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  • Are Packers fans racist?

       January 26, 2011

    I've recently read a couple of articles that imply that Green Bay Packer fans are a bunch of racists. Why, you ask? It's because we like John Kuhn.

    No really:

    Yesterday, it finally happened. I was listening to 1250-AM WSSP’s “The Big Show” when the topic of Packers running back John Kuhn and his sudden popularity came up. Callers gave the usual reasons for why Kuhn has rapidly become a favorite among the Packers faithful: his recent productiveness, his bruising running style, his easy-to-chant name. But the focal point of the discussion was an attribute that’s been glaringly omitted from Kuhn’s quick ascent to media darling status.

    He’s a white guy.

    And also, we're racist because we like to cheer "KUUUUUHHHHHHNNNNN!!".

    No really:

    All this and still, I suspect some of these Packers fans enjoy shouting Kuuuhn in public, in part, because of the other meaning the sound of the word carries. They enjoy breaking a taboo, even if that taboo is broken under the guise of team spirit. Noticeably silent on this issue are the moron broadcasters, who've labeled Kuhn a 'folk hero.' Okay – folk hero – like Davy Crocket or the Chilean miners? This seems to be some attempt to discredit Kuhn's athletic ability while offering a backdoor justification to the fans' cheering, 'folk' here being codified to mean 'red-state' or 'backwoods,' something like that.

    To address the first point. Sure, I think some people probably like John Kuhn because he's white and not super athletic and there's the perception that he's overcome a lot to be successful. It's kinda similar to why athletes like Arthur Ashe, Tiger Woods and the Williams sisters are admired. Or why the media made a big hullabaloo a few years ago about having both Super Bowl teams coached by black men.

    Here's a totally serious question: is it racist to like someone because of their race? Is it wrong for me to, for example, like Yovani Gallardo in part because he's Mexican and there haven't been that many Mexican pitchers in baseball? Or is it only racist if I like a white player who plays a sport or position that not a lot of white people do?

    However, I think the article skips over the idea that Kuhn is popular and gets cheers because he gets into the game at critical situations. We cheer for him and love him because when he succeeds on the field it typically results in a big first down or a touchdown for the Packers. It's not about Kuhn, it's about the only colors that matter: green and gold.

    Plus, people like big, fat guys. Witness the explosion of love for B.J. Raji.

    That second notion of racism absolutely stuns me. The claim is that Packer fans are somehow delighted that Kuhn is white so we can "get away" with chanting "KUUUUHHHNNN!" because it sounds just like "coon" and we're all so excited to subversively chant a vaguely racist term. Instead of you know, chanting the guy's last name.

    So if John Kuhn were black we couldn't chant his name? What about George Koonce? Or is "KOOOOOONNNCE!" somehow magically not-close-enough to "Kuhn" to be racist?

    This is just political correctness at its most absurd and insulting. It's like claiming that lots of racist Wisconsin kids probably do school reports on the country of Niger, because, well, you know.

    There's also a certain delicious irony in a writer claiming Packer fans are closet racists while at the same time labeling them with loaded words like "red state" and "backwoods".

    Some Packer might be racist. A lot of people are. Sometimes, however, a cheer is a just a cheer.

    Posted by kris at January 26, 2011 05:49 PM

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    #  January 26th, 2011 6:08 PM      cherlynda
    I honestly have never thought of the fact that he is white or that Kuhn sounds like coon...geez, this isn' the fifties and sixties...most people don't even think like that. Frankly it is insulting to Packer fans.  



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