Take cockfighting in the Dominican Republic, for instance. For Dominicans, the sport is a national pastime and "a symbol of the country's warrior spirit," says the New York Times. "Nearly every neighborhood and country village has a gallera, or cockfighting arena, and the sport is legal and regulated."
But once Americans learn that their Dominican sports heroes take part in such perceived senselessness and degradation, everything changes. Suddenly, Dominicans can't be Dominican anymore. They must instead swap their lesser culture for the virtuous American way, critics say.
And that's what gets me. What right do Americans have to decide what is right and wrong in other countries? It smacks of presumptuousness and arrogance.
Aramis Ramirez and other Dominican baseball players dealing with the backlash are doing their best to make this clear, but they are still met with closed minds.
On Tuesday, before the first full-squad workout, Ramirez was asked about his involvement in cockfighting.
"I'm not going to let you finish that question," Ramirez said. "I'm not talking about that. That's personal. It's a different culture down there. I'm from the Dominican. Let's talk about baseball."
Was he surprised the story received so much attention?
"I said I'm not going to talk about that," Ramirez said. "Like I said -- I just have to say this -- it's a different culture in the Dominican, and that's it." [Link]
And that, I think, is enough ranting on my part for one day.