A Phoenix, AZ Catholic school forfeited a charter school baseball championship because their opponents have a girl on their team. Fifteen year-old Paige Sultzbach plays second base and is the only girl on the Mesa Preparatory Academy’s baseball team. Their would-be opponents in the state championship, Our Lady of Sorrows, declined to play Mesa Prep and forfeited the state championship. They said in a statement:
Our school aims to instill in our boys a profound respect for women and girls. Teaching our boys to treat ladies with deference, we choose not to place them in an athletic competition where proper boundaries can be respected with difficulty.
The school’s so-called “deference” to women sounds like the condescension that says women are inherently delicate and shouldn’t be allowed to do things like play sports. It’s the same attitude that makes it difficult for women to break into traditionally male spheres. It’s same men-only attitude that contributes to the low number of women as Fortune 500 CEO’s and members of Congress.
If Our Lady of Sorrows were indeed instilling in their students “a profound respect for women and girls,” they would view them as equals and play ball.
See Sultzbach’s interview on PoliticsNation with Al Sharpton.
For anyone interested in racial and ethnic harmony, it’s been a crappy summer.
A quick recap: Arizona’s immigration law passed; the NAACP took on Tea Party racism, and the Tea Party came back in a bad way; Andrew Breitbart took on the NAACP and Shirley Sherrod making all parties involved look bad, including Barack Obama; 1/5 of Americans think Obama is a Muslim in spite of factual evidence to the contrary and none to support it; there’s the controversy over the so-called “Ground Zero Mosque” that isn’t located in Ground Zero and is more of a community center than a mosque; and Dr. Laura used the word “nigger” 11 times to a black caller.
These moments and the lack of any progress on race show the country isn’t ready to engage and have an honest conversation about how race and ethnicity affect Americans. What’s worse is President Obama doesn’t appear ready to lead the country in this matter. This is a shame because he is the perfect person to do it.
I chose to run for the presidency at this moment in history because I believe deeply that we cannot solve the challenges of our time unless we solve them together – unless we perfect our union by understanding that we may have different stories, but we hold common hopes; that we may not look the same and we may not have come from the same place, but we all want to move in the same direction – towards a better future for our children and our grandchildren.
It requires all Americans to realize that your dreams do not have to come at the expense of my dreams.
That’s what a lot of the racial and ethnic stories that captured our attention this summer are about (except, perhaps, the Dr. Laura rant): Someone different from me is getting something I’m not. These issues aren’t just about race. They’re about class, immigration and jobs, too. They’re about race and money.
Obama is the embodiment of an American who can and has crossed multiple racial and economic groups and this is the second reason he should be talking more about these problems. He is the son of a white American and black Kenyan. He grew up in a working-class family in Hawaii as well as some time in Indonesia. He attended two elite Ivy League schools in the East, and he was a community organizer in Chicago. His life is a range of race and class in America. It’s multi-racial, multi-ethnic, and spans different geographic regions and economic classes. Continue reading 'Race, Class and Obama'»
When public figures break the law or do something very bad, forgiving and forgetting can be two very different things.
Two weekends ago, Chris Brown tried to resurrect his career and redeem himself in the eyes of the public with a tribute to Michael Jackson at the BET Awards. The performance was almost a year to the day since Brown pleaded guilty to one count of assaulting his ex-girlfriend, pop singer Rihanna. The first half of Brown’s performance was a dance tribute to Jackson. The second half was Brown weeping to Jackson’s “Man In The Mirror.” He was supposed to sing the song, but Brown appeared as if he couldn’t hold back his tears. I say “appeared” because there are allegations that the tears weren’t real.
Another redemption story came to an end a few hours after Brown’s performance. Robert Byrd – the longest serving U.S Senator in history – died that Monday morning at age 92. Byrd was in the Ku Klux Klan in the 1940′s, voted against Thurgood Marshall’s appointment to the Supreme Court and filibustered against the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Then in the late 1960′s, Byrd had a turnaround on race. He supported the creation of the Martin Luther King National Holiday and endorsed Barack Obama for president. How’s that for a switch? A former Klan member endorsing the man who would become the first black president.
Also that same weekend, the world mourned (again) over Michael Jackson’s death. One year after he died, the media and some of the public rehashed the King of Pop’s life, death and money. Though he was never convicted of anything, the allegations of child molestation followed him for over a decade. Those allegations along with the years of strange behavior - we all know he did, so I won’t list the incidents here – made the Michael Jackson who died into someone different from the one who made hit records. There was one Michael Jackson who was a megastar performer in the 1970s and 1980s and became one of the most famous performers on the planet. Then from about 1993 until his death, he was another Michael Jackson: the guy who once a megastar, but did a lot of weird things and was accused of molesting kids.
It’s a shame we’re still having a debate over gays and lesbians serving openly in the military.
This New York Times article delved into some of the issues involved in transitioning the military to allow homosexuals to openly serve. One issue is whether openly gay soldiers should be put in separate housing. Another is that families might request different housing, on religious grounds, if same-sex couples live close by. Others are concerned that service members who don’t adhere to anti-discrimination policies may not be promoted. An unnamed Army National Guard member who is a lesbian had concerns, too. She said, “Getting rid of ["Don't Ask, Don't Tell"] completely without modifying it is kind of worrisome. The number of incidents against gays in the military is going to increase.”
True. This soldier is rightfully concerned about the safety of herself and other troops. If the policy is going to be repealed soon, and that is far from certain, it doesn’t look like it will happen before a report on the repeal is due on December 1. All of this fear and worry, though, is over soldiers who may be homophobic. This hand-wringing is over the feelings of people who may be bigots and what they might do. But the bigotry I see is with the leaders, policymakers and pundits who want DADT to remain in place.
On the issue of gays and lesbians serving openly in the military, we’re not the norm in the West. Every other country in NATO, except Turkey, allows gays and lesbians to openly serve. When Britain and Canada allowed homosexuals to serve openly they only lost three soldiers each (yes, just 3). And when U.S. looked into how Canada changed their policy, a report showed that “negative consequences predicted in the areas of recruitment, employment, attrition, retention, and cohesion and morale have not occurred.” Continue reading 'Where The Bigotry Lies In ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’'»
I watched Rand Paul’s infamous interview with Rachel Maddow in which he doesn’t give his complete support for the 1964 Civil Rights Act. It was painful watching the newly-nominated Republican U.S. Senate from Kentucky dance around a direct answer to the question of whether businesses should be able to discriminate on the basis of race. Paul said he is personally against institutional racism, discrimination and segregation, and against those things in the public sphere. He just couldn’t bring himself to say the government has the right to tell private businesses that they’re not allowed to discriminate.
Everything from banks and corporations to restaurants and bowling alleys would be allowed to discriminate on the basis of race, in his view. From his statement about people in wheelchairs working in two-story buildings, it sounds like businesses would be able to treat disabled people differently, too. And, I’ll go out on a limb and say that in Paul’s worldview, they would be able to discriminate on the basis of gender and sexual orientation.
So, according to Paul, prejudice and discrimination is bad, but it would be allowed for private businesses. If he were to be elected as senator, it doesn’t appear he wouldn’t do anything in that capacity to stop it.
I don’t think these views make Rand Paul racist. Nor do I think that the Libertarian or small government movements are racist either. But their antipathy toward the federal government has blinded them so much that they would allow private businesses to discriminate without any legal recourse. If Paul and his supporters put a business’s desire to discriminate on the basis of race, gender, sexual orientation or disability above the need for all citizens to be treated equally, then the movement is flawed.