Mark Wahlberg, you're looking pretty suspect right now. Last week, the artist formerly known as Marky Mark petitioned the state of Massachusetts to expunge his record of a racially-charged crime he committed when he was 16. In 1988, Mark Wahlberg attacked a Vietnamese shop owner, "Thanh Lam, breaking a stick over his head and calling him a "Vietnam f--king s--t." Running away from the scene of that crime, he then punched another Vietnamese man Hoa Trinh in the face so severely he blinded him in one eye," according to Vulture. Damn, dude, that's the stuff you want to be pardoned for? Those are no small potatoes.
Besides making no mention of the racial slurs in his petition, but rather noting that he was drunk and stoned at the time, TMZ now reports that Wahlberg has an ulterior motive for his atonement: he apparently wants to be a cop now (not just play one in the movies). "Wahlberg wants to join a L.A. area police force as a reservist. The problem ... he's not eligible because felons can't handle guns and it's generally frowned upon in cop shops," reports TMZ.
TMZ also mentions that Wahlberg is pitching a reality show "called "Port of L.A." in which law enforcement police the containers that come into the country." Oof. When Wahlberg initially said that he wanted to make amends for his wrongs, I was immediately suspect, chiefly because his remorse manifested itself in a petition for a pardon that nowhere acknowledged that he used racial slurs. Though he claims to have learned the error of his ways and become a "better citizen and person," he still, reportedly, has made no effort to contact the victims of his crimes.
It seems to me that this petition is for nothing more than personal gain. As Adrian Walker wrote in The Boston Globe on Monday, Wahlberg still has not apologized to any of his victims, though it was extremely easy for the Globe to locate them. Further, he also was involved in a separate incident in which he threw rocks at young black school kids, one of whom, Krystin Atwood, spoke to the Globe about that horrible day — she was only nine years old and was hit in the head by a rock thrown by Wahlberg and the other kids involved. She explained, "When people talk about racism in Boston, I always remember that." Atwood is 38 now and living in Georgia, and Wahlberg has not contacted her to make any amends.
So, is he just blind to the racial element of his crimes, or is he fully aware but omitting that aspect to garner sympathy and favor because he supposedly wants to go into law enforcement? At this point, though, an utter disillusionment with law enforcement in America breeds the suspicion that a history of racial abuse would not work to Wahlberg's detriment. He victimizes himself and makes himself a martyr, saying that he wants to use his experiences to do good. Why not, then, directly confront those he hurt the most, physically and emotionally? How can we believe he is sincere if he doesn't face up to his past completely? Perhaps his fans will be able to easily forgive his crimes, but I doubt his victims will.
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