Let's All Play Ball
I have a good buddy who's a huge baseball fan. A real purist. He loves the game for the love of the game.
Back in the early 1980's, when free agency was becoming a thing, and the players' union and the league were constantly fighting, and players were leaving teams for more money and longer contracts, he was furious. He hated the unions and the players and the agents for ruining "the game" for the fans and for turning it into "a business."
"Buddy (not his real name)," I told him. "The game has always been a business. The owners have always known that. The players are just starting to realize it and they want their share of the business, too."
My friend thought about that and said, "I know. But I still like to pretend it's just a game."
That's sort of the way I think it is with race and racism. People who aren't subjected to it don't think it's real. Or, even if they recognize that it exists, they'd rather pretend that it doesn't. That helps them feel secure. And the more they are reminded that it does exist, the more uncomfortable they get that their safe, secure view of the world is being challenged and, ultimately, may change.
But like the issue of dividing revenues in baseball, the balance is changing. More and more people are calling attention to racism and more people are willing to recognize it exists.
Does that mean, like in baseball, years of conflict and disruption are inevitable? No. It doesn't have to. What it means is honest conversation. Listening to each other. Give and take. Trying to understand how other people think and react to what we say and do and having mutual respect for each other. Treating others the way we want to be treated. You know: The Golden Rule.
Baseball learned that there was enough for everyone to share and that if the players and owners agreed that they were in this together they could all prosper. And so they have.
We can all do the same.