Is soccer un-american?
January 23, 2007 11:31 AM   Subscribe

Georgia mayor bans soccer from local park. Georgia mayor bans soccer from local park. “There will be nothing but baseball and football down there as long as I am mayor,”
posted by wavespy (162 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
Oooh La La La,
It's the way that we rock when we're doing our thang
Oooh La La La,
It's the natural LA that the Refugees Bring
Oooh La La La La La La Lalala La Laaah,
Sweeeeet Thing

posted by rxrfrx at 11:35 AM on January 23, 2007


This sounds like bad plot from an ABC-Tv Afterschool Special.

"They'll be no soccer as long as I'm Mayor!"

We'll just see what the ACLU has to say about that.
posted by CameraObscura at 11:39 AM on January 23, 2007 [2 favorites]


Soccer game on the mayor's front lawn! Whoo!
posted by Faint of Butt at 11:40 AM on January 23, 2007


Damn. That's depressing. Clarkston sure sounds like an interesting place, though, despite the xenophobia of the locals.
posted by brundlefly at 11:43 AM on January 23, 2007


I was going to say "Kevin Bacon film", but yeah, afterschool special works too.
posted by Ndwright at 11:44 AM on January 23, 2007


Wait, Georgia has a mayor? I thought Atlanta was the city and Georgia was the state. Man, this is just like when I was four years old and had all the states and their capitals memorized, except for Illinois, which I thought was the State of Chicago.
posted by Eideteker at 11:46 AM on January 23, 2007


What about mumblety peg? Is there anything more American?
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:46 AM on January 23, 2007


Christ, what a FUCKING DICK!
posted by Anything at 11:47 AM on January 23, 2007 [2 favorites]


Mayor Swaney even has a name for the sort of folks who play the game: the soccer people.

Glad to see he's come up with a more genteel way to say "niggers". What an asshole.
posted by mkultra at 11:49 AM on January 23, 2007 [1 favorite]


I've got a special category for his kind of people: the deserves-to-get-kicked-in-the-teeth category.
posted by Anything at 11:49 AM on January 23, 2007


Anything, I think you mean: Christ, what an asshole!
posted by Faint of Butt at 11:50 AM on January 23, 2007


Who's up for a Clarkston meetup? We can play cricket. That'll make his head spin.
posted by Plutor at 11:54 AM on January 23, 2007 [3 favorites]


Well, if there'd ever be a dick with a poohole, not a peehole, he'd be that kind of a dick.
posted by Anything at 11:57 AM on January 23, 2007 [2 favorites]


Great article!
posted by caddis at 11:58 AM on January 23, 2007


I really enjoyed reading about this team. It really is neat that they have people to play soccer with and have people helping them run the team. I can only imagine what a temporary break from a harsh reality occurs when these kids get on the field to play a game they love.

If the town government won't let them play on a generic field, then they are assholes. The team ought to get corporate sponsors and raise donations to build a field of their own and say screw you to the town government. Unfortunately, I don't see how they have a legal case. That something is a asshole move doesn't make it illegal. The city can define what a public space will used for and what it will not.

I wish the author would have attempted to interview them more about the reasoning behind the ban; it's entirely possible that the field is really going to be used for a baseball field and a football field, thereby precluding organized soccer. I know the park next to my house won't allow me to hit golf balls and says that no football can be played on the rugby field. It also says no soccer can be played on the tennis courts (although I was always confused about why such an instruction was necessary).

All that being said, I hope the team finds a way to play soccer. One of the great things about sports is that it gives people something to do and compete for and offers and escape from things for kids. And these kids come from families who have gone through too much. They need the escape.
posted by dios at 11:59 AM on January 23, 2007


If you outlaw soccer balls, only the outlaws will have them.
posted by Mikey-San at 12:00 PM on January 23, 2007 [2 favorites]


But mayor, we are playing baseball. A special kind of "foot baseball."
posted by telstar at 12:00 PM on January 23, 2007


Oh, how retarded.
posted by moonbiter at 12:01 PM on January 23, 2007


You see, there are three kinds of people: dicks, pussies, and assholes. Dicks fuck . . .

never mind
posted by fourcheesemac at 12:02 PM on January 23, 2007


Sounds like someone needs a well-deserved cockpunch.
posted by i_am_a_Jedi at 12:02 PM on January 23, 2007


He sounds like Burgermeister Meisterburger.
posted by Scoo at 12:03 PM on January 23, 2007 [3 favorites]


"*I wish the author would have attempted to interview them more about the reasoning behind the ban; it's entirely possible that the field is really going to be used for a baseball field and a football field, thereby precluding organized soccer.*"

Man, there isn't an ignorant racist pig out there that you won't defend, is there? You know damn well what this is about.
posted by 2sheets at 12:03 PM on January 23, 2007 [1 favorite]


I want more explanation on why they were banned from using the park. Mayor says he's turned over control to a park supervisor who will run football and baseball programs.

There has to be something more to this. I don't care how big of a prick you are, I don't see anyone intentionally banning soccer just to mess with some pre-teen kids for god's sake.
posted by b_thinky at 12:04 PM on January 23, 2007


Christ, what an asshole.
posted by notsnot at 12:07 PM on January 23, 2007


Careful, b_thinky, asking for my substance from a mostly fluff piece and not blindly joining in with the cries of "What a dick" will get you branded a defender of racists.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 12:07 PM on January 23, 2007


Those damn soccer people, taking away our baseball and football fields from us honest taxpayers. Why can't they just watch Spongebob, play first-person shooters, and eat a can of Pringles for dinner like normal, obese, hateful, red-blooded Americans?
posted by Chinese Jet Pilot at 12:10 PM on January 23, 2007


I don't care how big of a prick you are, I don't see anyone intentionally banning soccer just to mess with some pre-teen kids for god's sake.

Hell, parents have resorted to violence over little league games. It's not that farfetched.
posted by jonmc at 12:10 PM on January 23, 2007


I think there's more to the story than just the banning of soccer. What is this NYTimesfilter? This was on the front page yesterday. Christ.
posted by j-urb at 12:10 PM on January 23, 2007


www.cityofclarkston.com

Greetings from the Mayor of Clarkston!
I am in my first year of my second term as Mayor for the City of Clarkston and new and exciting things are happening in Clarkston!
We are pleased to offer swimming, baseball, football and tennis at Milam Park! Our summer program was launched in May with the official opening of the swimming pool in time for Memorial Day weekend. The pool and park were filled to capacity and we were very please [sic] to see so many people enjoying these amenities! We are continually trying to improve our facilities and welcome any suggestions you may have.


If you'd like to take him up on that offer:
mayor@cityofclarkston.com
posted by NorthernLite at 12:11 PM on January 23, 2007


2sheets: "Man, there isn't an ignorant racist pig out there that you won't defend, is there? You know damn well what this is about."

Did you read all 8 pages? Because despite the article's opening sentence, dios is closer to the mark than you are. (I'm not saying racism doesn't play a part in this, but not everything is.. er.. black and white.)
posted by Plutor at 12:16 PM on January 23, 2007


Oy.
posted by kosem at 12:16 PM on January 23, 2007


Wait a second, he's going to allow them to play football, which equals soccer, so what's the issue?
posted by Eideteker at 12:17 PM on January 23, 2007 [2 favorites]


I think that article was lacking in context for the Mayor's statement. His track record was pretty good - cleaning up the Police and having granted access to the soccer team for 6 months: both of these things were in fact beneficial to the refugees.

It's easy to call him a bastard for an uncontextualized comment but I'm not convinced. I have no opinion, save for a bit of disappointment on behalf of the kids.

Still, the majority of that article was great reading. Their coach deserves a yay and a half too.
Thanks wavespy.
posted by peacay at 12:18 PM on January 23, 2007


Someone in Georgia needs a headbut to the chest.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 12:20 PM on January 23, 2007


He might not be a racist; he might just not want the little shitheads tearing up his park.

Have you ever seen how much damage soccer does to a field?


Additionally on the race front; these people might have a little bit of a right to resent the fact that their town of less than 7,000 was used as a dumping ground for thousands of refugees. I don't see the state department bureaucrats and NGO bleeding hearts using their Georgetown neighborhoods to street 3rd world refugees.

Of circa 19,000 refugees settled in Georgia around 3,500 were placed in the tiny town of Clarkston. The crime they committed to have their way of life destroyed...allowing a Mass-transit train station to be built.
posted by Megafly at 12:22 PM on January 23, 2007


I want more explanation on why they were banned from using the park. Mayor says he's turned over control to a park supervisor who will run football and baseball programs.

There has to be something more to this. I don't care how big of a prick you are, I don't see anyone intentionally banning soccer just to mess with some pre-teen kids for god's sake.


IIRC, the mayor was quoted as saying the fields "weren't designed for soccer" or something witless like that. And as far as banning soccer to mess with "pre-teen kids," well, hizzoner doesn't appear to think of them as kids, but as, I dunno, "mud people" or something like that. (That's my inference, not to put words in his cake-hole or anything.)
posted by scratch at 12:24 PM on January 23, 2007


Have you ever seen how much damage soccer does to a field?

Compared to (American) football? Is this a joke?
posted by mkultra at 12:25 PM on January 23, 2007 [2 favorites]


First they came for the footballers
And I didn't speak up
posted by greycap at 12:25 PM on January 23, 2007 [2 favorites]


Forgot to mention that Coach Luma sounds like an exemplary human being. We need more like her.
posted by scratch at 12:26 PM on January 23, 2007


This is Georgia. Nothing should surprise about what happens n this state.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:26 PM on January 23, 2007


At least give a warning that this is a log-in required link. :-(
posted by mr. strange at 12:27 PM on January 23, 2007


Have you ever seen how much damage soccer does to a field?

Fewer players playing on a much larger field, with ground contact only with the feet and the ball, as opposed to American football, where full-body ground contact is common.

I've worked with soccer camps. The damage they do to the field is comparable to or less than that made by rugby or American football.
posted by solid-one-love at 12:32 PM on January 23, 2007


megafly: easy. calling a bunch of kids 'little shitheads' is not cool.

Look, I understand that a big sudden influx of refugees into a small sleepy town is an adjustment and that it's liable to be a bumpy road, but the way to try and deal with that is not, I repeat NOT to exacerbate tensions with actions like the mayors and comments like yours.
posted by jonmc at 12:33 PM on January 23, 2007


I'm willing to be that if a bunch of local upper middle class white kids showed up with a ball and started kicking it around the cops wouldn't show.

Which is ironic considering that soccer in the US is almost entirely an upper middle class sport.
posted by dw at 12:37 PM on January 23, 2007


Baseball seems to have most of its following among elitists like English professors, New Yorkers, Bostonians, and the sort of people who'd marry Jane Fonda. Also, I hear it's big in that Hugo Chavez country. Better ban that too.
posted by bendybendy at 12:40 PM on January 23, 2007


They have a very strange ordinance about Milam Park:
Sec. 13-3. Restriction on the use of certain athletic parks.
(a) It shall be unlawful for any person over the age of twelve (12) years to use the athletic field in Milam Park in the city which lies contiguous to Norman Road for the purpose of playing baseball or softball.
(b) For the purposes of this section, one shall be considered as playing baseball or softball if he is a participant on a team which is playing or practicing baseball or softball on said field or if he strikes a baseball or softball with a bat while located on that field or throws a baseball or softball on that field; provided, however, nothing contained herein shall preclude any person who is acting as a coach for children twelve (12) years old and under to participate in coaching drills with such children.
(c) The city shall post signs at the subject field to inform the public of the restrictions as set forth in this section.
(d) Any person who shall be in violation of this section shall be punished in accordance with section 1-7 of this Code.
(Ord. No. 167, § 1, 8-6-91)
posted by caddis at 12:40 PM on January 23, 2007


At least give a warning that this is a log-in required link. :-(

Registration free link, NYT Link Generator

posted by jack_mo at 12:40 PM on January 23, 2007


I read all 8 pages, and the reasoning is basically that he doesn't want to piss off the xenophobic American-born residents, who are the most of the people who can vote, though they are not the majority of the tax payers. (Apartment dwellers pay property tax through their rent - it's not direct, so no one pays attention to them.)

So, no, he doesn't have a good reason. There is no reason that soccer would be any rougher on the field than American football - in fact, in Toronto, we generally have soccer fields as a default and they never needed any special care. This is just plain xenophobia and racism - if not on the part of the Mayor, then on the part of the people he is trying to please.
posted by jb at 12:42 PM on January 23, 2007


Additionally on the race front; these people might have a little bit of a right to resent the fact that their town of less than 7,000 was used as a dumping ground for thousands of refugees. I don't see the state department bureaucrats and NGO bleeding hearts using their Georgetown neighborhoods to street 3rd world refugees.

Sure I can imagine them feeling resentful. The fact that anyone would think that the refugees themselves (and their kids!) are an appropriate target for that resentment is disturbing.
posted by Paragon at 12:43 PM on January 23, 2007


"This is Georgia. Nothing should surprise about what happens n this state."

V. stupid. There are many of us who believe that racism is just as prevalent, and often much worse in the North. So, like, one knee-jerk reaction to the article (which presents rather a more complicated picture of this still-bad situation) couples rather nicely with another foolhardy jab at the South. So says this New York City resident.
posted by kosem at 12:45 PM on January 23, 2007


I can remember my town at one time wanting to keep the soccer players off the football field. This was in a Canadian city where football and baseball have far less importance than in the southern US. Soccer was tearing up the field in some way different than football would, mostly, I think, because the usage for soccer was more intensive once they opened it to that sport. I think soccer players do share the football field now, and there are other pitches all over where people play soccer.

In the article is much more balanced than the post implies. There is little outlined in the article that makes the mayor the bad guy that you're looking for. He's advocated on some issues for the refugees, he even cleaned out the police department. If there are so few options for soccer fields it must be a very small town. Any place that has great numbers of newcomers with high social needs dumped into it by agencies is going to have many difficulties balancing interests.

The story of the coach is the heart of the article, and is inspiring. However, disparaging the yokels who can't accommodate diversity will pull a greater reaction.
posted by TimTypeZed at 12:45 PM on January 23, 2007


The government - or rather, their private contractors - have been monumentally stupid to have concentrated refugee populations like this. They did it because it was cheap. That's what you get when you go private - crap work because they are trying to skim their profit off.

It doesn't stop the fact that the town is xenophobic.

(It's really not a race thing - the refugees are dark-skinned and light-skinned, the Americans both black and white. It's an American-born vs foreign thing. Which is no nicer - we need a nice strong word like "racism" for the kind of hatred that happens towards foreigners which is focused on language and culture.)
posted by jb at 12:47 PM on January 23, 2007


The crime they committed to have their way of life destroyed....

"Destroyed"? The article makes pretty clear that the refugees were settled there because of low cost of living and availability of vacant housing because many people had moved to further outlying and middle-class suburbs. In any case, having a large number of foreign neighbors hardly counts as having your way of life "destroyed".

In any case, regardless of whether the move is justified or not, it takes a special kind of jerk to declare, "There will be nothing but baseball and football down there as long as I am mayor." I mean, really, who gets so riled up about soccer being played that they have to say something like that? And besides, the special appeal of soccer is that it's the sort of sport that doesn't require any kind of specialized field.
posted by deanc at 12:48 PM on January 23, 2007


So says this New York City resident.

I dunno. When soccer was turning the park I frequent into a dust bowl, the city put in astroturf (the nice kind). So we've got that over them.
posted by dame at 12:50 PM on January 23, 2007


They have a baseball diamond on the park reserved solely for kids 12 and under? Why not open that up to older kids? What are they supposed to do for recreation? They also have a separate multi-use field. There is no time during which soccer can be played?
posted by caddis at 12:52 PM on January 23, 2007


I was ready to call the mayor a dick, but on reading the whole article I find that he removed an ostensibly racist and corrupt police chief and mandated that his replacement clean up the rest of the department. He did this specifically for the benefit of the non-native community. He also allowed the coach to speak on behalf of her team at a town meeting, and as a result, gave the team six months worth of time on the field.

I don't get how the quote on the first page matches up with the guy's behavior history.

It sounds like the team has to deal with a lot of racism, but most of that seems to be from other residents in the community.

Interesting read wavespy, thanks.

[And yeah, the coach is pretty much a rock star. ]
posted by quin at 12:53 PM on January 23, 2007 [1 favorite]


It never ceases to amaze me how the stupidest people seem to fall into the most powerful positions. (Not a bush, dig)
posted by milarepa at 12:53 PM on January 23, 2007


Eideteker: are you smoking crack? [State] mayor is a common construction meaning the mayor of a city or town in [State].
posted by delmoi at 1:02 PM on January 23, 2007


I guess it makes me a bigot, but it's always seemed to me that just about every ill in America can somehow trace its roots back to the South, or at least finds its most pure expression there. Slavery, religious fundamentalism, love of firearms, ethnic xenophobia, the KKK, NASCAR, its all there.
posted by hwestiii at 1:04 PM on January 23, 2007


hwestiii: they also gave us BBQ, country music, rock and roll, pecan pie, and a delightful accent. and yes you are a bigot, or at least a scapegoater. American racism exists everywhere not just in the south.
posted by jonmc at 1:08 PM on January 23, 2007


I read all 8 pages, and the reasoning is basically that he doesn't want to piss off the xenophobic American-born residents, who are the most of the people who can vote, though they are not the majority of the tax payers. (Apartment dwellers pay property tax through their rent - it's not direct, so no one pays attention to them.)

So, no, he doesn't have a good reason. There is no reason that soccer would be any rougher on the field than American football - in fact, in Toronto, we generally have soccer fields as a default and they never needed any special care. This is just plain xenophobia and racism - if not on the part of the Mayor, then on the part of the people he is trying to please.
posted by jb at 12:42 PM PST on January 23 [+] [!]


I think you read a completely different article than the rest of us.

It sounds like the city has only one park that's generally used for baseball in spring and football in fall. Soccer players running on the field every single day in winter can do a ton of damage to the field.

NFL teams have multi-million dollar budgets and their fields turn to mush during playoffs (witness the field at Soldier Field this past week).

Now I don't know why soccer is not allowed while football and baseball are, but it probably has something to do with football and baseball teams paying fees to the city's Parks & Rec Dept for field maintenance. It sounds like the soccer league is not affiliated with the city and therefore they pay nothing to repair the damage they cause.
posted by b_thinky at 1:10 PM on January 23, 2007


Surely David Beckham, now burdened with an extra $200million and the ungrateful job of making soccer popular in America, can fly these kids over to his soccer training school in LA? Or not? Dayyyvid?
posted by pleeker at 1:12 PM on January 23, 2007 [2 favorites]


they also gave us...country music

Shouldn't that be on the list of ills?
posted by chrispederick at 1:14 PM on January 23, 2007 [1 favorite]


TimTypeZed:There is little outlined in the article that makes the mayor the bad guy that you're looking for.

Stop right there you defender of racist pigs!

MetaFilter: I didn't read all eight pages.
posted by MikeMc at 1:15 PM on January 23, 2007


what a slimy asshole.
posted by matteo at 1:22 PM on January 23, 2007


No, I just read the article. Perhaps you would like to go and read it again.

These kids don't even have cleats, nor do they play everyday (they are no professional). But soccer teams with cleats played on my local school field, with little or no damage. And your example of a field being turned to mush is from AMERICAN football.

The parents of these kids work and pay taxes just like everyone else. But the local government has decided that pandering to xenophobes who don't like "those soccer people" is more important to them than serving the people of their town. If they have a problem with so many refugees moving to their town at once, then they should lobby their government to stop using private placement services, since they are incompetent.

But what really leaves the nasty taste in my mouth is that everyone in that town must know - unless they are ignorant or stupid or both - that these aren't just any poor kids. I was in public housing when I was young and my life was a walk in a park compared to their lives (several actually, since my city thought that parks were good for poor neighbourhoods). These are refugees - these are children who have been through horrific experiences, had their entire lives uprooted. For the rest of their lives, they will be dealing with those traumas. To deny them the simple pleasure of a soccer game is to not just xenophobic - it's cruel and nasty and so incrediably small-hearted.
posted by jb at 1:24 PM on January 23, 2007 [1 favorite]


dios "it's entirely possible that the field is really going to be used for a baseball field and a football field, thereby precluding organized soccer."

If it's a regulation size football field, it's well within soccer pitch limits. If it's got a a pile of sand in the middle, it'll be just like Stamford Bridge.
posted by Auz at 1:27 PM on January 23, 2007


Stop right there you defender of racist pigs!

The mayor might be such, but I would hesitate to draw such a conclusion from but one article, and one seeming to lack good input as to why the decision went against the soccer team. The silence probably means that the decision is anti-soccer, anti-immigrant, anti-poor kids whose parents don't vote, but we can't talk about such things. I am not giving him the benefit of the doubt, but I am not ready to pass judgment quite yet either. More info please.
posted by caddis at 1:29 PM on January 23, 2007


There's a park near my girlfriend's place in LA that's banned soccer because it was associated with violence. But apparently, they let kids play, and only crack down when it's a bunch of adults hangin' out and kickin' the ball around.
posted by klangklangston at 1:37 PM on January 23, 2007


American racism exists everywhere not just in the south.

Southern Poverty Law Center Hate Groups 2005 Index - California leads the pack there with 52 identified groups. Florida is second with 50. Then South Carolina with 46, Texas with 43, and then Georgia with 40. I'd like to point out that Pennsylvania comes in with 27, Ohio with 34, and Michigan with 25. Although certainly ill-proportionally large numbers in the south, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Arkansas all have less than Ohio.

So, exactly, racism is everywhere. Well, except New Mexico and North Dakota apparently. Nobody in North Dakota except religious militant crackpots that hate everyone that isn't in their wacky cults. ;)
posted by smallerdemon at 1:37 PM on January 23, 2007


But to many longtime residents, soccer is a sign of unwanted change

Never have I been more proud not to be a resident of BumblefuckClarkston, Georgia.
posted by oncogenesis at 1:37 PM on January 23, 2007


Yep. I'd say a good number of the commenter's failed to read the entire article.

"I read all 8 pages, and the reasoning is basically that he doesn't want to piss off the xenophobic American-born residents..."

That was the mayor's reason for not unilaterally allowing them to use the field initially but when the coach came to him to complain he recommended that she take it to the city counsel which approved their use of the field for 6 months.

Later the city hired some sort of youth sports coordinator to put together baseball and football programs . That was the point at which they discontinued the team's use of the field.

There may very well be racism involved but not to the degree some in the thread want to believe. Knee-jerk much?

(And a couple of y'all can kiss my southern ass.)
posted by Carbolic at 1:38 PM on January 23, 2007


This thread has been the final factor in me coming to a decision.

The Internet Is A Failure.

Goodnight.
posted by jonmc at 1:40 PM on January 23, 2007 [3 favorites]


Can anyone help me understand this part:

Mr. Swaney gave the new chief a mandate to purge the Police Department of rogue officers.

Within three months, the chief, a black man of Trinidadian descent named Tony J. Scipio, fired or accepted the resignations of one-third of the force.


What exactly do they mean by "rogue officers" here? corrupt, in general? they had a third of the police force that was corrupt? then why did they wait so long, and why is the article mentioning this as some kind of gesture of benevolence towards the refugees? I'm not getting it...
posted by pleeker at 1:43 PM on January 23, 2007


Although completely unrelated to this story for the most part, I am reminded of an exhibition game between the US and Japan at the Giants ball park here in San Francisco back in 2005 (PacBell/SBC/AT&T Park - they keep changing it - I can't believe it was never Cingular Park). It. Was. Packed. I had never in my life seen so many people going to a sporting event. Lots and lots of expats in the city and from around clamored to it. You could barely walk down the street and the bars near the ballpark had people spilling out the window (I know, as I was one of the spilled there for any entirely different reason). Contrast that to being there during the world series between SF and Anaheim and it being like any regular day of year there was a ball game. A few extra people but nothing special. Americans just sorely underestimate the popularity of soccer. After watching the world cup this past summer with some friends in Chicago, I quite enjoyed the game, and for the most part I am not a fan of any sport.
posted by smallerdemon at 1:44 PM on January 23, 2007


I'd just like to have the mayor explain how fields for soccer, football, and baseball are all properly designed, respectively.

If he can't answer, then his argument is moot, and thus the kids should be able to play.

::shrug::
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 2:20 PM on January 23, 2007


Wow, people are actually defending this guy. Unbelievable.

Look, 12 year-olds aren't Zidane and Ronaldo. They simply aren't heavy enough to do serious "damage" to a field. As mentioned, American football does a hell of a lot more damage to turf anyways -- every play has about 16 guys "digging in" before the snap.

What I do wonder is why public space for sports is in such short supply in this town. Why not just go to a local public school and use their field? I realize that Americans think their kids deserver to play on multi-million dollar, night-lit fields, but ya know, judging from the background of these kids, I doubt a few dirt-patches would ruin their day.
posted by bardic at 2:23 PM on January 23, 2007


* deserve even
posted by bardic at 2:24 PM on January 23, 2007


Man, this is just like when I was four years old and had all the states and their capitals memorized, except for Illinois, which I thought was the State of Chicago.

It may as well be its own state. It's not the capitol of Illinois, though.
posted by spaceman_spiff at 2:27 PM on January 23, 2007


I guess it makes me a bigot, but it's always seemed to me that just about every ill in America can somehow trace its roots back to the South, or at least finds its most pure expression there. Slavery, religious fundamentalism, love of firearms, ethnic xenophobia, the KKK, NASCAR, its all there.

Yeah, you're a bigot. There was slavery throughout the colonies; the reason there was less of it in New England was because New Englanders were poorer and couldn't afford to buy Africans (Alan Taylor, American Colonies, p. 169). Religious fundamentalism: ever heard of the Puritans? Love of firearms: again, universal in the colonies. The frontier receded from the Northeast earlier and centralized government control was tighter (they don't call New York the Empire State for nothing), so guns became scarcer there; it wasn't because of some inherent virtue. Ethnic xenophobia: you're kidding, right? As for the Klan, yeah, it started in the South, obviously, but it spread nationwide; as this history says:
With two million members, new recruits joining the secret rolls daily, a host of friendly politicians throughout the land and his internal enemies subdued for the moment, Evans wanted to influence the presidential election of 1924. He even shifted his national headquarters from Atlanta to Washington. The Klan had a foothold in both parties since Deep South members tended to be Democrats while Klansmen in the North and West were often Republicans.
(Emphasis added.) And here are "artifacts... representative of widespread KKK activity in New York State in the 1920s. An estimated 80,000 New Yorkers belonged to the Klan. In fact, New York had the seventh highest membership in the nation." I don't know what the fuck NASCAR has to do with anything. In short: keep your head up your ass if you like, but spare us the view from in there.
posted by languagehat at 2:31 PM on January 23, 2007 [8 favorites]


Have you ever seen how much damage soccer does to a field?

Megafly, you sound like you have yet to see a game of American football. Well, just turn to channel 46 on Febuary 4, and you'll finally get to see one.

There are many of us who believe that racism is just as prevalent, and often much worse in the North.

Well, segregation sure is. The North is a hell of a lot more segregated. You can draw your own conclusions as to why.

I guess it makes me a bigot, but it's always seemed to me that just about every ill in America can somehow trace its roots back to the South, or at least finds its most pure expression there. Slavery, religious fundamentalism, love of firearms, ethnic xenophobia, the KKK, NASCAR, its all there.

It does make you a bigot, and an ill-informed one at that. (Well, wouldn't most bigots have to be ill-informed to maintain their beliefs in the face of facts?)
posted by oaf at 2:36 PM on January 23, 2007


Bardic: I wasn't so much defending the guy as indicating that people were either not reading the entire article or reading things into it that, as far as I could see, just weren't there. I read a good number of comments before I read the article and was expecting to read that the mayor had completely denied the possibility that they could ever use the field and that the residents of the city were actively persecuting the coach and players. That was not what the article said. Hell, the YMCA came off looking worse than any of them. What were they doing with the grant money they had received to erect the goals? Was the grant also intended to equip the players?
posted by Carbolic at 2:37 PM on January 23, 2007


Whether or not the mayor is a racist asshole (I am currently of the opinion that he is just a double-talking politician), Coach Luma is a remarkable human being and I am glad I read this just to know she is out there making a difference in these boys' lives.

For the record, I'm a Southerner who has lived all over and seen racists in all corners of the U.S. The thing I found most fascinating was a friend of a friend in Seattle going off on ignorant, bigoted Southerners and then less than five minutes later bitching about all the Sikhs that lived in his complex and their stinky food and what not.
posted by janespeed at 2:40 PM on January 23, 2007 [1 favorite]


The thing I found most fascinating was a friend of a friend in Seattle going off on ignorant, bigoted Southerners and then less than five minutes later bitching about all the Sikhs that lived in his complex and their stinky food and what not.

Perfect. I'm surely going to be using that one (probably right here on MetaFilter, where prejudice against the South is the last acceptable prejudice, except for prejudice against Republicans).
posted by languagehat at 2:56 PM on January 23, 2007


And a couple of y'all can kiss my southern ass

Seconded. Hugely.
posted by erskelyne at 3:03 PM on January 23, 2007


Wez ain't gun haf none of dem sockers hea'. Down hea', we play da football.
posted by triolus at 3:04 PM on January 23, 2007


the reason there was less of it in New England was because New Englanders were poorer and couldn't afford to buy Africans

Not quite. Northern merchants were on average much wealthier than your typical, non-plantation owning southerner. And many of them made a killing off of the slave trade (insurance, outfitting ships, etc.) even if they didn't own slaves themselves.

There simply wasn't a demand for slaves in the north, since the agriculture tended to be much more based around family sustenance and occasional visits to sell goods at market. The plantation economy of the south (cotton, tobacco) demanded as many hands, feet, and bodies as possible.

Which is to say, it's unfair to blame the south for everything. But it doesn't absolve the south from having a legacy that it's still dealing with.

The North is a hell of a lot more segregated.

The blacks and other minorities I know would wholly disagree. There are problems, sure, but this is an ignorant statement.

As for the mayor, if he's not a racist, he is a jingoistic fool playing to the yellow-ribbon magnet crowd. Which is a mild form of racism, IMO.
posted by bardic at 3:07 PM on January 23, 2007


(Also kind of sucks to be a girl in this town. Baseball is really not played by them much, and American football not at all. Soccer, however, is a big deal for them. Probably doesn't make their moms or dads happy either.)
posted by bardic at 3:09 PM on January 23, 2007


The blacks and other minorities I know would wholly disagree. There are problems, sure, but this is an ignorant statement.

Tell me how it's ignorant. Blacks and whites are more likely to live together in the South than in the North. Far more likely. That would mean that there's more segregation in the North.

Feel free to return to your own (actual) ignorance.
posted by oaf at 3:13 PM on January 23, 2007


Blacks and whites don't live together in NYC? News to me.

I guess the Great Migration wasn't really about blacks coming north to get away from violence, racism, and economic disenfranchisement. They just came up north for more lynchings and pretty scenery, correct?

Look, I stated that the north isn't free of racism and/or racial tension. But there are entire towns, if not parts of towns, if not restaurants, shops, and neighborhoods, where blacks know they aren't "supposed" to go in the south. Probably still a few in the north, but please -- the difference is one involving orders of magnitude.
posted by bardic at 3:18 PM on January 23, 2007


Blacks and whites don't live together in NYC? News to me.

Blacks and whites live in NYC, but that depends on your definition of "together." On the same block? Nope.
posted by oaf at 3:23 PM on January 23, 2007


I don't know why I can just let it pass... bardic, ever been to much of Illinois, Ohio or Howard Beach for that matter?
posted by Carbolic at 3:25 PM on January 23, 2007


Especially when New York is worse in that regard than Houston, Austin, Atlanta, Dallas, Washington, Fort Worth, New Orleans, Memphis, Jacksonville, Nashville, Charlotte, and Virginia Beach.
posted by oaf at 3:25 PM on January 23, 2007


Hell, New York is even more segregated than Detroit!
posted by oaf at 3:25 PM on January 23, 2007


My hair will be shorter than Coach’s.

Meh. I don't like the coach.
posted by weretable and the undead chairs at 3:26 PM on January 23, 2007


I know people who were not permitted to go to northern state parks because of the color of their skin.

But, it depends on the metric you choose to examine. Northern school systems are currently much more segregated than southern school systems. The "Great Migration" also triggered a great migration of whites to wherever people of color didn't live. In return, school system funding, access to services such an banking and full grocery stores, as well as business development are strongly correlated with ethnicity.

My few remaining illusions were shattered by some shocking statistics presented an an education conference in L.A. a few years ago. The strongest predictor of whether a school fails the minimum standards for staffing and physical structure is ethnicity. With majority African American and majority Hispanic schools having more problems with uncertified substitute teachers used full time, insufficient books and resources, and vermin infestation. At least as far as education is concerned, the urban "North" currently has deeper problems with educational equality than the urban "South."
posted by KirkJobSluder at 3:44 PM on January 23, 2007


For what it's worth, there are plenty of racists in the south. And plenty in the North. And plenty in Clarkston, specifically, but not everybody down here is that way; as mentioned in the article, there are plenty of people around the Atlanta area who have heard of this team and the refugees who have been pouring into Clarkston over the past 10-20 years and are more than willing and able to help. Myself included.

Clarkston has become one of the most interesting exoburbs of Atlanta in the past years, totally because of the influx of refugees and immigrants. And I live in the city so I don't follow Clarkston (nor any other bumbletown) politics very closely, so I couldn't tell you much about the Mayor, but suffice it to say the Mayors of a lot of small towns in the deep south are most definitely racist, or at least willing to be racist to further their political aims.
posted by jckll at 3:46 PM on January 23, 2007


Carbolic, you don't even live in Ohio. Did you ever, or are you just making shit up about a state you know nothing about?
posted by Liosliath at 3:47 PM on January 23, 2007


How to find data on segregation in the United States. Alternate methods of defining and measuring integration.
posted by dilettante at 3:58 PM on January 23, 2007


My god we are so fortunate for the small worries we have, for the safety we move in.
posted by whimsicalnymph at 4:03 PM on January 23, 2007


bardic, ever been to much of Illinois, Ohio or Howard Beach for that matter?

I went to college in rural Ohio. I had a black room-mate (one of the few in a predominantly white student body), and we made the mistake of going into the "wrong" parts of the neighboring town on a few occasions. It was strange, because for the strange shit I saw, he was picking up on a lot more of the animosity, the fear, and the hate, for obvious reasons. And older black student basically had to sit him down and let him now which restaurants and grocery stores were OK for him to go to. Really fucked up.

Which is to say, yet again, yes Virginia, the north and midwest have racial issues. But that doesn't absolve parts of the south for having some even more extreme and more obvious examples of racism. Call me crazy, but I think it has something to do with the fact that slavery was a southern institution.

Shorter: Two wrongs don't make a right.
posted by bardic at 4:04 PM on January 23, 2007


The mayor did allow them to use the field, then turned around much less than 6 months later to take it away from them (he allowed them the six months, but he did go to take it away from them before that). You claim that he's organised other, official sports - but he has specifically excluded soccer from the list of those sports, because he doesn't want "those soccer people" playing there (his words, he's made a whole new ethnic category based on the world's most popular sport).

This action is directed against the refugee children, who want to play soccer. Asking them to play baseball or American football would be like asking me to go out and play a few rounds of cricket. (Or American football, for that matter).
posted by jb at 4:06 PM on January 23, 2007


*An older black student
posted by bardic at 4:06 PM on January 23, 2007


A city regulating what sports can be played on a patch of grass? That's pathetic, even before we get into the issues of soccer and refugees. The only sport I've ever seen banned from a public park is golf, or "all sports".

Am I allowed to play rugby at their precious park?
Extreme-frisbee?
Tai chi?

How pathetic. Soccer is played in parks the world over, and the local authorities have no problems managing it and maintaining their precious turf.
posted by Jimbob at 4:10 PM on January 23, 2007


Good article. But the FPP is rather misleading--the mayor (stupidly) banned soccer at first, but later allowed it after a town meeting in which the coach fought his decision. He then gave them six months to practice on the field. At the end of the article, it says the mayor extended that six months even further. And that's all it says.

We need an OutrageFilter for misleading posts like this.
posted by zardoz at 4:12 PM on January 23, 2007


But mayor, we are playing baseball. A special kind of "foot baseball."

...kickball?

Anyway, the mayor's a douche. I used to live near the area, and really, as a suburb of Atlanta, they ought to be used to non-whites by now.
posted by qcubed at 4:12 PM on January 23, 2007


At least as far as education is concerned, the urban "North" currently has deeper problems with educational equality than the urban "South."

That clearly hasn't forced people to face facts and admit that it's true even though they'd like to believe the opposite.

But that doesn't absolve parts of the south for having some even more extreme and more obvious examples of racism.

So it's worse in isolated pockets in the South, where at least you can steer around it, but worse in general in Northern cities. Got it.
posted by oaf at 4:24 PM on January 23, 2007


oaf, how many "Northern" cities have you been to?

Agreed -- all parts of America still have hang-ups regarding race, if not outright bursts of actual violence.

I'd argue that cities in general, northern and southern, are probably better areas for minorities to live in terms of avoiding ignorant racism, but again, things aren't perfect anywhere. This has been true through history -- cities are melting pots in any country.

Claiming "racism" is worse in northern cities is just plain stupid though. (I think that's what you're claiming -- feel free to clarify.) Yes, it's there, but that doesn't magically absolve the south from having so much actual blood on its hands when it comes to this issue. I hope we can agree that asshats like this mayor don't help anything, nor does being in an ex-urb of Atlanta.
posted by bardic at 4:36 PM on January 23, 2007


(And yes, there's always blowback to the "melting pot" theme -- bussing in Boston, for example. But "steer around" it? Sure, if you're visiting oaf. But what if you frickin' live there?)
posted by bardic at 4:39 PM on January 23, 2007


It depends on what you consider Northern. Of the cities on that list that I consider "Northern," I've been to New York, Chicago, Seattle, Washington, Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Minneapolis. I've also been to smaller cities up here (Providence, New Haven, Hartford, Buffalo, Rochester, Cincinnati), and I can tell you that New Jersey feels pretty damn segregated, but it's not going to show up as its own metro area.

In the North, you're going to find cities segregated into areas that are overwhelmingly comprised of one ethnic group. You don't see that as much in the South.

Claiming "racism" is worse in northern cities is just plain stupid though.

Not at all, unless you're willing to argue that racism and segregation aren't found in the same places. But you don't seem to have been to many of these places, or you wouldn't be making assumptions about them.
posted by oaf at 4:52 PM on January 23, 2007


Not quite. Northern merchants were on average much wealthier than your typical, non-plantation owning southerner. And many of them made a killing off of the slave trade (insurance, outfitting ships, etc.) even if they didn't own slaves themselves.

There simply wasn't a demand for slaves in the north, since the agriculture tended to be much more based around family sustenance and occasional visits to sell goods at market. The plantation economy of the south (cotton, tobacco) demanded as many hands, feet, and bodies as possible.


A much better formulation, thanks. I was trying to cover a lot of bigotry as quickly as possible, and I boiled it down too much.
posted by languagehat at 4:59 PM on January 23, 2007


At the end of the article, it says the mayor extended that six months even further. And that's all it says.

We need an OutrageFilter for misleading posts like this.


If you take the time to read carefully you will see that he merely lived up to the initial six month promise; he did not extend it beyond six months. Yes, there is a sense of outrage over this. However, more than an outrage post, this is a post about the coach and her incredible dedication to these kids.
posted by caddis at 5:33 PM on January 23, 2007


As a current native of Atlanta, I can tell you, it's awesome to drive up Saturday mornings to Buford (y'all can pronounce it "Buuuuuuuferd") Highway and head directly to the Buford Highway Farmers Market. Be damn'd, Mssr. E. Said, for I have braved the hot siroccos of I-295 and entered into the indulgently fabled and dazzling Far (from Clarkston, anyway) Orient! Bark teas and milky sake, pulgoki and padek and hamaguri shigure-ni. Well, but the other half of the store is stone Mexicano.

Simplistic, sure, but in twenty years, maybe less, all this soccer-hatin' is going to be moot, gaikokujin-gringos.
posted by Haruspex at 5:54 PM on January 23, 2007


< Insert FlashDance graphic here >
posted by Tacos Are Pretty Great at 5:55 PM on January 23, 2007


This is the same god damn thing that happened to weed.

Fuckers!
posted by dozo at 6:03 PM on January 23, 2007


THANKS for posting this. Best story i've read all year.

Anyone here know David Beckham? He could fund this team with the money he makes just sitting on the toilet one day a year on that new contract of his.
posted by Dome-O-Rama at 6:05 PM on January 23, 2007


Haruspex:
As a current native of Atlanta, I can tell you, it's awesome to drive up Saturday mornings to Buford (y'all can pronounce it "Buuuuuuuferd") Highway and head directly to the Buford Highway Farmers Market. Be damn'd, Mssr. E. Said, for I have braved the hot siroccos of I-295 and entered into the indulgently fabled and dazzling Far (from Clarkston, anyway) Orient! Bark teas and milky sake, pulgoki and padek and hamaguri shigure-ni. Well, but the other half of the store is stone Mexicano.

Simplistic, sure, but in twenty years, maybe less, all this soccer-hatin' is going to be moot, gaikokujin-gringos.


I'd encourage you to make the trip to Clarksville once or twice a year if you enjoy the Buford Highway scene. The shops, stores and restaurants out there really are remarkably good and the people, unlike a lot of the immigrant population I encounter on a day-to-day basis in the city, are much nicer and more willing to aid/help/talk to a gringo.

...That's not to say that all the immigrants in the city are jerks, but I think being an immigrant in a city can often foster feelings of total isolation from, and therefore contempt for, one's white neighbors. In Clarksville, where they're only used to seeing God-fearing, bible-thumping white folk, an urban, New York Times-reading Atlanta white person is a breath of fresh air.
posted by jckll at 6:52 PM on January 23, 2007


bardic: Well, I find it hard to compare because skimming over the linked study, it's hard to account for both population and geography. However, when you look at where people actually live these days, actual segregation is not limited to just the South.

I'm not going to advance the argument that problems that the North is more racist than the South. I will advance the argument that the profound disparities in K-12 caused by racial segregation in many "rust belt" cities are too pervasive to be casually dismissed, and the mandate of educational equality delivered in Brown v. Board of Education is not being met by Northern cities.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 8:05 PM on January 23, 2007


I also think that people are fooling themselves if they think this could only happen in an Atlanta burb. (Which BTW, Atlanta is more integrated than Chicago.)
posted by KirkJobSluder at 8:08 PM on January 23, 2007


I guess it makes me a bigot
posted by hwestiii


Yes, it not only makes you a bigot hewestiii, but an ignorant one at that.

Look, I stated that the north isn't free of racism and/or racial tension. But there are entire towns, if not parts of towns, if not restaurants, shops, and neighborhoods, where blacks know they aren't "supposed" to go in the south. Probably still a few in the north, but please -- the difference is one involving orders of magnitude.
posted by bardic


Racism is sometimes more in your face in the south, more insidious in the north. That said, the first time I visited california I heard the word nigger within the first hour. I can go to a certain new england town right now to visit relatives and not see a single non white person.

As the years go by these things will continue to change and you'll eventually have to put away the childish "we suck but you suck worse" argument. Putting stereotypes away is sometimes tough to do.

Perfect. I'm surely going to be using that one (probably right here on MetaFilter, where prejudice against the South is the last acceptable prejudice, except for prejudice against Republicans).
posted by languagehat


Very true. There are many open-minded, liberal thinking metafilter members that will attack any signs of bigotry no matter how slight unless the topic is southerners. Then they remain silent or pile on.

But it's getting better, and threads like this are now fllled with both notherners and southerners alike that challenge the bigotry. Things are getting better.
posted by justgary at 8:14 PM on January 23, 2007


Putting stereotypes away is sometimes tough to do.

Lawl. Poor southern bigots. So misunderstood. I'm the real enemy here.

In every post here I've said there's racism in the north. There is racism in big cities where you don't expect it. There are racists who will say things in private while putting on a show in public of how enlightened they are. And yet, anecdotally from the experience of people I know, your chances as a person of color to encounter some fucked up racism is much higher in the south. Sorry. That's just they way it is. To hold all southerners responsible would be a stupid thing to do. And I haven't done that. I certainly don't think it's asking too much of southerners to be or act more senstivively around these issues. It wasn't that long ago that black men by the hundred were taken from there houses at night, tied to trees, had their penis and testicles cut off, and then their entire body was lit on fire. I think this is qualitatively worse than the (still horrible) instiutional/insidious racism of the north.

Racism is sometimes more in your face in the south

Interesting euphemism for "dragged behind a pickup truck until he died."

Things are getting better.

I agree completely. But stories like this make me realize that things can get worse as well.
posted by bardic at 8:35 PM on January 23, 2007


And to get back on topic, I certainly hope the kids and parents in this town make their voices heard. Soccer is more popular than baseball with kids, and girls don't play football, so it's hard to believe a mayor wouldn't alienate parents by making their kid's favorite sport verboten.
posted by bardic at 8:43 PM on January 23, 2007


*with American kids, to be specific
posted by bardic at 8:44 PM on January 23, 2007


Others simply doubted that a woman could coach soccer.

“She’s a girl — she doesn’t know what she’s talking about,” Ms. Mufleh overheard a Sudanese boy say at an early practice.

She ordered him to stand in the goal. As the team watched, she blasted a shot directly at the boy, who dove out of the way.

“Anybody else?” she asked.


This woman kicks so much ass:)
posted by hadjiboy at 9:06 PM on January 23, 2007 [3 favorites]


We need an OutrageFilter for misleading posts like this.

Can we just return to sighing over FrontPageOfWeekendNewYorkTimesFilter? (While we're at it, can we whine over TodayInSlateFilter? People, we are all already aware of the top headlines on these popular websites by now.
posted by desuetude at 9:18 PM on January 23, 2007


The article has a pretty cool punchline. The coach has started using Google Earth to identify other green patches in the town, with the hope of making use of them for practice.
posted by mach at 10:03 PM on January 23, 2007


People, we are all already aware of the top headlines on these popular websites by now.

Well, this link is better than anything you have ever posted. All you can do is criticize. How about adding something?
posted by caddis at 10:09 PM on January 23, 2007


bardic: Benjamin Smith much?
posted by KirkJobSluder at 10:10 PM on January 23, 2007


This is a town of 7100 people, and obviously of limited resources. Contrary to what anyone says, a team of soccer players can eff up a grass field badly, especially if they play frequently enough as to not to let missing patches grow back.

If the mayor barred the team from using the park simply because of their ethnicity or whatever, it's simply outrageous. It would be so outrageous that it probably would have been the crux of the article (or at least some article).

If the soccer team is not paying field maintenance to repair damage they cause, they need to get off the field or start paying some bills.

Crying racism is simply ignorant. The town is less than 20% white. The city council features two black ladies, a hispanic lady, a white guy, an asian guy another lady who's not pictured, but I'm guessing she's white or native american.

But I guess it's more fun to pretend its all about racism.
posted by b_thinky at 10:34 PM on January 23, 2007


Interesting euphemism for "dragged behind a pickup truck until he died."

It's a wonder anyone takes you seriously.
posted by oaf at 11:14 PM on January 23, 2007


Megafly writes "Have you ever seen how much damage soccer does to a field?"

Pretty minor as things go. And after all they are using it for foot and base ball, sports that are forgiving. It's not like they are using it for field hockey.

bardic writes "What I do wonder is why public space for sports is in such short supply in this town. Why not just go to a local public school and use their field?"

Their back up field is a school, but minimal maintence levels there probably becase the town was dying before the refugees started to show up mean they are playing on dirt/gravel.

A city regulating what sports can be played on a patch of grass? That's pathetic, even before we get into the issues of soccer and refugees. The only sport I've ever seen banned from a public park is golf, or 'all sports'. "

This is really common, check your bylaws there are probably rules in place even if they aren't enforced.
posted by Mitheral at 11:19 PM on January 23, 2007


Also it was heartbreaking when the boys started freaking out when the coach was arrested.
posted by Mitheral at 11:21 PM on January 23, 2007


I wonder what he'd do if they started playing cricket.
posted by winjer at 11:25 PM on January 23, 2007


after all they are using it for foot and base ball, sports that are forgiving

what is that supposed to mean?
posted by caddis at 11:28 PM on January 23, 2007


Coach Luma is amazing. She's my new personal rockstar.

Thanks for the post.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 11:42 PM on January 23, 2007


Football and base ball don't need perfectly smooth fields because the ball rarely touches the grass. Compare to field hockey which requires a flat and even field because the ball is small and spends a lot of time on the grass.
posted by Mitheral at 11:43 PM on January 23, 2007


A retarded Georgia mayor. What a fuckin' surprise.
posted by five fresh fish at 1:31 AM on January 24, 2007


this is a small thing, but I think it is indicative of the kind of attention to detail (or lack thereof) and loaded wording that this article, and most in the Times as well as most other news outlets these days, employs:

The 2005 election that gave Mr. Swaney a second four-year term as mayor of this town of 7,100 was determined by just 390 voters.

So even if all 7,100 residents of the town voted (town population largely unnaturalized residents and under 18), that still gives a margin of more than 5%. Which is more than

1916 Wilson v. Hughes 3.1%
1948 Truman v. Dewey 4.5%
1960 Kennedy v. Nixon 0.2%
1968 Nixon v. Humphrey 0.7%
1976 Carter v. Ford 2.1%
2000 Bush v. Gore -0.4% (yes that's negative)
(source)

A real margin would be something closer to 20%, pretty much astoundingly decisive as far as American electoral politics go. The point here is that the numbers that are quoted refute the position of the article. It seems almost as if St. John either has no clue about what he is writing about or that he is counting on his readers to lack basic mathematical and reasoning skills so that he can trick them into believing his premise is unassailable.
posted by headless at 3:30 AM on January 24, 2007


Did anyone link to the Fugees Family site yet? You can donate a little money or otherwise get involved.
posted by pracowity at 4:11 AM on January 24, 2007 [1 favorite]


Football and base ball don't need perfectly smooth fields because the ball rarely touches the grass. Compare to field hockey which requires a flat and even field because the ball is small and spends a lot of time on the grass.
posted by Mitheral at 7:43 AM GMT on January 24 [+] [!]


Croquet as well. I would not recommend playing football (which is, after all, what soccer is called in most of the world) on a croquet lawn. The world does need more croquet lawns - it's one of the finest sports.

headless: what point are you trying to make? The point of the article is that because, just as you point out, most of the town are not citizens, they do not vote. I don't think that the 390 is the margin, I think it's the number of VOTERS. From page 4:
"When Lee Swaney first ran for City Council in Clarkston more than 15 years ago, he did so as an unabashed representative of “Old Clarkston” — Clarkston before the refugees. It was certainly the more politically viable stance. Because few of the refugees have been in the country long enough to become citizens and vote, political power resides with longtime residents. The 2005 election that gave Mr. Swaney a second four-year term as mayor of this town of 7,100 was determined by just 390 voters.
The article does go on to point out that the Mayor had acted on behalf of the refugee population by ousting a long-time police chief on grounds that his officers were harassing them. That takes bravery - but it doesn't excuse the fact that he has decided that the refugees are only welcome in his town if they don't do unAmerican things like want to play soccer.

They allow baseball and American football in the town park, both of which are just as damaging to the grass. If they only wanted supervised, town-organised sports, they could have organised a town soccer team as well. But they didn't.

Good points above on how this is bad for girls as well as the immigrant boys.
posted by jb at 4:27 AM on January 24, 2007


A retarded Georgia mayor. What a fuckin' surprise.

Another bigoted MeFite. What a fuckin' surprise.
posted by languagehat at 5:27 AM on January 24, 2007 [1 favorite]


Did anyone link to the Fugees Family site yet? You can donate a little money or otherwise get involved.
posted by pracowity at 7:11 AM EST on January 24 [+ 1 favorite] Favorite added![!]


Thank you pracowity. I am going to send them a donation and on the note I will say "Metafilter Sent Me," reminiscent of Bruce Sent Me. I encourage others to follow suit.
posted by caddis at 6:59 AM on January 24, 2007




Beautiful post! Thank you.

pracowity - Thanks for the Fugees link.
caddis - Ditto.
posted by ObscureReferenceMan at 11:59 AM on January 24, 2007


It's gonna be a movie.
posted by brundlefly at 5:28 PM on January 24, 2007


very cool - they are getting a new field to play on too according to that article. Take that, Clarkston. You assholes.
posted by caddis at 7:55 PM on January 24, 2007


A retarded Georgia mayor. What a fuckin' surprise.
Another bigoted MeFite. What a fuckin' surprise.


Bigoted?
bigoted adjective: prejudiced, biased, partial, one-sided, sectarian, discriminatory; opinionated, dogmatic, intolerant, narrow-minded, blinkered, illiberal; racist, sexist, chauvinistic, jingoistic; warped, twisted, distorted. (OSX Dictionary)
Well, I suppose I am discriminatory, even opinionated and sometimes intolerant. As are we all.

But, yes, I'm really deeply biased against the type of retarded thinking that would lead one to think banning the most popular sport of the biggest population demographic of one's town is going to do anything but cause a big upsurge in the numbers of bored youth who end up spending their time engaged in anti-social behaviours.

And I suppose I've become a bit prejudiced. But, hey, this place is inundated with "best of the web" examples of Southern Stupidity. One just might start to get the impression that there's a lot more idiocy in Georgia than in, say, Oregon.

Must be that evilution thing they've got in their schools.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:13 PM on January 24, 2007


I'm really deeply biased against the type of retarded thinking...

The objection was your generalization about Georgia, not about the actions of Clarkston's mayor.

But, hey, this place is inundated with "best of the web" examples of Southern Stupidity. One just might start to get the impression that there's a lot more idiocy in Georgia than in, say, Oregon.

Ah, the internets and confirmation bias and cheap stereotypes.
posted by desuetude at 6:04 AM on January 25, 2007


Yes, that must be it. This mayor, he's an outlier, a fluke. The stereotype, why it must be wholly an invention!
posted by five fresh fish at 8:39 AM on January 25, 2007


Oh yes, because stereotypes are sometimes true, they are fair, and just!
posted by desuetude at 9:21 AM on January 25, 2007


five fresh fish writes "cause a big upsurge in the numbers of bored youth who end up spending their time engaged in anti-social behaviours"

Bored youth who have sometimes been trained in the use of assault weapons.
posted by Mitheral at 12:25 PM on January 25, 2007


five fresh fish: And I suppose I've become a bit prejudiced. But, hey, this place is inundated with "best of the web" examples of Southern Stupidity. One just might start to get the impression that there's a lot more idiocy in Georgia than in, say, Oregon.

Well, there is what I see as the problem. No one is arguing that this isn't "stupidity." The argument is over the claim that this is a phenomenon unique to the American South. Meanwhile, I can go into schools in South Bend and Indianapolis where economic zoning and districts result in obvious segregation and disparity of resources, and I hear the same things about Chicago and L.A.. It's foolish to think that the kind people of majority-white suburbia anywhere in the United States have the best interests of immigrants or people of color in mind.

Which is why I think that it's important to note that mass murderer Benjamin Smith was a Chicago suburban boy who went on a multi-state spree targeting ethnic minorities. He was a disciple of Matthew Hale based in East Peoria, IL. Of course Oregon isn't especially pure and innocent of racism. Its state constitution banned blacks from owning property and Portland experienced its own Katrina in 1948. But that is a legacy that rarely gets pulled out of the closet.

Perhaps this is just an United States thing? Nope. discrimination happens in Canada as well.

I get so fucking sick and tired of how every race post on Metafilter turns into a party of privileged northern white folk refusing to admit to the racism in their own backyard.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 1:21 PM on January 25, 2007


And fff dude, you live in a lilly white colonial town according to the Canadian census. Not an especially good high horse.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 1:51 PM on January 25, 2007


Of course Oregon isn't especially pure and innocent of racism. Its state constitution banned blacks from owning property and Portland experienced its own Katrina in 1948. But that is a legacy that rarely gets pulled out of the closet.

It's not even in the past. Hell, Dave Neiwert wrote a whole book about the Militia Movement in the Pacific Northwest, documenting the ties to organized hate groups like neo-Nazi organizations. (Sorry, Oregonians. Not picking on you in particular.)
posted by desuetude at 3:34 PM on January 25, 2007


I get so fucking sick and tired of how every race post on Metafilter turns into a party of privileged northern white folk refusing to admit to the racism in their own backyard.

Waaa. Waaa. Waaa.

Stupid is as stupid does. Next time BC hits the papers time and time and time again for the mind-numbing stupidity of its mayors, school boards, government, and churches, you just go right ahead and call it like it is.

As-is, you'll have to settle for calling BCers a bunch of pothead treehuggers with a mad hate-on for pine beetle.

"Refusing to admit to the racism in their own backyard." For fucks' sake, twit, where in this thread has anyone in the Great White Yonder refused to admit there's racism in Canada. And that there is racism in Canada has exactly what relevancy with this current news about a pinhead in Georgia who can't think past his skin colour?

You know what I get sick of? I get sick of lamer Mefites who think that just because Person A or Country B does something, well, shucks, that makes it just A-OK that assholes in the US Government do the same.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:55 PM on January 25, 2007


I will not do drugs.
I will not drink alcohol.


Come on coach! It's fucking Georgia!
posted by Pacheco at 9:24 PM on January 25, 2007


So, like, one knee-jerk reaction to the article (which presents rather a more complicated picture of this still-bad situation) couples rather nicely with another foolhardy jab at the South. So says this New York City resident.

I live in Georgia. I know ALL about how crazy stupid this state can be about things. Most states have their particular brand of crazy and Georgia (and New York) are no exception.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:31 AM on January 26, 2007


I emailed the mayor after reading this article, and today got this response:
The City of Clarkston has received several emails expressing concern for the
Fugees soccer team stemming from a recent New York Times article. There is
a misconception that the Fugees team and soccer in general is banned in the
City of Clarkston parks. Please be assured that this is not the case and
the Fugees have been practicing on Armstead Field since October 2006.

The New York Times reporter repeatedly confuses Milam Park Field - which is
dedicated to little league baseball and unsuitable for soccer - with
Armstead Field which is where the Fugees continue to play. The only
limitations we have ever placed on either Armstead Field or Milam Park field
are to restrict the usage to children only.

We are deeply disappointed in the tone of Mr. St. John's article. The
report is factually inaccurate and several statements are taken out of
context - apparently to present a more dramatic story and arrive at his own
conclusions.

We are very proud of the Fugee's success which is a positive outcome from
Clarkston being among the most culturally diverse cities in Georgia. Our
population is 55.7 % African American, 19.4% Caucasian, 12.6% Asian and
12.3% representing over 52 nationalities. Our diversity is also reflected
in Clarkston's City Council of six members with two African Americans and a
Vietnamese refugee. I am delighted to see the recognition that Coach Mufleh
and her team are receiving for their impressive success story. The Fugees
represent the best of what the human spirit can accomplish by overcoming
oppressive conditions in their native countries and coming together in their
new community to achieve success through the power of sports and team work.

In October 2006, I encouraged Coach Luma Mufleh to attend a City Council
meeting to request the use of Armstead Field for her soccer program. At
that meeting, the Clarkston City Council unanimously approved her request to
use Armstead Field for the remainder of this soccer season which is March
2007. Because of her program's tremendous success and positive contribution
to Clarkston, I see no reason it will not continue. In fact, Coach Mufleh
will return to the February Council meeting to renew her agreement to use
Armistead Field for another year.

In December, we did receive several complaints that groups of adult men were
playing soccer on Armstead Field. This is a violation of the allowed use of
the field. We tried to contact Coach Luma several times to determine if the
men were affiliated with the Fugees. When she could not be reached, a
letter was sent to the YMCA to put the program on hold until a newly hired
sports coordinator was on board. I was then contacted by Coach Luma and she
assured me the men were not affiliated with the Fugees Soccer Program. I
immediately reinstated the use of Armstead Field for their practices.
posted by gsteff at 5:49 PM on January 26, 2007


I hereby withdraw my comments on retarded Georgian mayors, and hereby apply them to retarded newspaper reporters, who should be kicked in the nuts for creating hype where there is none.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:58 PM on January 26, 2007


I don't understand: why won't they let men use the field? Do they want them to play soccer in the streets instead? Why shouldn't adults have a place to get excercise and build community?

------------------

Also, that Toronto article is a bit misleading. I'll believe that the better buildings conciously exclude non-white people and people on welfare (I've encountered the welfare prejudice), but "few white faces" doesn't mean no white faces. Many poor whites in Toronto also live in disgusting buildings with urine and beer bottles in the stairways - I know, I used to collect those beer bottles for money when I was a kid. And our building was about 1/3 white, 1/3 Caribbean, and 1/3 the rest of the world.

I have an idea to combat racism and other forms of discrimination (against accent, perceived low-class, etc): a blind vetting system for all renters in the city, at all levels. Applications are submitted by an agency stating all of the relevant income and credit information, vetted references, as well as number of people to be housed (perhaps with a statement whether adults or children), but without names or faces. Landlords have to decide whether to rent based on the income and credit alone - no issue about what they look like or what kind of food they might cook. And all government income - whether sallary, Canada pension, or welfare is reported the same.
posted by jb at 2:26 AM on January 29, 2007


The reason that the place near my girlfriend's banned soccer was that adults would both monopolize the field, not letting kids play, and drink and get rowdy while playing. (Arguably also racism over the idea of a lot of hispanics congregating).
posted by klangklangston at 6:46 AM on January 29, 2007


More Georgian Goodness!

A-yup, might as well not say a damn thing more.
posted by five fresh fish at 3:17 PM on January 29, 2007


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