Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Preaknik

I'll Have Another & Bodemeister are both visibly upset at the lack of minorities in attendance at this year's Preakness Stakes

If you've followed the blog for a while, you're no doubt familiar with my transition from my "urban" hometown of Riverdale, GA to my "not-so-urban" current place of residence in Clayton, GA. The difference between the two cities is black and white. Literally. Now, there are good and bad aspects of both places, but I can't help but think the transition would have been easier if the two cities weren't such polar opposites. This need for a middle ground seems to be a common theme as it once again became apparent while watching the Preakness Stakes this past weekend.

Horse racing is most definitely a white man's sport. (Is it a sport? I guess it is for the horses.) Whenever the camera panned across the crowd, all I could see was a sea of pale faces. No black people anywhere. Not even a tanned-skin white person. The Preakness is truly a SWASPs only event. It's also an event that's declining in popularity. Once upon a time, horse racing was the third most popular sport in America, but as the years passed and the sport became increasingly synonymous with rich white people, it lost much of its fan base.

Even though I watched the Preakness Stakes and even though I'm certainly pale enough to fit in with the crowd, I don't much care for horse racing. Sure, the race itself is a fairly exciting two minutes, but all the pomp and circumstance is a little off-putting. Much like my current hometown, it's just too dang white. Perhaps I, and the rest of the nation, would like the event better if it had a little more of an urban flavor to it -- the same way I'd like Clayton better if it had a few of the appealing aspects of Riverdale thrown into the mix. But if the Preakness equates to Clayton, what event equates to Riverdale?

Freaknik.

If you've lived in or near Atlanta, you're probably familiar with Freaknik, but in case you aren't, here's the rundown. Freaknik is basically the African-American equivalent to Spring Break in Panama City. Once a year, people (mostly black) would flock to Atlanta in droves for a week's worth of parties, concerts, dancing, and general tomfoolery. It's pretty much the opposite of the Preakness Stakes.


Now I don't have anything against either Preakness or Freaknik, but I wouldn't feel comfortable attending either event. I'd feel out of place at the horse track because I have no money; I'd feel out of place at Freaknik because I have no rhythm. Still, there are aspects of both events that I think I'd enjoy. Like I said before, the race itself at Preakness is entertaining and I know I could get a good pick-up basketball game at Freaknik. If only there was some way to combine the two events so I could have the best of both worlds and so I wouldn't stick out like a sore thumb middle-class white guy.

It's good to combine things
Enter Preaknik.

It would be an ambitious undertaking to be sure, but a combination horse race/urban festival certainly has its charms. Preaknik would have something for everyone: music, animals, gambling, dancing... the works. People of every color would come from far and wide to watch disc jockeys ride horses and bet on slam dunk contests. No more pretentious dress codes, no more riots -- just fun for everyone.

It doesn't happen often, but I think I've stumbled upon a great idea in Preaknik -- almost as great as Taco Bell's Doritos Locos Taco... which, coincidentally, is the official food of Preaknik.