10.04.2007

Race Matters

A nice piece on ESPN.com today about the flak Donovan McNabb took
earlier this season for observing that black QBs are held to a higher
level of scrutiny than white QBs:
http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=boyd/071004.

Replace
"black" with other ethnicities and "QB" with other professions, and
you get similar dynamics, albeit more often than not in much less
volatile and public settings.

One of the most insightful experiences I have had on the subject of
race in America was a workshop I attended five years ago, in which
white people were asked to comment on what it means to be white, men
on what it means to be male, and straight people on what it means to
be straight. More often than not, the interviewees (myself included)
struggled to say anything meaningful. And that was the point: when
you're in the majority, you never have to think about what that's
like. No one asks you to speak on behalf of your entire group, and no
one assumes that your opinion represents that of your entire group.
In short, there's no pressure, no worries. By that logic alone,
McNabb's observation is correct.

I believe we can deal with the issue of race in America. But we won't
get anywhere in that effort until we are ready to accept that when we
are in the majority, we can take things for granted, ready to
empathize with those who are in the minority, and who must bear the
additional pressure and scrutiny associated with it.

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