How do you Fix a Systemic and Cultural Problem Unless you Admit it's a Problem?
I know the premise of this blog is for me to vent my thoughts about most everything related to Sports but there are times where the world of Sport and the world as we know it intersect.
This is one of those times...
There's no compelling reason to set up and explain what is currently going on in a large part of the world, or more specifically the U.S. If you've seen the news, read your social media feed or travelled to your towns downtown, you likely know what's going on.
It's a scary, scary time with no clear plan and specifically, no unified leadership on how to peacefully resolve the issues at hand. I will add at least a couple of the "Issues" are the things which have triggered the unrest and are long simmering "Issues" too many refuse to accept or resolve so they keep happening. Over and over and over again.
No, I cannot nor will not sit here and tell you for a minute that I can relate or totally understand the near constant scrutiny people of color and non-white Americans go through on a near daily basis. I can't. I never will. I just hope to be able to support them and add my voice to their voices to try and make others realize what they have to go through.
How do you stop racism--in one fell swoop? How do you end generations of discriminatory behavior in some cases by people who don't know better but in most cases people who do? How do you stop something that has been taught and accepted for over centuries to a world where it never has been acceptable yet has been practiced?
How do you get someone to pay attention to your message that horrible, un-necessary profiling and abuse for people who look different than you needs to stop? How many times can you just stand there and say "This needs to stop"?
The protests and violence prevalent in America we are currently seeing aren't just over "One" incident, at least in my opinion---for whatever it's worth. I believe they ARE about the boiling point of this George Floyd's death along with the two other un-necessary deaths of people of color and they also are about the HISTORY and long running abuse of people of color.
There's an old song that is right now all I can think of when I see what is going on. It is a simple message---and yet states the problem quite eloquently....
(Note--This song has been covered by multiple artists over the years)
The past three weeks have seen some horrific things happen. The horrific death of George Floyd, the senseless death of Ahmad Arbery, the frightening death of EMT Breonna Taylor in Louisville while she slept by police. Every single incident could EASILY have been avoided, none of them were.
Those are just 2020 incidents. They don't include the long, sordid history of bad police officers abusing and in many cases killing people of color for seemingly mild issues.
I see a few, but not many of my friends who are putting posts on Social Media saying "All Lives Matter" as a rebuttal to the "Black Lives Matter" movement. As much as I try to love and understand those friends, they have absolutely NO earthly idea what they are talking about.
There are many saying what's happening today can be traced back to Colin Kaepernick taking a knee during the National Anthem at NFL Football games. Sure, it helps and it also brings light to people who tried commandeered his gesture into a ridiculous political debate and cost him his career. It goes much further back than his plight and runs far, far deeper.
For years, Police departments have profiled people of color. Look it up. Many have admitted it. Seriously, do a Google Search for "Racial Profiling" and see what pops up. You might be surprised---hopefully you'll be horrified.
For years, the response when Police would be charged with manhandling or un-necessarily killing people of color for highly questionable reasons---the response has been, to protest. Quietly. Without much incident.
Those gestures have not changed a thing. It keeps happening. Over and over and over again.
It goes back to what I just said to start my story---How do you get people to listen if they cannot hear? How do you get them to understand if they cannot relate?
No, the current political environment is not helping ANY of this. By and large, most police and local authorities, most politicians are trying to help in any way they can, trying to heal wounds. You could easily say 98-percent of police officers are amazing people who want to do good. Politicians a little less so. Some try to mean or do well. Some are more successful than others. Some are capable, some aren't--much the same way most police officers want to help, some can help and some don't help at all and are the problem.
How do you justify relying on a Police Department protect you if you can guarantee they will? How do you make peace with them looking out for your best interest if they treat you as a potential criminal without you saying a single word to them?
What scares the crap out of me is the rhetoric coming from the so-called "National Leadership". Instead of offering to help, instead of offering to listen to the pleas for help, they spew invectives and threats. Instead of sounding like they are aware of the problems and trying to help mediate the problem--they choose to ignore it and in some cases just fan the flames.
How do you get your message out in a world where nobody is willing to actually sit down and hear others out? How do you cross a divide created over the past 4-years where everything is about appeasing the monumentally large ego of one person who spends their every waking hour looking for a scapegoat to blame for problems that same person could easily fix??
No, I'm not naming names---but I am pleading with any and everyone who might read this to do, if nothing else---just listen and acknowledge a different point of view than yours. Just once, understand that while you may not be a fan of the different view and it may not jibe with what you'd like to believe, that for the person you are talking to, it means so, so much. Don't insult, don't make fun and don't threaten someone with different beliefs than you, embrace them.
There is a way to live in harmony and accept everyone for who they are, not what they look like and certainly we should not hate others for differing point of views.
Just once, why can't we stop resorting to insulting anyone who doesn't believe or agree with our viewpoint? Why can't we respect that others may not have the same world view and same experiences as we have and their perspective for that very reason might be different from yours---and that's ok. Why do we instead resort to petty insults on social media?
We don't need to live in a world where anyone feels like they are or will be persecuted because of the color of their skin. None of you have a legitimate reason or way to argue that point. Just the same---you should not be persecuting someone because they don't agree with your political views or the way they live their lives.
I said it before and I'll say it again. You...and I....have no right to claim we know what someone else's life experience or world is like unless we've lived it ourselves. I'm pretty sure nobody who reads this can say that.
I'll finish with this: