Sunday, January 18, 2015

The 12th Man On MLK Day

Hard to sit down and compose a Martin Luther King Day blog after watching the end of Sunday’s Seattle Seahawk game. The 12th Man/Woman in houses up and down the neighborhood street yelled himself/herself hoarse. I hope they yell as hard for justice on Monday but race, civil rights, equal opportunity, domestic abuse, gender equality aren’t as simple as a football game, regardless of how much some people might think of sports as a metaphor for life.

The football league is sponsoring 30-second public service announcements featuring football players who are shown having a hard time talking about domestic violence and sexual assault. I’m not sure who those messages are addressed to. I don’t have any difficulty talking about domestic violence and sexual abuse: I can look directly into a camera and say unequivocally that domestic violence and sexual assault are wrong and that anyone who behaves that way or condones that behavior is a creep, period.

Can we do the same for race and gender? Look directly into the camera and say, unequivocally, that discrimination in employment, housing, policing, health care, education is wrong? That it doesn’t matter what you might think or feel, but anyone who behaves that way or condone that kind of behavior is a creep, period?

Is “creep” too mild? What would you call them?

Yes, I know: behavior like that is against the law. But laws are sand, custom is rock. Unless custom changes, the creeps continue to behave, well, like creeps. As long as someone feels like they have power over another, they will not stand as equals and the opportunity to be a creep continues.

If all you want to do is educate, make more 30-second public service annoucements? I think it’s better to start right now by calling out the creeps, as hard and dangerous as it is, and to talk and keep talking about equal justice for all. Louder. We might even change some behavior and that would make Dr. King happy.

Ready to yell for justice, 12th Man, 12th Woman?

--Mike Sato

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