I wish I could simply watch without grinding my teeth.

Last night, I watched a rerun of the 2019 ESPY awards. As usual, there were some really inspirational stories: Jim Calhoun (married 53 years? What a fossil), Bill Russell winning the Arthur Ashe award for courage, Marine Sgt. Kirstie Ennis, who lost a leg to an IED, winning the Pat Tillman award for service, and the most inspirational of all, Rob Mendez, born with no arms or legs, winning the Jimmy V award for perseverance (imagine him becoming a football coach). Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, often thought of as unemotional, wiping tears away, at the stories of overcoming, and the words of Sgt. Ennis, “I am one of the lucky ones who came home. Broken, but I’m still here, and I still can. So I will continue every day for those who can’t. Let this be my message tonight. To the athletes in this room, to people in the military brotherhood and to everyone out there watching, rest a moment less, endure a fraction more and try to make peace with whatever your pain may be,” said Ennis to a standing ovation.

Mostly, the presenters were appropriate, like Russell Wilson and Ciara presenting to Rob Mendez, but one was not only inappropriate, so were his comments. Usher (?) presented the Pat Tillman Award for Service to Marine Corps veteran and amputee Kirstie Ennis. However, following an inspiring and empowering video about Ennis’ remarkable recovery after losing her leg in 2012 on her second Afghanistan deployment, and her many amazing triumphs and accomplishments since, Usher couldn’t seem to resist a gratuitous and tone deaf joke at the wrong time. “And if that wasn’t enough, you guys don’t know, she also, too, climbed in Joshua tree, naked,” Usher said to a quiet room. He added, “She deserves an award for that, alone. Tattoos, crazy,” before introducing Ennis and welcoming her to the stage. Viewers were not down with Usher’s comment, especially the women. One example: “Hey usher, probably don’t make weird sexual comment about the Marine Vet who lost her leg and just had a whole inspirational video about her. Just a thought.” Jared Goff and Patrick Mahomes represented their teams in accepting the award for best game, and Goff demonstrated the spirit of leadership by extolling the firefighters of Los Angeles who battled the huge fires, and having them stand, in their uniforms, to a standing ovation. He introduced them by saying, “You don’t want to hear about me, let me introduce you to the real heroes.”

My title does not refer to Usher, or to any of the awards, presenters or inspirational stories. I shed tears over Sgt. Ennis’ words and Rob Mendez giving the glory to Jesus Christ. No, what I ground my teeth over is someone I have written a couple of posts about, who is a great athlete, and like Sgt. Ennis, is female and wore a uniform representing our country, but that’s where the similarities end. She wasn’t getting an award, but the whole US Women’s National soccer team was called up on stage. A leader inspires, like Ennis and Mendez, a leader lifts others, like Goff did. I suppose you could say that Megan Rapinoe inspires, in a way. Elle Magazine featured a piece about her in which the writer was inspired to follow her example and become a “hot dyke”, in her words. Megan (no, I don’t know her but she has not earned respect in my book to refer to her as most would, Ms. Rapinoe) wore a uniform representing our country, while cursing the president and the White House, and saying she will never again say the pledge or sing the National anthem. She rode in the victory parade, telling the cameras, “I deserve this trophy.” What was her contribution to the ESPY show? “I’ve F-bombed every stage I’ve been on for weeks, so I’ll spare you this time.” Thank you for small favors, as I ground my teeth out of joint.

On a night of leadership and inspiration, with one embarrassing gaffe that evoked stone-faced reactions, she could have and should have kept her mouth shut. She was not a presenter or a nominee nor did she win award. She was not asked to speak, and the only other member of the team who spoke for the team did win an award (as best female athlete), Alex Morgan, who thanked people then shut up. Megan didn’t have to say anything, least of all remind the worldwide audience of possibly millions, of her dirty mouth and prideful attitude. I hope to never see her on any stage or field representing our country. Jesus said, and I paraphrase, “out of the fullness of the heart, the mouth speaks.” Now, it’s off to the dentist for me to fix my TMJ misalignment.

Racists under every bed, and a chicken in every pot.

Engine 55

October 5, 2017, Robert Pattinson, a new firefighter candidate in Detroit, was terminated for cause. The cause is below, along with the brief from his attorneys in his wrongful termination suit, in the bullet points.

  • Plaintiff was counseled that it is customary practice within the Detroit Fire Department for a firefighter, upon assignment to a new station, to bring a gift for his or her fellow firefighters. The usual gift is doughnuts.
  • In an effort to provide a healthful and economical alternative to doughnuts, Plaintiff, on or about September 30, 2017, brought the firefighters stationed at Engine 55 a watermelon as his customary gift.
  • Plaintiff harbored no racial animus, discriminatory purpose, or any other negative intention in giving the watermelon as a gift. Plaintiff was not on duty and not acting in the course of his employment when he brought his gift to Engine 55.
  • Plaintiff was discharged by Defendant Detroit Fire Department on or about October 5, 2017 with the explanation of: “Unsatisfactory Work Behavior – Offensive conduct of a discriminatory nature. The “offensive conduct of a discriminatory nature” was, apparently and preposterously, Plaintiff’s act of bringing a watermelon to Engine 55.
  • Plaintiff is a white man. Engine 55, at the time of Plaintiff’s termination, was comprised of 90% black firefighters. Black firefighters who engaged in offensive conduct related to race were not subjected to immediate termination. Defendants’ decision to terminate Plaintiff was dominated by the fact that Plaintiff was Caucasian.

It should be noted that, according to informal surveys on a firefighter website and the channel Fox 2 Facebook page, a majority of white firefighters supported the firing and a majority of black employees, including those of Engine 55, were against it, and wanted him to be rehired, and the “defendants were white. The following are some of the unsolicited comments by local black people:

Tadarius Spearman, on a social media post, stuck up for Pattinson including a group photo of him with other African-American firefighters. “Just want to let everyone know he’s a real amazing dude and it was all good intentions,” he wrote. “And our entire class (is) supporting him in this. Especially us African-Americans and that’s all that needs to be said. Stay up brother.” #DFD. “This brother is a really good person,” said a LaVaughn DeAngelo Williams on the Fox 2 Facebook page. “There was no malice in his intent. He is a health nut, who believes that everyone should take care of their bodies and nourishment. I would only suggest getting to know him before throwing out a comment with no basis of knowledge of the individual. We are proud of him, and he is a brother to us regardless of color.” “I’m black and I didn’t see anything wrong with him bringing a [watermelon] to the job,” a Tanesha Michelle Hill posted. “Some people blow the smallest thing up for no reason. Give that man his job back. He have my support 100%.”

I deliberately included the phrase “chicken in every pot” in my headline. Did you immediately think “racist”? It refers to a promise first stated by Henry IV of France as, “I want there to be no peasant so poor as to not have a chicken in their pot every Sunday,” and later in the United States during the Hoover campaign for president as part of an ad which stated “a chicken in every pot and a car in every garage.” Prosperity, in other words, not race. Racial hypersensitivity is promoted and kept alive primarily by two groups: virtue desiring whites (like those white firefighters who agreed with the firing) and black grievance hustlers whose fame and living comes from widening the racial divide.

Let’s get precise. Racism is a charge that is so subjective as to render it meaningless. Most of the people who fling the word around couldn’t even define it accurately. So I will. Racism can be either racial animosity, which Muhammad Ali defined as “hating people for the color of their skin”, or racial vainglory, which is promoting the idea that “your own skin hue is superior to others.” That’s it. The word “racism”, or the charge “racist” are inaccurate per se, it’s either animosity or vainglory or both. Most of the time, it’s animosity. The charge racist is a convenient shortcut to invalidate someone or their arguments, and explains nothing.

Get this: The Bible says that ALL human beings, regardless of skin tone, are “ONE BLOOD”, that is, descended from Adam and Eve. If you don’t believe that, you have NO absolute basis for racial reconciliation, nor rejecting racial animosity, or racial vainglory! That leaves only your feelings or your preferences as a basis. If you don’t believe the Bible, is your opinion about race any more valid than anyone else’s opinion? Are the sources of your opinions any better than theirs?

You probably want to know how I personally apply Biblical truth, so I will be brutally honest about my thoughts about and dealings with people of color. A little background. I was born and raised in Philadelphia, and heavily influenced by my parents and my dad’s parents. The latter were almost pariahs in their neighborhood because they were so welcoming and kind to black people moving in. My father’s favorite story about my grandmother was the time a crowd gathered beneath her bedroom window, chanting “nigger lover” over and over. Her response was to take her kettle of boiledwater and pour it on the crowd. I never heard my parents utter a racial epithet, and they made it clear they would not tolerate any of their children ever doing so. My father owned a gift shop in a 99% black neighborhood. On the single occasion when a black teenager stole something, his neighbor dragged him back in the store and berated him in front of my father, saying, “this man has always treated us right, how dare you steal from him.” That was in 1959, when the entire neighborhood looked out for each other’s kids. The predominantly white merchants had no more problem with black teens than whites. Most of the people I knew judged each other as individuals, rather than groups…before the dawn of racial grievance hustlers. Race relations and family relations are way worse now than 60 years ago. Why?

So what do I believe, in addition to what the Bible says? Perhaps the biggest test of racial attitude is, “how would I feel about one of my daughters marrying a black man?” I told my oldest daughter, “I would rather you married David Robinson or a man like him, than a non-Christian white man.” Another acid test, so to speak is “would I have dated a black woman?” Yes and no. If she looked like Gabrielle Union (Wade) or Candace Parker or Skylar Diggins, then yes, if she looked like Venus Williams or Oprah, then no. Is that racist? I don’t know, I just know what I like. What do you think about Lindsey Vonn? She’s a beautiful blond super athlete who dated Tiger Woods and now P.K. Subban, a black professional hockey player, who I think is really ugly (I wouldn’t date him). Does he bear racial animosity against his own race for dating a white woman? Or racial vainglory? Does she have a thing for black athletes? Who is most hostile about that mixed couple, white guys, black guys, white women or black women? I bet you could make a case for each: white men being hostile towards her for dating him; black men and women towards him for dating a white woman; white women hostile towards her for dating out of her race; black women hostile towards her for “stealing” him. I haven’t even mentioned all the other combinations.

Without Biblical truth it’s all subjective, therefore it’s all bunk. Accusing someone of racism is the lazy way of invalidating them and their agenda, and the mark of a shallow thinker. If you don’t believe the Bible, that’s your right, but what is YOUR basis for racial harmony and understanding? I hope it’s more than feelings.