you that they were cheering for Hatton last night. If they are honest. Well, I take that back. I don't think Irish Americans were cheering for him. I have learned this since living here in Philly, and since going to enough Irish bars with the picture of the Queen at the bottom of the urinals. That if it's one thing an Irishman hates is an Englishman, or anything having to do with those damn Brits. It's why the Philadelphia Flyers with their predominantly orange uniforms will never get the Irish support in this town that the Eagles with their green unis get. But I seriously digress. Italians tell me all the time that if it's an Italian athlete in the ring it's a wrap. They are cheering for him no matter what country he is from. It's why Arturo Gatti 's fights were always so popular in this area. Forget Ali, or Joe Louis; to the Italian A-merry-can, Rocky Marciano was the greatest ever. Forget Mays, Ruth, and Mantle; to the Italian A-merry-can, Joe Dimaggio was the greatest baseball player ever. Just ask one and see the answer you get.
But that's cool, that's ethnic and racial pride, and I have no problem with that. If you are white and you want to cheer for the white fighter, cheer on. But what about the "Border Negro", who does he cheer for? The fighter or athlete that represents his country, or the one that represents his race? I am going to confess; when the Jamaican track team or the "Reggae Boyz" compete I damn near always cheer for them. I take that back. I always cheer for them. But that's easy, the Jamaican teams always share my racial identity as well as a birth place. But what would be the case if those teams had all white players and they were competing against teams with black players from A-merry-ca? Who would I cheer for then? Then I would have to say in all honesty that I would probably find myself cheering for the A-merry-can team. The team that shares my racial heritage. But should the "Border Negro" ask himself the same question, I am not so sure his answer would be the same.
I had a friend in high school who was from a little town in Jamaica with a very large German population. All the people from this town looked white, but considered themselves Jamaican. My high school was also a boarding school, and we had kids from all over the world whose parents were more than likely Jamaican but who had migrated to other countries and sent their kids back to Jamaica to go to school. There were many African A-merry-can kids who were born and raised in places like New York, but were on the rock to attend school. Franz Neuman, (his real name because I have no idea where he is now. I think he is in Canada somewhere) my German Jamaican running buddy would always be into some kind of shit or another. He was somewhat of a bad ass, and was always getting into shit with people. So after my debate with the Border Negroes yesterday I found myself thinking about Franz. What if Franz was in a serious ass fight with one of his African A-merry-can born classmates and was getting his ass kicked? Would I jump in and get his back? Well yeah, with Franz that's easy, he was my friend, so maybe I would have. But what if he wasn't my friend? This would be the classic dilemma wouldn't it? White Jamaican getting his ass kicked by black A-merry-can, do I step in then?
I challenged the "Border Negroes", so I must also challenge myself. Honestly, I think I would let him get his ass kicked, but then, I don't know. It might also depend on whether the A-merry-can kicking his ass was a "Border Negro" or not.