Some Good News

Good News happens: another media outlet, this time an major one, bans a team name from its coverage. Congrats to the Washington Post for taking a stand against the Washington, D.C. NFL team name. I am issuing them a challenge: ban all racist team names and logos/mascots from their coverage, in all media outlets. That can be good important news. 

To the team owners: if you are concerned over possible peer pressure criticism at the rarefied heights you each live at why not be leaders in those circles? Change the conversation, start with the small comments, move to the larger forums and then if need be use social pressure to create change rather than reinforce the status quo.

Exploiting indigenous identities for profit is not a credible or smart position to hold in the 21st century.  Do you really think Native Americans have forgotten the past? I know they have not. The world has not forgotten. People everywhere do not ignore indigenous tribal realities today. They shape America, they shape our world, they shape your lives. 

Diversity Now

Diversity Now is complicated. The latest research shows just how complicated. Various ethinic groups see diversity differently. However all research shows diversity strenghtens all decision making in all group and at any levels.

Does diversity start with different genders?

Does it take simply members of different sexual orientations to create a diverse environment?

Or does it need those of different ages?

Of does diversity require both men and women in positions of authority?

Or does it require different backgrounds?

      

Or does diversity have to have those of different nationalities?

Or does it build from those with  different skin colors?

Or does diversity require those who are rich and those who are poor?

Or does it call for those with different religious beliefs?

Or does diversity at all levels need all of the above? Reality certainly holds all of the above.

 

Good News on Clippers

Clippers are to be sold, without Donald Sterling’s involvement. This is good news for the team, the NBA and yes(sadly) the Sterling family. It is impossible to know if Sterling faked his dementia although that is a possibility since it cannot be verified until an autopsy is done. He escapes with his excuse for his behavior formally recorded and a huge profit….but faked or not, he is out of the NBA.

Now for all sports to takle all racism. Here is the Native American tradition continuing…..with pride.

Photo: Women in Native American dress

COEXIST

Such An Obvious Concept

Where are the religious and spiritual communities in this conversation? There is no coexist without understanding, no coexist without respect, no coexist without conversation.

Racism, in any form, in all forms is never sanctioned by any religious or spiritual belief. Racism by its very nature of perceived superiority based on birth over another human being or group based on birth fuels arrogance which leads to oppression, then resentment, exploitation, hatred and hatred leads to violence. Connecting these dots is simple, true and obvious. No religion or spiritual practice supports the end result. Yet silence among the religious and spiritual communities reigns–almost.

The United Church of Christ in its Mid-Atlantic Region has voted a formal boycott of the Washington, D.C. NFL team. In Cleveland, where the UCC National Headquarters are located, in the past they have supported outreach to the Native American community. Both steps are positive. More steps must be taken. More leaders can and should step forward. I call on the Roman Catholic diocese of Cleveland and Bishop Lennon to open a conversation with the team owners, myself and other interested parties to find a positive resolution to this longstanding MLB travesty at his doorstep. I know the Dolan family, the MLB team owners, are Roman Catholic, graduates of Notre Dame Law school across generations and active in Catholic Charities. I too am Roman Catholic. It is the right thing to do. For the record I have sent this same request to Bishop Lennon, repeatedly in the past as I did with his predecessor Bishop Pilla  and again this week. To date I have had no response at all.

As I now live in the Boston area I am aware of a powerful coalition of academic and spiritual leaders coming together in an effort to undo the casino endorsement vote through a ballot initiative. The courts have approved the new vote.  It is good to see scholars and spiritual leaders uniting on an issue but perhaps it is time for their expansion of the process,? Uniting FOR human dignity, mutual respect, integrity and decency seems to be the message all teach. This is not a ballot issue, it can be a hearts and minds issue. History, recent history, has shown time and again that racism leads to violence, both local and beyond.

The current Roman Catholic Pope, Pope Francis has prayed with Israeli leader Shimon Peres and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbastogether at the Vatican last month and this week prayed with tens of thousands in St. Peter’s Square to end warfare in the Middle East. Hatred, in all its forms, kills. The exploitation of any one group, Native, Indigenous, minority or simply seen as the other mirrors the pattern of exploitation and oppression of all.

“I exhort to all the interested parties and to all of those who have political responsibility at the local and international level to not give up the prayer, nor any effort to cease any hostility and reach the desired peace for the good of all,” the Pope said, according to a CNN translation. He spoke in Italian, from the window of his apartment above St. Peter’s Square.

These same words for peace and universal good-respect and decency-carry for all team identities. Where there are racist team identities in all sports which peace is placed at risk with hostility expanded as the identity of an indigenous people is used by others for profit and personal gain. In time I am certain this will come to be seen as the truth, seen by those currently hugging tradition and old attitudes tightly in their closed hearts. The growth of the global community will make the current team identities, endorsed by their owners and organizations from Cleveland, to Washington, D.C. and beyond and the sports’ fan behaviors worldwide proof positive of vile racism and continued ignorant intentional blindness. This is not a legacy anyone should strive to leave. It is time for a change.

Some True History

Here is a glamorized image but representing some true history. This is why “cute” and “lovable” and “honoring” are not true–they are inaccurate, perpetuating stereotypes while demeaning the descendants of those who kept vulnerable human beings alive through basic human decency and generosity. Compare this to yesterday’s Cleveland MLB picture–wrong name, bad caricature still teaching racism.  Cleveland, MLB–you can be so much better. 

 

 food exchange

 

 

LeBron, Welcome Home–Now What?

LeBron, Welcome Home–Now What?

View image on Twitter

When racism directly hit your league you spoke out. Thank you for that. You rather brilliantly controlled the announcement of your return to Ohio. My question for you Mr. James is this: do you really care about racism, in all its forms, in sports? In all sports?

If so, what is your position on the racism in the NFL and in MLB and in all the other arenas in Ohio and all the cities where NBA teams play involving the Native American team identities? Cleveland is your sport’s home as much as Akron is your family’s home and Cleveland has the most racist team in MLB in the country.

The team name while currently commonly accepted does represent a racist and arrogant mistake by a man determined to conquer an entire continent centuries ago, a mistake never really addressed and certainly not corrected. The logo is the modern version of plenty of ugly racist caricatures no longer accepted as legitimate but in Cleveland it is accepted as “cute”–Chief Wahoo. Will you stand up and call out this racist issue? Or do you only care about racism as it affects your own race?

Is racism in all its forms, against all people important enough for you to take a stand?