Are We–at Last–Ready to Let the Sun Shine In?

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I have written several times on my blog about Doug Glanville, a friend of my daughter’s since childhood who is a multitalented and lovely individual: former Major League baseball player, ESPN sports analyst, writer and New York Times contributor, educator on sports and social justice, etc, etc. (He currently has a sports-related podcast called Starkville in collaboration with baseball writer Jayson Stark—I am happy to give that a plug!)

Doug Glanville was raised by a psychiatrist father and educator mother, and he graduated with an engineering degree from the University of Pennsylvania. He developed and taught a course at the University of Pennsylvania and at Yale on Communication, Sports, and Social Justice. He has been successful in just about any endeavor he’s undertaken. He is a bridge builder.

And yet…and yet. He has written about some of the racial affronts he has had to endure–and their terrible toll. (Links to his articles appear in my previous posts, linked above.)

He was racially profiled by a white police officer from the next town while shoveling snow from his own driveway. (That led him to take action that resulted in a change of Connecticut law and a gubernatorial appointment to the Connecticut Police Officers Standards and Training Council.)

He’s been turned away by a white cab driver claiming not to know the way to the Los Angeles airport. And when he was on air as an NBC baseball game analyst, a fan in the audience made a white power sign in back of his head, visible on camera.

Each time Doug is confronted with such situations, he seeks remedies. He told me he always tries to take the lemons and make lemonade.

Doug sent me a copy of the video below, “Enough!,” which he wrote and narrated and ESPN produced. I find his “personal call to action” powerful, searing, and eventually hopeful–another chance for us all. Please join me in watching it. If you’ve seen it before, I think it merits another viewing.

Here, he unflinchingly leads us toward our hoped-for better future.

If that better future is to become a reality, we’re all needed. This morning, one of the insights I gleaned from Twitter was from Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut, whom I respect a great deal.

He wrote:

“There is a set of reforms that white people who support the protests will broadly cheer (police reform, for instance).

Then there are reforms (housing/zoning reform, school funding equity, for instance) that will test just how supportive white allies are prepared to be.”

To me, this is the crux of the issue: how much will we white folks accept the fact that we will experience changes in our own lives to facilitate better conditions for all?

Will NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard), which has so often successfully walled off black people’s access to our schools, neighborhoods, employment opportunities, lives, finally cease to be the operative sentiment?

I don’t profess to have a lot of answers to the multifaceted problems we must address if we’re determined not to have to bear witness to more of the cataclysms revealed by the shocking police violence most recently perpetrated on George Floyd. We also saw senseless brutality in attacks on peaceful protesters, both black and white, old and young.

I lived through the painful 1960s and remember our joy when President Lyndon Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act and said “We SHALL overcome!”

Surely, we thought then, we were making real progress. And in some ways, we have. But finally, most Americans who aren’t people of color realize that that progress hasn’t been nearly enough.

And the regressions in important areas–not just policing but schools, health care, and voting rights, among others–have led to the use of the same word in a vastly different context, as Doug Glanville reminds us:  ENOUGH!

Now I derive hope from the fact that Black Lives Matter, whose rightness was so evident to me when Colin Kaepernick first bravely took a knee, has morphed from being perceived as a “radical” concept to a blazing mural in Washington, DC, and the name of a street whose sign is visible to everyone approaching and leaving the White House.

But I think it’s clear that we white people will have to undergo a fair amount of discomfort as we search our minds, hearts, communities, and institutions to make substantial inroads toward a more just society.

And this time, in the interests of equity, humanity, and our own self-interests, we must work to ensure that our progression toward that more perfect union approaches a straight line–no detours, no backward maneuvers–with the vast majority of Americans marching together.

Annie

23 thoughts on “Are We–at Last–Ready to Let the Sun Shine In?

  1. This is so powerful and so timely. Yes, white people marched and turned their Instagram feeds black or posted the black square but when the rubber meets the road, what will most people do? Such a profound question that deserves pondering. Thank you for this post and for the recommendations. I’m checking it out!! ❤️😥

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Abigail. We have big challenges ahead…
      I’m glad you’re checking out the links. I think Doug’s video is extraordinary, and I hope it will be widely viewed.
      Love and light to you!

      Liked by 3 people

  2. It’s sad that some people have to die horrific deaths so that others can see the light. Over the years, many black people have had their lives snuffed out by police officers for committing minor crimes—or no crimes at all. Here’s hoping that the countrywide demonstrations in response to George Floyd’s murder are the catalysts that are needed to put an end to police tactics that are acts of bigotry rather than law enforcement.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great post, Annie. And I loved the video. We have had enough time to get this right. Maybe this time, we will.

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      1. I’m glad you watched it, Mona. We have a lot of work ahead, but the diversity and persistence of the demonstrators gives me hope. Now we just have to make sure that energy is channeled into the ballot box for fair and unfettered elections—with a heavy component of safe and secure vote-by-mail.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Is this our nations Rosa Parks time? Ms. Parks made a decision for herself and others. I doubt she had any reason based on history, her moment would change a nations direction on race relations. However, she made the decision. Today, with the strangulation (if it can be called that legally, others can determine) George Floyd, made no decision. It was made for him by 4 police officers that did not see him as a man, but as an object. They must have seen hm as an animal to be held, tied and in their minds branded as a criminal and less than a man. I do not and suppose I will ever know why people see others as such. Not another human but, an affront to their day, their jobs and some how to the society they are sworn to protect they represent.

    There was a time when people. Good people that would otherwise never participate voluntarily, watch as a crowd gathered and hang a black man or even woman as if it was a show to be viewed on a summers evening with family and friends and talked about on the way home. Have we not come so far? Are we still those people?

    Back then and not all that long ago, the one to be hung witnessed for a short time that what must had been their eternity. There would had been a vocal and violent gathering. A forceable tying of their hands behind their backs like a cattle to be branded, a dragging to a place of some known public location for this next part of the procedure. There would had been shouts of anger and hostility. The noose in the ready and placed around their neck and the pull by the others. Others? Those who saw him as an object in their way of life and somehow their own liberties. They pulled till his feet no longer were bound by gravity to the earth he walked all of his years. The cries and twitching as his body struggled for a last gasp of air. It was his, “i can’t breath’ moment.

    Is this too dramatic? What was the difference for George Floyd. Captured. Dragged to the ground. Held at the neck as if a noose was forcibly placed there. Tied hands behind his back and the moment of, “I Can’t Breath”

    The difference is, today we are not looking away. We are revisiting his death in pictures. We are seeing for ourselves the video of his last “I can’t breath” moment. We are priming ourselves to make a stand and not to just look away when it is all done. We might not make all of the difference we want and see for our fellow citizens. Maybe not yet. But this momentum cannot flounder. It cannot lie waiting as the video stated, ‘wait means never’. The time to add a page; pages to our history that no more means, no more now and not someday.

    Of the last 400 years of history and only 50+ years of it guaranteeing basic human and legal rights it has brought us to this place at this time,. The clock ticks but with each moment within every second a new beginning must be forged in our legislatures, congress, work places and our legal system from the courts, to jails to the people on the beat.

    As to what difficulties we could face as we go forward to the goal of true equality for the whole of our society? What does it matter what it costs us. Our country has been based on the foundations of freedom though qualified to its time of formation and built on the shaky ground of not knowing how this experiment of democracy would turn out. Though unknown, it is a cost we have accepted when we agreed to be a free nation filled with free people only hoping from the start, all could be free. It was our burden in the past that is still in our present and now needs to be completed so we can all have an equal future.

    As a nation, we deserve better. They have the rights for it to be better and we all have the power to make it so. We can no longer ignore, I can’t breath, as a way of life to our citizens deaths.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Right, Charles. We are not looking away. I think it’s a hopeful time if the polls are right—that large majorities of Americans regardless of color are finally seeing the systemic racism we’ve been putting up with for far too long—centuries too long. We have to make sure we finally make things right.

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  5. I join everyone here in the disgust at the police officer whose callous need to dominate snuffed out the life of George Floyd. But I remain cautious of jumping on the Democratic bandwagon with those who once again promise that their way will solve everything. Because it sure didn’t in Minneapolis.

    African-Americans vote something like 90% for the Democratic party, and probably higher than that in many places. But that same party has not been troubled by taking support from the police unions who kept guys like that cop in Minneapolis on the force or the big city public school complexes that have sucked tremendous quantities of money into their gullets yet continued to churn out some of the worst education results anywhere. And the families stuck in those failing schools had better not even think of asking to use their share of that tax money to send your kid to one of the charter or old inner city Catholic schools that often do wonders with very little money.

    There is a lot that needs fixed when it comes to race. And we conservatives must do a better job of recognizing that the problems are worse than we have wanted to see or admit. But until we start seeing racial issues on their own terms and not as tied up in the politics of the left and the right not much is going to change.

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    1. It’s clear the police unions have been a huge part of the accountability problem; many pro-labor people agree to that. But I’m not sure the extent to which Democrats are responsible for that; aren’t Republicans always calling themselves the Law and Order party and depicting Democrats as soft on crime? Something doesn’t compute there.
      I have also read that charter schools are not the panacea they purport to be.
      But you and I have traversed this topic before, JP. I couldn’t agree with you more that we need a bipartisan, preferably nonpartisan approach to addressing racial inequities. Michael Steele tried to make that happen when he chaired the RNC years ago. What happened? He was removed. And I sure don’t see or hear many Republicans eager to enter the conversation now. Perhaps with public sentiment so demonstrably shifting, that picture will change. I would be delighted to see that happen.

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