You can’t handle the truth!

Mike Seate is really enjoying all of the uproar he created with his ludicrous “Steelers tickets too pricey for black fans” column.

Some idiot racists emailed Mike some really vicious stuff, and because Mike likes his giant brush so much, he assumes that we’re all racist idiots.

I believe so many people were upset over that column because of another kind of mirror: the one I held up to reflect society. And like a vain woman spotting her first wrinkle, nobody hates that reflection more than someone unprepared to see it.

Looking back, I underestimated people’s inability to accept real social problems. I’d hoped people would read about economic disparity and search for solutions. Instead, readers offered me and “all the other black, oil-spill, Ubangi-lipped coons” free trips “back” to Africa. Talk about shooting the messenger.

Don’t blame me that the NFL’s savvy marketing cabal is so certain black Americans cannot afford game day tickets that professional football is marketed in much the same way they sell NASCAR. That’s Hank Williams Jr., not Nelly, belting out the Monday Night Football theme, you might notice.

WTF?

He’s upset that Hank Williams Jr. is singing the theme?  He’s actually asserting that this is an indicator that the NFL is certain that all black AMERICANS can’t afford tickets?  OMG. So the NFL called Hank Williams Jr. and said, “Hank.  We’d like you to sing our theme song.  We were going to ask Nelly, but black people can’t afford NFL tickets, you know. We’re certain of it.”

I don’t give a crap who sings the frickin’ theme song as long as the Steelers win, everybody else loses, and Tom Brady’s arms fall off in a freak football accident.  You can have Tinky Winky the Purple Teletubby or Greg the Yellow Wiggle sing it for all I care.

Are we arguing about Seate’s assertion that the blacks in Pittsburgh are at a disadvantage?  No.  We know it is a fact.

We’re arguing that Seate took those facts, added 2 plus 2 and got oranges.

We’re arguing that Seate didn’t hold up a mirror to reflect society.  Ralph Bangs held up a mirror to reflect society.  Seate held up a mirror to deflect the sun into our eyes hoping we wouldn’t be able to see the irresponsibility of his piece.
We’re arguing that if he wanted to write a column about the racial gap in Pittsburgh, he should have written a column about the racial gap in Pittsburgh, not projected that gap onto a high price item that could have thousands of other factors affecting it.

We’re arguing that Mike Seate is sitting over a pot of shit, just stirring it like a mad man all, “Mwah-hahahahah!”

He’s the next Annoying Burgher and his crown is in the mail and by crown I mean a brain enema so that he can clear his head and maybe see what we’re all REALLY upset about.





23 Comments

  1. spoon
    January 2, 2008 1:07 pm

    I can’t fucking stand this asshole. Before he goes around screaming racism he should look at his previous articles first.

    What it comes down to is that he can’t write anything substantial so he chugs down a bottle of Thunderbird and writes the first random shit that comes to mind.

    I can see it now, he’s on the couch with his dartboard that’s 4/5th’s RACISM and then the remaining 1/5 split between STEELERS | BEER | HARLEYS | PG while his framed picture of Kanye West sits on his nightstand

    Life must be rough to suck that much.



  2. the violet
    January 2, 2008 1:19 pm

    Damn that was good PittGirl. Well done. Soooo glad to have you back.



  3. Rick
    January 2, 2008 1:30 pm

    Hey pittgirl,

    This is soooo funny I almost can’t respond. I am a season ticket holder and the one thing I really noticed this season is that there are MORE black fans at Heinz Field than ever before.

    I surmise that it has something to do with the fact we now have a black head coach. But who really cares what the reason is. They are cheering for the Steelers as much as the other fans (white, green, orange, etc.) do.

    For someone to say Steeler tix are too pricey for blacks is ridiculous. They obviously havent been to too many games this year. Nor do they realize that the ticket prices are too pricey for WHITES either.



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  5. Erik
    January 2, 2008 2:01 pm

    I hate to even offer this as a rebuttal, since it feels like bringing myself down to Mike Seate’s level, but here it goes.

    That was Kanye West, not Toby Keith, whose music was used in the pre- and post-commercial bumper for almost every commercial break on ESPN’s Monday Night Football broadcast this season.

    I don’t know what he’s trying to say about the NFL’s “savvy marketing cabal.” With the exception of Peyton Manning, whose media presence is a statistical outlier if ever I’ve seen one, the NFL players you see most frequently in advertisements are black. There’s no way that Seate could look at how often you see Reggie Bush and Chad Johnson and LaDainian Tomlinson and not understand that the NFL not only markets its product (and is used by other companies to market their products) to black people, but does so aggressively.

    So, yeah. STFU, Mike Seate. It’s a poor and lazy journalist who’d write this kind of story; devoid of substance, largely fabricated but still a 100% lock to stir up some controversy. I just feel bad that I’m adding to it.



  6. Sofa King
    January 2, 2008 2:24 pm

    I wonder- does Mr. Seate propose the NFL set aside discount tickets for black fans, or does he think they should lower prices altogether? I think it’s hysterical that one would think any company would price it’s goods in such a manner to exclude a certain subset of potential buyers.

    This reminds me of a minor controversy that occurred during my time at Pitt. At that time, a black, female member of the Student Govt. Board petitioned for an order to be put in place that ensured that certain “historically underrepresented” minority students be instated onto the board, regardless of how they finished in the voting. The order failed to pass, thankfully, and the Black Action Society railed against the racist culture at Pitt. Just two years prior, as an accepted incoming freshman, I inquired about scholarship opportunities and was told “if you’re not black, we can’t do anything for you.” I guess the racism works both ways…

    Here we are, a generation removed from Jim Crow and nearly 150 years from the last traces of slavery, and the seperatist, “us versus them” mentality is more pervasive in black culture than ever. I’m not sure it will go away no matter who the majority is or no matter how many reparations are made.



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  8. spoon
    January 2, 2008 2:38 pm

    I remember in the mid-late 90’s that Pitt had a “black homecoming” because the court was all white and they felt cheated.



  9. Fu
    January 2, 2008 2:45 pm

    “brain enema”…that’s awesome.



  10. JP
    January 2, 2008 3:15 pm

    All he did was draw a logical conclusion from data that is readily available to anyone who lives here empirically or otherwise. The economic disparity between blacks and whites in this city is sharp and wide. Worse than any other city I have ever lived including Philly and DC. This FACT as you would expect shapes civic life in the city (including our precious Steeler games). You can make an argument that blacks choose to spend their disposable income in other ways, fine whatever, but I do not why every body gets all fired up just because he makes logical observation. As for the jab at country music : right on! That corn pone, banjo picking needs to go back to Morgantown.



  11. BagitTagit
    January 2, 2008 3:29 pm

    Wait…

    They still make the Tribune Review?



  12. Erik
    January 2, 2008 3:33 pm

    JP, the problem isn’t that he pointed out the well-documented financial disparity between racial groups. The problem is that he used the fact that black people have a harder time affording what has long been regarded as a luxury item to reinforce an old and well-established point as if it were news and then used that as fodder for a bizarre marketing conspiracy theory.



  13. M. Silenus
    January 2, 2008 3:46 pm

    Sorry, PG. Alas, Greg is no longer the yellow wiggle. Catch up on your preschool pop culture for cryin’ out loud (Yeesh!) :~)

    http://www.thewiggles.com.au/us/mediacentre/news/31

    I googled “University of Pittsburgh’s Economic Benchmarks Report.” I think this 2004 report is what he’s talking about.

    http://www.ucsur.pitt.edu/Benchmarks%202004.htm

    It’s worth a read without the distraction of Seate’s buckshot argument.



  14. jason
    January 2, 2008 3:58 pm

    1) hey Seate, there are whites that cant afford to attend NFL games, you know.

    2) Seate takes the most racist emails he received and shows them to us, with a “see? toldya so” attitude– that is beyond immature and self-serving.

    3) i am amazed how the state of public education in urban america (and rural) barely registers as a flake of dandruff on the collective lapel of this country- oh but THE PRICE OF A SEAT AT AN NFL GAME?!? FUCKING RACIST PIGS!!!!!!!

    Lord have mercy.



  15. Bram R
    January 2, 2008 4:25 pm

    Generally, I get irritated by any column that goes into, “Boy, do I get a lot of bad hate mail!” Mike seems to excel at those. However, if I started this kind of conversation, I’d be pleased with myself, too.

    I think generally there should be no music allowed at Steelers games that is not classic rock. James Brown and similar should qualify along with Skynyrd, but nothing much outside that.



  16. JP
    January 2, 2008 4:32 pm

    Erik, Judging from the comments here, I am not so sure how well-established this fact is among Pittsburghers, but Ok I see your point on that. Sure stuff like this sells papers but it also generates debate and discussion and as unimportant as the racial content of a Steeler audience may be, it could very well be indicative of civic health of this city.



  17. scottie
    January 2, 2008 5:51 pm

    Mike Seate is a muckraking racist who seems to be enjoying the use of stereotypes of the Caucasian Community (wait, should I say Irish American? we were a poor working lot) to further his point. Excuse me, but the fact that Steeler’s tickets are impossible to obtain has nothing to do with the price and the average income of the African American community.It has more to do with the fact that 20+ years ago they were too expensive and since then, season ticket holders have held onto those tickets leaving them unavailable to everyone.

    Mike, instead of pointing out a “problem” come up with a solution! Unless you are too lazy come down from your soap box to actually do something about it. It’s a shame when people whine about problems and do nothing to correct them.



  18. The Daddy of the Mack Daddy
    January 2, 2008 6:38 pm

    The problem is the Mike Seate is in WAYYYYYYY over his head as a columnist at a daily newspaper. So he feels the need to write crazy shit to stir the pot, generate some chatter and justify his position. Ninety-nine percent of what he writes is so friggin boring, he’s probably tickled pink he’s gotten this much attention.



  19. Dawn
    January 2, 2008 8:35 pm

    You know, I was just going to read my daily dose of the Burgh Blog, eye up the comments, laugh, and move on without saying anything. I just can’t. I tried. I even clicked the little “X” on my browser but the absolute absurdity of this whole situation brought me back.

    How about a quick reality check?

    Yes, there is an embarrassing disparity in income, education, employment, and advocacy in this city. The socio-economic divide is something I think about daily, and something I’ve tried to improve by contributing to the standard of education for ALL students I encounter in Pittsburgh. If you can’t see the de facto segregation in this city, then you might as well call yourself Marie Antoinette.

    But the reality is that today anyone you meet on the street can complain about some kind of “-ism” and point out the problems that they feel have “held them down.” I’m a woman in what I’ve repeatedly been told is a “man’s profession” and I’ll make 75 cents for every dollar a less qualified colleague makes in the same position. Boo. Hoo.

    What is infuriating is that Mike Seate doesn’t use his audience to promote change or awareness–he uses his position in the same way that Rush Limbaugh attacks anything wearing blue. Write the article! Do the research, and if you do your job well, people won’t throw statistics at you because you didn’t bother to check more than two sources. Make an “argument” that can’t be denied. If you’re convinced, hell, call me and I’ll help you write it! But don’t stand on your soap box, point fingers without gathering all the possible data and evidence, and then complain when you’re called out.

    I’m all for stirring the pot to promote change; just make sure you have something more convincing than “because I said so” as a response to end the discussion. Any facts, data, or text can be manipulated to support anything the writer wants–Hitler used the bible to support the Holocaust. Just because it’s quoted doesn’t mean squat. And if you can’t respond intelligently, you look like an uneducated extremist.

    Persuade me, Mike Seate. Until then, you get a C-.



  20. Still A Fan
    January 2, 2008 8:55 pm

    i think you should have said he added two plus two and got bananas.

    BAM!

    damn, i missed your column!



  21. B
    January 3, 2008 12:12 am

    Dawn~ very well put.



  22. Dr. Goddess
    January 4, 2008 7:09 am

    <>

    You know, I *really* did not want to even address this post, this issue, Seate’s article . . . but I’ve read way too many ridiculous and wayward comments not to add my own—for the sake of humanity. LOL

    So, let me try to make this brief.

    Me: Black woman who lives in the Hill, Hip Hop generation professor of American and Africana Studies, Womanist, Radical, Progressive, etc.

    Some randomnized thoughts:

    1. I’m no fan or hater of Mike Seate. I’m sure he insulted me and the Raise Your Hand! No Casino on the Hill Campaign in Dec. 2006 by giving me a “Big Duh Award”. Since we won, he proved to be the duh/nce.

    2. Given that black people created (or significantly influenced) country, rock, blues, jazz and rap, the focus on what music is played at NFL games is marginally important. White people like Hip Hop too and so the playing of a Jay Z or Nelly song at a game is no more of an attempt to appeal to the Black market than is selling hot dogs in the stands. It’s just the (white) flavor of the month, no matter how many black people are in the stands watching the game. Why?

    3. Because this issue is not just about who can afford an NFL game, the facts of the matter are that mainstream professional sports in the U.S.—indeed, the entire culture of sport in this country—was never intended for blacks to participate in any equal or democratic manner other than to provide more entertainment as sports figures. The reality of this historical present is simply more starkly noticeable in Pittsburgh because the extreme race and class disparities, even in 2008, are largely reminiscent of Biloxi, MS in 1908 and, to a certain extent, 1808.

    That’s why I understand where Mike is coming from when he writes, “I just ventured to a Steelers game, where the culture of the people watching the game and the culture of those playing it could not be more different.”

    Hence, on we go to the juiciest stuff (be glad I did not write Seate’s column):

    4. White supremacy in this country is systematic and presents itself with a mystifying process that makes whiteness appear to be universal. Hence, one gets caught up in song choice instead of the more obvious systematic discrepancy not just between and among blacks and whites in Pittsburgh but also surrounding the general disposition of black people as objectified bodies of most forms of entertainment for the white gaze. All professional black athletes in this country, generally speaking, are “forty million dollar slaves” (check this title on Amazon.com) and all high school and college Black athletes in this country are similar “slaves-in-training”. Of course this professional sports culture is not designed for black people’s entertainment and enjoyment, so the black people that do get to NFL games are wasting their time complaining to Mike. The class strata, cost of the tickets, access to the seats, type of service, etc., were not designed with black people in mind but for white consumption. Indeed, Black athletes are quite often purposefully, routinely and staunchly separated from the black communities from which they emerge as soon as they are spotted by talent coaches (Spike Lee’s “He Got Game” is more of a documentary than a fictional film. “Hoop Dreams” is also an excellent reference).

    Since we live in a capitalist society, there are undoubtedly other white people (the poorer ones, the working-class) who are going to be left out but that does not change the inherent white supremacist structure of the sports arenas. We know (and you know) the origin of this system and our exception at participating in sports and entertainment in any equal or just manner. There have always been Black people in the upperclass who could afford “white” privileges, so anyone who points to any singular or several Black people in the audience will use this to ignore the substance of the argument around the lack of structural change. Seate did address the extreme type of privilege of the tickets, so pointing this out as though he didn’t say it is a bit disingenous.

    But black people are *supposed* to entertain. We are not supposed to participate, control, share in wealth, resources or power. This is why we (black folks and progressive people who like to cheer for the underdog) cheer for Mike Tomlin, applaud golfer Tiger Woods so heavily, celebrated ice skater, Surya Bonaly (even if she was from France), yelled for ice skater, Debbie Thomas (no matter how many times she fell), flipped over (Olympic gymnast) Dominique Dawes, etc. They were not earlier allowed to play in any reindeer games and when laws were passed to allow them to play, the prices increased to make sure the economic disparity reflected the desired racial disparity. That these people beat the odds is commendable.

    So, if I have any problem with Seate’s column it’s that he did not go far enough. It might bother him, for example, to see the sort of civil right acceptance of a Mike Tomlin, for example, but lament the socio-economic realities of the system that doesn’t let *the masses* of black people (the poorer, the working class) participate and change the structure in this city or any other. He only touched upon what was supposed to be his main point and spent too much time focusing on music, as if white people generally have ever not enjoyed the music black people create.

    The class discrepancy, social access and ironic obsession with black bodies is more pronounced in Pittsburgh because we *do* now have a Black coach and because so many of the players are Black and because this country is so heavily centered around the cult of celebrity and this city is so damn paternalistic that the majority of black men you see on TV—EVER—are the ones propped up to entertain white folks, mostly in music and sports. Oh yeah, and the ones getting arrested and going on trial.

    But when it comes to equalizing the plane, when it comes to really changing the system, take a look at how Mike Tomlin was received in Pittsburgh vs. how Don Barden was received in Pittsburgh—the man now leading the largest private industry in this city who can hire and fire at the blink of an eye and does not work for the Rooneys but competes with them.

    Alot of white liberals acknowledge the depth of the disparity but cringe at the idea of affirmative action or “special access” in any capacity, finding it more convenient to talk about their own lack of access in a system intent on always having winners and losers but making sure that far more winners are white and far more losers are black and/or people of color. Hence, many of the bloggers that commented here, even PittGirl herself, chose to focus on the fact that they cannot afford Steelers tickets either, as if that makes Seate’s point moot or erroneous, in any way. It doesn’t. Again, he did not go far enough and I think the fact that he’s talking about leisure (a human right, by the way) bothers some folks because it’s easier to see racism in hard core numbers like the homeless and the unemployed than to delve in the messy truths of the cult of white supremacy masquerading as equal (upperclass or special) ticket opportunity to games.

    And it’s important to note that even with Affirmative Action, it helps persons who are already poised to be successful but don’t have opportunity (like Mike Tomlin, who did arrive in The Burgh, not the least of which from an affirmative action dictate that at least one Black coach MUST be interviewed—nothing to be ashamed of, especially since so many overqualified blacks get passed up for jobs on a regular basis and I’m sure he was one of them until now) but this does not address the structural change necessary to create real equal opportunity, access and *results*—the irony and contradiction of which Seate pointed out (admittedly in a flawed manner) by choosing to juxtapose who filled the seats with what music is being played, when the real issue is who plays, who gazes, who controls the entirety of the game, who and how many quarterback, get hired as coaches, are up in the booths, have access to the clubs, work as the team doctors, the PR persons, the managers, assistant managers, water boys, towel boys, etc. He casually referred to “culture” but mostly focused on popular culture in music choice.

    I suppose the point is, white supremacy is alive in the city of Pittsburgh, in a more pronounced manner than in the general United States. The stark contrast between the fans, the players and who’s in the stands is something to take a look at because racism exists in leisure as well—but Seate’s article barely scratched the surface and is so frail that he chose to focus on an obvious marketing choice to an overwhelming majority white population (some of whom enjoy Hip Hop as well), rather than write a truly powerful column that highlights the continued structural racism in Pittsburgh—on and off the field of sports.

    See ya.

    Dr. Goddess
    p.s. For you Pitt students and alums (Sofa King and spoon, in particular), there are plenty of scholarships for working-class white folks, so please don’t blame Pitt’s attempt to address its exceptionally poor history of black student enrollment by offering pointed scholarships to use as an example of discrimination against you, especially if you are so willing to overlook the special set-asides for alums, family members and, of course, athletes. Further, if you don’t know that white women are the standard of beauty in this country and why black students would want their own homecoming king or queen, I recommend revisiting your liberal arts education with Nikki Giovanni’s “Racism 101” and Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? Revised Edition by Beverly Tatum.

    p.p.s. Talking about race and racism makes people *really* uncomfortable, so if my response unnerves you, I do understand and I’m willing to discuss any topic or question you have—to a point. Just keep in mind that 1. I am not a Mike Seate fan or a hater, I do not believe he is a racist nor do I believe his article was racist and, in fact, he should have gone further; and 2. Telling me to “go back to Africa” will do nothing but conjure up fond memories of my time in the Motherland and if you’re willing to contribute to the “Send Dr. Goddess back to Africa” fund, I’d be more than happy to accept your money.

    p.p.p.s. JP, Erik and Dawn, I appreciate your reasonable responses to these original posts.