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Wednesday, May 31, 2017

US Reporter Uncomfortable With Japanese Driver Winning Indy 500 On Memorial Day

Look… I get it…. but geez…

Terry Frei, a sports reporter with The Denver Post was dismissed after he made a misguided tweet on Twitter this past weekend.

IndyCar racer Sato Takuma (surname first) became the first Japanese driver to win the glorious American motor car race The Indianapolis 500 this past Memorial Day weekend.

Frei tweeted that he was “uncomfortable with a Japanese driver winning the Indianapolis 500 during Memorial Day weekend."

It wasn’t because he hates Japanese people… just that a Japanese person dared to win an American motor car race during a time when America is remembering and celebrating those involved in the military.

Frei who later apologized to Sato and The Denver Post in tweets said that his initial tweet was written and sent during that emotional time of Memorial Day when he was thinking about his now late dad… who had been a WWII fighter pilot in the Pacific battles against Japan.

Okay… I get that…

Valid points… but dude… it’s been 72 effing years since WWII ended.

I understand that war affects the lives of everyone involved in it… from those who were fighting, caught up as  civilians in the war zones, back home worrying… and even when those people don’t come back or do come back… what sort of emotional baggage are they carrying and how does that impact on all the people around them.

Frei, by the way, was born in 1955… so it’s not like he grew up worried about his overseas father being shot down by some evil Japanese person. IE, Frei’s father lived through the war and was able to father a child… 

We’re talking 10 years after the war ended.

Now… maybe the elder Frei managed to keep his impressions of the Japanese long after the war and imparted them down… and while Frei (the tweeter) may have been smart enough to spout anti-Japanese rhetoric in his daily life, clearly he harbored some anger towards the Japanese and their role in WWII.

The thing is… it’s 2017. Japan hasn’t been naughty to the US since 1945, some 10 years before Frei was born.

So yeah… no matter how you slice it, Frei’s comment is a racist comment.

But let’s examine it from a different angle.

What if the Indianapolis 500 race was held sometime in June… say June 11… a random Sunday. (June 18 is Father’s day, however.)

What if Sato won the 101st running of the 2017 Indianapolis 500 race on that date… would Frei have bothered to make that tweet?Would he felt uncomfortable about a Japanese person winning it?

My point is: Did Frei make the comment because of the emotional impact of Memorial day and his memory of Japan?

OR… did he make the comment because he has a problem with the Japanese? 

Let’s suppose the whole Memorial Day event caused Frei to misspeak (or speak) his mind about Sato… and he has no racist tendencies (people screw up, sometimes)…

Like I mentioned, Father’s Day is coming up… would he get all racist at that time of the year too?

What about mother’s day… yeah… poor mom AND Dad… effing Japanese… riiiiight.

What about Christmas… I'm sure he will miss his dad then... stupid nips. That's sarcasm.

His birthday… his dad’s birthday… wedding anniversary of his parents… his own kid’s birthdays… it goes on and on… my point being there’s always going to be some damn date (time of the month) where one is going to be emotionally drained… and thus a racist comment could slip out.

So… when does he get excused for making a comment about “being uncomfortable”?

He doesn’t.

It’s why he was fired… for being insensitive.

I have no problem with Frei being upset about a Japanese person winning the Indianapolis 500 during the Memorial Day weekend. That’s his right.

The fact that Sato won America’s premiere auto race on Memorial Day weekend IS ironic… but not in 2017. Or 2007… 1997… 1987…. 1977… 1967.

I think the irony ends with the close of the 1950s… just to be fair… you know… 15 years… after that… it just becomes racist…. holding on to hatreds.

But Frei is well within his personal rights to have whatever opinion he chooses to have about any subject.

You think Hitler was cool? You think puppies are funny? You like cars? Hate Cars II? Great.

But why broadcast your feelings? You know that some thoughts are better left unsaid.

As Frei discovered, you can have your own thoughts and feelings, but unless they fit the social norms be prepared for blowback.

Frei lost his job for failing to identify that.

The Denver Post apologized to its readers on its website saying Frei’s tweet was disrespectful and unacceptable, and said he was no longer employed with the company.

After that… Frei himself tweeted an apology: HERE There's also a bit of history on his dad and his participation within WWII.

It’s a good apology… now… let’s everybody move on… give Frei a break… people take Memorial Day in different ways… he just should have kept his opinion to himself in this instance.

Andrew Joseph