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.
“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.