I recently watched a Disney film called Glory Road. The movie is about a basketball team (Texas Western) in 1966 that is one of the few teams in the south to have a lot of black people on the team. The team made history when it was the first to play only black players throughout an entire game. During the same game, the team won the NCAA national championship, which also made history. Back then, it was a big deal to have an all-black starting line-up. People considered blacks not intelligent enough to function with the pressures of an NCAA championship. Don Haskins, the couch of the Texas Western team, wanted to prove the nay-sayers wrong; and he did.
Back during the height of racism in the U.S., people of color needed to prove themselves to their white counterparts. They had to prove that they could drink out of the same fountain, ride in the front of the bus, vote, own a business, play in professional sports, and run for elected office. I feel that the time of having to “prove” one’s race or gender has passed. Racism is no longer systematic. In other words, the foundation has been ripped out of our country. In order to fully eliminate systematic racism, our country needs to rid itself of the acknowledgment of race or gender holistically. Within this article, I will go over some of the peeves I have regarding race and gender.
“Insert Your Race Here” History Month
Ideally speaking, we shouldn’t need a month to remember or glorify what a particular race has done. It’s a great way to remember the past, but the “race” should be let go in this case.
Take Black History Month, for example. By putting “black” in front of Black History Month, an entire race is grouped according to a person’s color. All other races that are not of that color are excluded. One of the reasons Black History Month was started in February was because Carter G. Woodson wanted to mark two great influences of the black American population — Frederick Douglas and Abraham Lincoln.
Black History Month shouldn’t be an issue anymore. In fact, any month that seeks to group a race together should be eliminated.
The First Person of a Race and/or Gender…
Did you know that the person who invented the first Farmers’ Almanac was black? Did you know that Ellen Ochoa was the first Hispanic female astronaut? Did you also know that the popular game of Lacrosse was invented by Native Americans?
Who cares if a person of a certain race or gender invented something or was the first to do something? The simple fact is, that person did something and their race or gender shouldn’t overshadow the accomplishment. There was a time when a person of a certain race did something, it was a big deal. Seeing Denzel Washington when his Oscar should have been about how a great actor finally won. Instead, it turned out to be a, “Denzel has paved the way for other men of color to win Oscars.” When Halle Barry won her Oscar, it was the same thing. Why was race important? Why couldn’t the focus have been on each of the actor’s talent?
A year ago I entered into a Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. essay contest. My secretary at work jokingly said, “You’re not going to win. You’re white.”
I corrected her and jokingly replied, “No. I’m white and Hispanic. So I have a chance.”
I won second place. Now was it because I had a Hispanic last name? No. I learned that this year, all the winners of the 2007 contest were white.
So do certain races have a leg up on other races? Does a Mexican-American stand a better chance of landing a job than a White-American? I say, eliminate the stupid questions on an application that ask what a person’s race is. It’s irrelevant. All the “race question” is doing is to give the people at some higher office a reason to say, “You need to hire two more of this race.”
Nobody should care what race a person is, especially on a paper. Quotas should be eliminated. Special privileges should be eliminated. If people want to be treated like everyone else, then they should be treated like everyone else.
A heard a rather crude quote once that said, “Women always say they want to be treated like men. That’s completely false. Women want the same pay as men, but to be treated like a woman.”
Has anybody ever heard of pay-for-performance? Gender should also be eliminated from the employment forms.
I have laid out my peeves regarding race or gender. I understand that most of the solutions to my peeves are unrealistic and are unlikely to happen. But I can dream, can’t I?
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. had a dream once also. I bet he would have agreed with me that race or gender shouldn’t be an issue.