As thousands of protestors continue to speak out against racial injustice, White Sox play-by-play announcer Jason Benetti explained – for those who do not understand – why people are angry.
Benetti, who has cerebral palsy, knows what it’s like to be – or feel – like an outsider, and he has encountered discrimination throughout his life.
“I am a white man who can’t speak about the fact that there are people in this country who have to tell their kids this speech,” Benetti began on The DA Show. “I listened to some colleagues talk about this just yesterday, that there’s this speech you give to your kids if you’re a black person in this country about how to get home safely and how to handle it if you get pulled over and just make it home. I don’t know what that’s like in any way. I don’t know what it’s like to have my life threatened in that way.
“But what I can say is for people who don’t believe it or think that it’s overblown, every day of my life when I meet somebody knew, because of how I walk, I get judged,” Benetti continued. “And it’s on me to overcome it in some regard. But it also is this stack of very small, little paper-cut instances that, when they pile up, it gets very frustrating to think, ‘Hey, maybe there is an invisible wall or ceiling.’”
Benetti has received comments about his walk and his shoes. He was told early in his career to stick to radio. Strangers sometimes assume – based on his physical limitations – that he is somehow mentally impaired.
Benetti, 36, takes it in stride.
“That’s not even close to the same as having your life threatened by a police officer,” he said. “But if you’re wondering, ‘Hey, why are they so mad?’ – they being everybody who’s protesting – the answer is because when you pile up every day something going wrong or something reminding you that you’re slightly lesser than somebody else, at some point you want to let it out and you want people to realize that’s actually happening. I try to put a happy face on it – because that’s the way I attack it – but that doesn’t mean everybody should, and it certainly means that this is true and it affects people people emotionally very substantially. So I would just encourage everybody to listen.”