Thursday, November 03, 2005

The Race Card

Rosa Parks died last week. It is almost the fiftieth anniversary of her defiant act, not surrendering her seat to a white man on a bus in Montgomery, AL. I have read a blog this morning, basically saying, "What's the big deal, it was only a seat." And I have heard others – some white conservatives – singing kumbaya, holding hands, and saying that everything is okay; there are no racial issues.

Then I hear about Coach Fisher DeBerry's comments concerning why his Air Force football team sucks. Side note: when ever I say that something sucks, I wonder about sucking the thing that sucks. Not even I would suck a whole football team – guess I will have to devote some time with my shrink on this subject. Crap.

Back to DeBerry. Lots of people thought this was much ado about nothing. Me, I was surprised that Air Force had a football team at all. I had heard about Army and Navy, but I think of those folks as he-men. Air Force reminds me of Larry Hagman on I Dream of Jeannie. He was a wuss. Then I think of what DeBerry said – subtle racism? Perhaps. Lots of people (former black football pros, and ddot) say, "no."

And then some Notre Dame football coach gets a 10-year-deal for getting off to a fast start – they are something like 5 and 2. I had to look up the coach's name – Charlie Weis. The last coach Notre Dame had was Tyrone Willingham – a black coach that was fired before his contract was up. Now I am paraphrasing from memory because I have already had to look up two names – Larry Hagman and Charlie Weiss, and I don't want this blog to be real work. So the rest of this is from what I had heard on the way to work the other day. Lots of people – well, some people – think it's racism because Tyrone Willingham started out 8 and 0 (8 wins, no losses) and he was not given an extension. Then a white coach starts out worse, and he is given an extension. I heard some black columnist on – forgive me, but I don’t know his name – it is sports, after all, and I don't follow sports. Anyway, this columnist admits that Weis is probably a better coach, but doesn't think he should have been given an extension so early.

Here is where I think a subtle form of racism may have crept in – Tyrone Willingham was let go early, and the previous football coach was allowed to finish out his contract. The Georgia Bulldogs are king around here, and I am not sure if people would be happy with 5 and 2. Heck, some would want the coach's head at 5 and 2. Doesn't bother me either way, as I am sort of an anti-Georgia fan. I like Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets are not anywhere as good as the Bulldogs, but pulling for Georgia if you have no real ties to the school is akin to pulling for Antonio Banderas to get laid. What is the point.

Guess I am thinking that after all of this time, things have improved with race relations – but they are not there yet. In sports, they are a lot better, but they are not fully there. I would think that few teams would not draft a player because of their race – and, sadly, that was not always the case.

Rosa Parks, rest in peace. Thanks for doing more than your fair share!

16 comments:

Mystic Knight said...

"Air Force reminds me of Larry Hagman on I Dream of Jeannie. He was a wuss."

Hey now, I retired from the Air Force and I don't feel like a wuss. Besides, I never got a Jeanie that entire time. Barbara Eden was every boys fantasy growing up I think.

What does this have to do with football and racism? Well, nothing, I just wanted to comment about the Air Force and "Dream of Jeanie". ;)

Mark said...

Well, I think the reason Air Force, Army, and Navy suck at football is that people don't go there to become NFL stars, but to become officers. One can debate all day about race in athletics, but I don't think that was AF's problem. They just can't recruit top players like the other schools. As for Notre Dame, since I despise that team, I keep hoping that they will have a losing record every year. Willingham may have been let go early due to subtle racism, but he probably wasn't Catholic, either. Weiss used to play for Notre Dame, so you know he's a good Catholic boy.

Mark said...

As for Rosa Parks -- she had more courage and dignity in her big toe than the current crop of politicians in Washington put together. I recall going to the South when I was about 8 years old and seeing signs that said "For Whites Only" -- I had no idea what that meant, wondering why someone would only wash white clothes there.

Leesa said...

Mystic Knight: not meaning to offend, but I don't know much about the AF. Look at the popular media - the Marines always have a macho image, the Navy had "Top Gun", "NCIS", and the like. And this morning, all I could think of for the Air Force was the one TV show. I have been told by a coworker that for the last several years, the Air Force has beaten both Army and Navy.

Leesa said...

From 1989 to 2002, the Navy has won the Commander in Chief's Trophy every year but one (1996).

Mark said...

yeah, but have they played teams like Michigan or Georgia?

Slut Betty said...

This is how I feel no matter your race or anything... people are people simple... but how we live our lives (to some degree) in influenced on how we are raised (that includes all our surroundings)... racism will not go away as long as we continue to have lables like "minority groups" and stuff... that just don't help... either we are all Canadians/Americans/whatever country we live in... or we are not? Maybe I'm just ignorant on the matter *shutting up now*

Ddot the King said...

Great post Leesa. Tyrone Willingham is a great coach. Charlie Weiss is also a great coach. If Weiss can fool Notre Dame into giving him what amounts to about 30 million dollars in guaranteed money then I'm happy for him. Tyrone didn't ask for an extension or a new deal in my opinion because it was a classic case of "just happy to be here". I'll have to look it up to be sure but I'm almost positive that there are less than 5 black coaches in all of college football. That's just sad. I could go on but I'll chill. hey I couldn't turn this into some sexual comment?! I'm losing it Leesa! :)

Mark said...

ddot -- somehow sex and Charlie Weiss should NOT be in the same paragraph!

Video X said...

"Air Force reminds me of Larry Hagman on I Dream of Jeannie. He was a wuss." -- wow! ha! that is so true. that dude was such a wuss.

i agree with this completely...not there yet. i'm not one to really stand up for much of anything...i just dont have the attention span. but i do think that a lot of things are so obviously still about race. on the other hand, it's improving. for example...it's a lot more accepted now to see mixed couples...whereas had i done that i would have been SHOT in the head (quickly) by my family. that's a shitty example compared to yours, but that's what came to my mind about improving anyway. and i'm terrible at relaying facts of any kind concerning political issues.

~Deb said...

I really think when it comes to pro-football or anything that has to do with professional sports- and / or other careers, people have to tip-toe around the fear of being a racist.

We have companies and 'professional teams' hiring due to a certain amount of a particular race---so that they don't look like a bunch of racists. Shouldn't they be hired due to their qualifications?

This also happens with the fire departments, police force and other areas.

The race card is pulled out from "everyone". It's still there, and still underlying people's decisions and judgments. It's sad. I wish it could just ~go away~, but the truth is, I don't think it will.

Your post was very thought provoking.

kathi said...

I enjoy you very much.
I find myself thinking that we've come so far, till I find racism staring me in the face. I guess I'm naive, but it always kind of surpirses me. It's such a big (wide spread) problem that I think the only way we can change things is to expose it where we find it. We've hidden it under the closest rock for too long.
Thanks for such a great post, Leesa.

ken said...

always a sensitive subject for a white man to write of...i am blessed to have been raised to respect all people until they prove unworthy of respect..NEVER any racism, sexism, homophobia or any other detrimental perceptions while maturing.
sports is an anomaly...i remember when i was 23, hired by a company, physical, beginning the next day, this was1980, only to receive a call from the human resource director explaining that the federal government had just left requiring them to hire 7 minorities before any other caucasians were hired...8 months later, i was hired...i mention this because inequity abounds EVERYWHERE....

only in sports do you have an imbalance of race...basketball overwhelmingly african american, baseball and football also heavily heading the same way...i have no problem with that as it is easy to acknowledge that the african american athletes are far superior in skill levels..what i do have a problem with is why the govt wants to intrude in almost EVERY business, small or large, play the affirmitive action card, yet in sports, ignores the reverse discrimination....i am one who firmly beleives in equal treatment...hirings should come from MERIT, ABILITIES,, ATTITUDES, not from race...not today...

unlike entertainment, which is a venture business, sports is a regulated business...simply not right....ddot, you are an amazing man, repect your views, LOVE your posts, daily reads, agree about the idiots at notre dame, yet i dont agree with hiring because of race....women are much more maligned and discriminated against in todays american society...

rosa parks, an american hero...as are many who never received notice, as they were not self-serving or high profile...we do owe much to many who were abused, and withstood the barriers against them...unlike those who strive to MAKE heroes of themselves...always in the public eye, ever creating strife rather than empoerment or equipping to overcome....

there is nothing kind or comfortable chatting of racism, or sexism.....we will always have ignorant bigots of all races, those who CHOOSE to hate..while most of respect and admire each other....for this southern man, i see the real concern being this generation consisting mainly of lazy, unmotivated, self-consumed, drive through mentality young people...where is the drive, ambition, self-respect...of course this is a general statement, but anyone with a business understands the dilemma of finding motivated people with an interest in learning.....

wow..did i ever ramble...peace to all!

Leesa said...

ddot: Actually, about Weiss. I think because he had pro football interest, his stock rose. Willingham seems to be my kind of coach – but for me, winning is not the most important thing. From what I heard about him at Stanford (?), he really had student athletes. Would be great if he could turn around Washington. Yeah, I could not make it sexual, either. If Oregon State were involved, though. Their mascot if the beavers.

mark: ew. A bad thought just entered my head.

vid x: I see lots more "mixed" couples in Georgia. They used to be scorned, and now they seem more accepted. My guess is that if you had a cup of coffee with the wife of a mixed couple, she could tell you stories of intolerance.  sexist comment, but hey, the wife (regardless of the color) is more willing to chat, right?

deb: you mention hiring because of racial balance. That is an interesting issue. I have noticed that when teams are more racial diverse, they accomplish greater things. Is that because of their diverse backgrounds, being able to draw on different life experiences? Maybe. I don't know what the answer should be.

ken: not sure you meant to seem to say that Rosa Parks was self-serving. She did not appear to be from my point-of-view. She co-wrote three books about her experiences.

Actually, Affirmative Action does not apply to most small businesses. So if you have fewer than 15 employees, you are exempted from the law. You think to yourself, how many small businesses have fewer than 15 employees, and the answer is "most of them."

We are, to a great extent, a product of our environment, and because Affirmative Action did not work in your favor, I can see where you would be jaded.

ken said...

NOOOOOO...just the opposite..rosa parks is my idea of a true american hero..selfLESS..i was referring to her and others as those who were NOT self-serving or high profile.....along with those who visit the elderly, take care of the helpless.....we can all give a little more than mere money....thanks for the opp to share....this is my daily read!!!

nosthegametoo said...

Very good post. I like this blog... I'll have to come back and visit more often