During the start of the Pandemic, my morning routine consisted of push-ups, smoking hot green tea, checking the infection rates, and tuning into Skip and Shannon: Undisputed. The sports discussion show that often sounded like two men screaming at each other, showcased veteran sports writer and host Skip Bayless and NFL Hall of Famer Shannon Sharpe. Watching these friends/rivals debate about if the Dallas Cowboys were going to make it to the playoffs, is LeBron James the greatest basketball player ever, and who was the better quarterback Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers was and still is one of my favorite programs to watch. The chemistry, jokes, and respect between Bayless and Sharpe is truly a sight to see. Between the “Goat James” taunts thrown at Skip, Sharpe is a man full of wisdom. Regularly reciting a story about and from his Grandmother, Shannon Sharpe will drop gems that make you go “Hmmm.” One day in particular while discussing an athlete’s transgressions, Sharpe recalled something he heard years ago, “My Grandmother said there are three people that will tell you the truth: Angry people, drunks, and kids.” That quote stuck with me because throughout my life, I have never felt a lie coming from those folks, especially drunk people. Even when they sobered up and apologized, I always thought, “This is how you really feel.”
On Sunday, November 6, 2022, police arrested Sophia Rosing at the University of Kentucky. Rosing, a white 22 year old student at the college, was charged with public intoxication, third degree assault on a police officer, fourth degree assault, and disorderly conduct. In a video the captured the incident, Rosing is shown physically attacking the resident advisor who happens to be Black. Calling her “the N word” a couple of times, Rosing, visibly drunk, is restrained and held by the RA until the police shows up. While being placed in handcuffs, Rosing continues to use the racial slur towards the Black student, who when posting the video on social media, titled it “What I had to deal with at work.”
After the arrest, Sophia Rising was bailed out by her family and posted this message on Instagram stating: ”I was under the influence I am sorry please don’t judge me I lost everything.” Rosing then pleads for sympathy, “I understand a apology may not help I am not a racist I was under the influence I lost everything literally & now I have to fear for my life god forgives please understand.” Finally, Rosing asks, “If you guys knew I was under the influence why record me this was literally my senior year.” Sighs. This follows a typical, tired pattern for white people – say and/or do something racist, get caught, blame an external force, say sorry, cry, and disclose how the incident has ruined their life. I mean how many times have we seen this movie!!?!?! It writes it self.
No accountability. No introspection. No apology to the victim. Nothing. This was not a surprise, it’s just tired at this point.
I normally don’t watch videos of Black people being attacked by racists; I call them snuff films. They don’t offer anything redeeming or helpful to African-Americans. However, looking at the clip, it was a class in self-control and patience. The young lady could have knocked the white girl out, but she chose not too. While some may marvel at the restraint of the Black woman who was attacked, you have to understand something we been taught since birth – with white folks, even when they wrong, they are right. It doesn’t matter if the young lady was defending herself, we will always be seen as the aggressor, and white people, especially white women will forever be the victim. If the Black girl would have shown even a small amount of force and put Rosing down, she would be viewed as the assailant and people would be looking at the story different.
White people blaming their racist outbursts on alcohol is nothing new. In September 2019, Heather Patton, a costume designer that has worked with actresses Patricia Arquette and Audra McDonald, was screaming I Hate N….. while in a CVS in Los Angeles. When the internet “did their thing” and found her, Patton offered, “Please do not contact me. I was intoxicated and I sincerely apologize to everyone that I let down for my actions. Please forgive me.” While in a Lyft In New York, a man verbally attacked the driver, calling him a Sand N…. When confronted with the video, “Joe from Issaquah apologizes, saying, “I humbly apologize for my behavior…… I had too much to drink and lost control of my tongue and I said somethings I truly regret. Proving that drunken racist acts happen everywhere in America (including my hometown), an unidentified inebriated white woman harassed a Samoan man outside a bar in Kansas City, Mo, calling him a “Carmel N….” The sad (but unsurprising) thing about these incidents are how common they are. If you Google “ Racist Drunk” there will be over 28,000,000 examples. Yep, this happens all the time.
Pointing to alcohol as the reason for one’s bigotry is a common tactic in America’s book of denial. There is always reason why – I had a bad day, this medication I took didn’t make me feel like myself, I was bullied by Black people, Mexican’s in my neighborhood called me names, I was tired, and yes, I was drunk. I have not came across that specific alcoholic beverage that turns any other race or ethnicity into a raging bigot, but white people seem to have found it. There are so many excuses that I as a Black person have heard, but I have never seen a white person say, “You know what? I fucked up. I own my racism.” There is no excuse. For a culture that loves to appropriate everyone else, the one invention that is never taken credit for is racism.
When I began going to bars and clubs as a young man, I was always advised to be leery of places that were predominately white. My older family members would say, “Be careful of going into them bars that’s almost all white folks. They get to drinking and your ass is done.” It wasn’t so much that white people would outnumber us, they were just worried that once the alcohol started flowing, the words, tempers, and actions would rise up and we could be in danger. Hearing that, I was always on alert. I have personally never had someone drunk call me a racial slur, but I have had friends tell me of their experiences. Either at a club, a party, or a small gathering, someone would get a little too buzzed, become pissed about something, and start hurling racial slurs. Then, their friend would corner my friend and offer the explanations “They are just drunk. They really don’t mean that.” They got a little too fucked up. I have been knowing them for years, this is the first time I have ever heard them use that word. They have Black friends.” And of course “You know they are not racist.” There is hardly any concern for how their behavior impacted you, only you hearing and realizing this is not who they are.
In my opinion, drunken fueled racist incidents are indicators of who the people are. Alcohol has never made anyone smarter, charming (that is debatable), or funny. When drank, it removes inhibitions, fills your brain with dopamine, and makes you more impulsive. Drinking does not or has never made you racist. Pointing to alcohol as a reason for your hate filled outburst is poor excuse and a refusal to face the person you truly are. You can’t blame that on the a a a alcohol.