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Ending the Year By Coming Out of the Closet with Two Confessions

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It must be a relief for people to get deep and hidden burdens off their chest. For years many, otherwise sweet and innocent friends, relatives, and neighbors felt forced to hide their secret lives for fear of not being accepted. Most of the time when you hear about someone coming out of the closet it pertains to their sexuality, more specifically their homosexuality. This year 2011, several celebrities came out of the closet about being gay. However, I suspect that most still hide in the closet with their hands tightly gripping the doorknob and holding the door shut. Nevertheless, homosexuality is not the only way people come out of the closet. Anyone who lives a life of secrecy is in the closet. Tattoos for instance, brought the inner exhibitionism of females out of the closet. It seems that everywhere I look nowadays; I see a tattoo rising above the waistband of a woman’s low cut pants. Yes, people, Mary Poppins has come out of the “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” closet.

Some men are in the closet about watching TV soap operas. Some things are too unmanly to admit. Earlier this year on Oprah, hundreds of men came out of the closet about being sexually molested as a child. Though my coming out of the closet is not nearly as serious as a male rape victim or watching those silly soap operas, I have decided to end this year by twice confessing to the African American equivalent to racial treason. The first confession is my lackluster commitment to Kwanzaa. Though I have half-heartedly celebrated Kwanzaa for nearly 40 years, I have a problem with the history and reputation of its founder Dr. Maulana Karenga. In 1971, Karenga "was sentenced to one to ten years in prison on counts of felonious assault and false imprisonment". One of the victims gave testimony of how Karenga and other men tortured her and another woman. The woman claimed to have been stripped and beaten with an electrical cord. Karenga's former wife, Brenda Lorraine Karenga, testified that he sat on the other woman’s stomach while another man forced water into her mouth through a hose. Karenga explained his actions by saying that one of the women he had tortured had attempted to assassinate him, but he had no evidence. Though I like the idea of Kwanzaa only because Black people need something to celebrate and call their own, I have always had difficulty looking past the man.

My second confession, which is also a risk to reveal especially as a man is that I’m apathetic about organized team sports. Whew! There, I’ve said it! I don’t like team sports one darn bit and am tired of pretending to be interested when I’m around a bunch of sports fanatics. It’s inconceivable the way the public accepts barbaric and criminal behavior from the players and those involved in organized sports. Young children are subliminally encouraged to act out in violent behavior for the loyalty of their team. The illegal fights and injuries off the field occur a hundred times more than viewers witness on the field or court. The Super Bowl has the reputation for sending more wives to the emergency room for being beaten by her, usually intoxicated husband after the game. There is even a t-shirt called “Wife Beaters” because most of the abusers are wearing that certain type of shirt.

The most recent act of fan violence that got national attention was the incident where a San Francisco Giants fan was nearly killed by Los Angeles Dodgers fans. Before that, in 2005, a 13-year-old baseball player in Palmdale, CA killed a 15-year-old player for teasing about his team’s loss. The professional players are used as role models to the kids and fans. The fans make heroes out of the players and their violent behavior becomes a standard of life. Basketball player, Ron Artest who once beat up a fan in the stands is now called “Metta World Peace.” In 1997 Dennis Rodman kicked a cameraman during a game and that same year, Latrell Spreewell choked his coach during a game. Both millionaire players were fined a few peanuts. This absurd behavior and fan loyalty is what led to the underreporting of child molestation cases against football coach Jerry Sandusky. A winning coach was made more important than the kids. However Sandusky is only one example. Many kids, especially girls, anxious to become sport heroes, are taken sexually advantage of in most sports by their perverted coaches. Well, there, I am out of the closet... I don’t like team sports either.

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