Andrew Shaw: The gay slur and why he said it

Good day, Andrew Shaw, and welcome to your reprieve from being named the Steve Bartman of 2016.

Last night, your Blackhawk teammates saved you by coming up with a double-overtime victory while you served your suspension. Now, all of you can go forward equally responsible for what happens next in this post-championship season.

In this time of gotcha journalism and extreme sensitivity, there is something about you that overpowers the temptation to demonize any wrong-doer. A stream of journalists and bloggers and general people have been kind to you in this flap. Instead of “hate speech” your gaffe has been treated as “homophobia,” a phrase that suggests fear not hate. This suggests that you are a good guy, with a backlog of good will that kicked in here.

Having dodged the season-ending bullet, it is left to you to study this, if you are up to it: all of us have a hidden pocket of what is called implicit prejudice. We don’t know it is there, but the people near us do because it comes out and leaves us asking, if we even notice it, “Where did that come from?”

Its existence is well-documented, but it hasn’t had much press.  The good news is that once we know it is there, we can do something to bring it into the light where we can dismantle it, or at least keep ourselves from expressing it. I hope you accept the challenge.


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