Will You Open The Conversation?

Say YES!  Talk about racism. Everyone knows a bit about sports,  every person you meet today will know something, be it local or national or global about sports. Open The Conversation.

You can do it! 

You can do it! 

You CAN Open The Conversation! 

You CAN Open The Conversation

This can be the most empowering and life affirming thing you will do today. Certainly it is different, it could be making you nervous to even consider talking about racism in sports teams' identities--or in the latest pseudo-psych speak it might be  "anxiety inducing"--AND it just might open an entire new world to you and each person you engage in conversation, speak with, video with, write to or IM with. 

You may ask why I believe this. Legitimate question. Here is the real world answer: I have lived it and know that having meaning in life matters. Challenging something as insidious as racism in team identities IS worthwhile. When done well it can be fun. It is absolutely never boring. 

I have brought up the subject of racism in sports teams' identities--best spoken slowly so others can get their heads around what you are saying--to literally hundreds of people both individually and in groups so I do have real world experience in the subject. From this experience I have learned a few things, first and foremost, people do care, if approached nicely.  To Open The Conversation remember that examples help, so does friendliness and always be sure to add in the occasional question.  People get interested when it involves them, their families, communities and friends. Sports and teams involve everyone, somehow. You can ask how everyone feels when their team is winning. Questions are great to Open The Conversation

Respectful and happy questions help. 

Respectful and happy questions help. 

Examples can anchor the conversation: the "R" team name tied to Washington D.C. NFL team, the Cleveland, Ohio MLB team, local school teams with indigenous and Native American identities are signifcant since they promote and teach racism to children, national teams and leagues business sponsors profit from racism impact us all--especially true given many leagues' business structures and contracts for game broadcasts, and any current news headlines on the topic. linking the teams, leagues and schools to American communitites and businesses still teaches and supports racism--and does get people's attention. These are all true even if many people are not yet aware of the facts. Truth is very difficult to argue with or dismiss. So be gentle and kind since again, in my experience, most people do not understand the entire situation. I think that everyone generally does the best they can in life given what they know at any given time and what they think they can do. Don't you do this in your own life? When you Open The Conversation you are giving someone powerful new ideas by asking them truly important questions. Keep it simple Basically you can ask around the toipic of racist team identities: 

Now the conversation is started. Easy wasn't it? Think about some answers, for the past, for presenting today's reality and for how we can move forward into a better tomorrow since we absolutely cannot change yesterday. By moving for change we can make today good since status quo is status not good and soemtimes status truly bad. No one wants this, not really.

 Kindly and positively wrap up the ideas you exchange, always politely and calmly--anger and hostility will defeat  so if the person you are reaching out to gets angry or hostile stay calm, be polite and just maybe you will reach....

A lightbulb moment

A lightbulb moment

In the 21st century we can do and be better. Say so. Tell others. Inspire. It is the truth, right? We can absolutely come up with team names that are not racially linked in any way. This is important since people have been and are today still killing each other over identity. We do NOT want to or need to continue teaching racism through team identities. This is a very simple ask, a very positive idea. It is easy to share. We can take one step forward. Together. When you Open The Conversation the person you are conversing with knows automatically that they are not alone. We can all do and be better. One person at a time. I have Started The Conversation here, for all of us, again and today. Will you OPEN The Conversation in your life, today?  Then you can take and suggest next steps......

Talk matters. Be in and around your world. Today.

Talk matters. Be in and around your world. Today.

Your next step in your new conversation is to simply suggest any of several of actions:

  • Share links to this website  www.RacismIsNotAGame.com  and others dealing with the issues,
  • ask the person in the conversation if they would like to be involved in efforts to change team names,
  • ask them to share the conversation with others and
  • certainly ask them to consider not buying fan merchandise from the leagues or teams.

You can stop at one ask, share possibilities and even brainstorm with them if they are really excited and interested. They can support their favorite teams through:

  • buying clothes with team colors but not logos
  • not buying sponsored merchandise from the leagues, 
  • using homemade signs to support their teams, without the racist images,
  • use social media to point out the racist team identities,
  • write letters, organize letter writing groups, challenge local schools using racist team identities be they indigenous or Native American in origin

There is always something anyone you are talking with can do...even sharing your conversation is a start. They too can Open The Conversation. The vast majority of people are not racist. You are giving them a chance to show their world, their friends, loved ones and community this truth: they are good people. Most people are willing to consider next steps. I speak from experience. You can too, if you.......Open The Conversation

Massachusetts State Seal is Racist

The State Seal of Massachusetts has been linked to the Confederate Flag publicly--finally.  It only takes a look at the image to understand:

Now, in the age of questions over police behavior towards people of color, specifically people who are not perceived as white/caucasian, and incarceration of non-caucasisions at rates far in excess of caucasian people due to laws written in less than equitable terms the seal of the Massaschusetts State Police is chilling: 

Ma State police.jpg

The question the images raise is simple: What is the arm with the sword held in a ready to strike pose over the entire body of the Native American representing? Additionally it can be legitimately asked: What does the downward pointing arrow disengaged from the bow held by the Native American represent? We often say that a picture is worth a thousand words. I add that these images, presented throughout the State of Masachusetts, in offices and courts, viewed daily by thousands, and online, able to be viewed by millions if not billions should they chose to do so, perpetuates racism both consciously and unconsciously. It is wrong and it needs to be changed. 

Personally I am happy to see the discussion opened. When I first came to Massachusetts years ago the image troubled me. As I have learned more over time, as our society's understanding of the imact of imagery on society, communities and individuals has grown, including through research involving actual brain scan studies  I have found the silence of individuals and society around this issue absolutely unacceptable. Where are our leaders and why are they silent? The politicians, major sports league commissioners, players and their formal organizations, team owners--of all major sports teams, male and female and in all sports-- corporate leaders, media of all kinds and at all levels, from corporate to individual cerlebrity, and finally but perhaps most importantly our spiritual and religious leaders rarely even identify this issue. Why? They cannot claim they are unaware of the topic. I personally have reached out to many, as I have sometimes detailed in this site. The demonstrations around the Washington D.C. NFL team identity and the Cleveland MLB team identity receive national media attention. The NBA removed a team from an owner over his personal racism, a drama which played out worldwide, for months. Yet the racism persists, the silence  both endures and endorses. It is time to open the discussion, being making the needed changes--today.

 With a small population of approximately 3 million pure ancestry Native Americans and Native Americans with ancestry mixing other races of approximately 5 million and with all but overwhelming issues facing them, from resource management to education to health care to employment this is not an issue only for Native American to address. The racism in sports teams' identities is an issue for all Americans. What are we teaching our children? What are we shwoing to the world through this silence, through our symbolic and team identity racism? Our personal integrity is called into question by our willful silence. Our national integrity is challenged by tribal and indigenous peoples worldwide--legitimately. 

The history of the United States of America is inextricably intertwined with the historic and current realitites of all Native Americans. Silence is not acceptable. Silence condones. Do not be silent. 

Thank You California and Gov. Brown, Thank you Philadelphia

It may be true that most people like progress while individually resisting change yet California once again leads the nation in doing change right. Gov. Jerry Brown has signed into law a bill which has banned the use of the "R" word in identifying California's school teams. 

In other states various cities have taken other approaches in dealing with the NFL Washington D.C. team name. It is possible to confront racism quietly and keep everyone comfortable. It is also time to be honest, to identify the one arena where America still endorses, supports, teaches and often profits from racism: Sports teams' identities when the team is identified as part of a Native American stereotype but not owned by a Native American tribe.

NFL are you paying attention? 

The blunt truth is that America, as a country, and each and every American as individuals, can and must do and be better than the racism perpetuated in our sports teams' identities. Across the world people are killing each other over identity issues daily. Sometimes Americans are caught up in the violence.  Americans have killed other Americans very recently over identity issues. To state the obvious: Racism is dangerous. This last safe refuge of racism, sports team identities must be recognized and it must be changed. There is no reason not to do the right thing. Any objection can be met with logic and even business analysis if need be. Finally, will the billionaire team owners, the leagues and their players step up and take the real leadership their postions give them or will they continue to buckle to social pressures among their peers? 

Change the Names, change the Mascots.

Facing Racism Against Indigenous Peoples in America

What is the foundation of society? Once people have come together in a group and share a given physical space the social interactions will be endless conflict unless shared values develop. Those shared values in the 21st century are based within spiritual, cultural and national identities but the strongest worldwide, to date, are the spiritual beliefs. We are still, we human beings, fighting wars and killing each other over our spiritual and religious beliefs. It is time to move beyond this and perhaps the best efforts will be showcased by Pope Francis when he speaks at the U.S. Congress and to the United Nations. He is carrying words and ideas in the face of weapons and death. 

What might be the greatest thing the Pope can do on this visit? It depends upon what area of life interests you, kind reader, the most. But, as a Roman Catholic I would like to see His Holiness right one of the greatest historic wrongs the Church has ever committed: rescind or renounce or formally relegate to the permanently inactive file of history the Papal Bull which is now known as the Doctrine of Discovery. The history and positions taken by the Unitarian Universalist Association, the Quakers and others are good and realistic examples and for once the Roman Catholic Church can follow rather than lead. Humility comes in many forms and it always contains the ability to take ownership when one has been wrong, transparently and with accountability. 

Coming To a Stadium Near You?

The MLB is still playing, with racist team identities. Is YOUR city, town, region profitting from racism? A new Facebook page is up on this topic.  

Now the NFL season is soon starting, preseason is already underway. Check out the schedule here and the FCC has already declared the Washington D.C. team name racist. Comment here at RING or here on Facebook

What will you do about racism in sports team identities TODAY?


Connecting Dots to Stop the Killings

Do sports teams support racist murderers? Before you dismiss this possibility out of hand take a moment, pause and think: Where might a racist look for encouragement and support for his/her/their beliefs?

Certainly many racists can find direct support among their friends, neighbors and family members who share their beliefs, sometimes the same people who taught them to be racist initially. Racism is not natural, it is a learned attitude, one that must be intentionally taught, actually learned.  

A beautiful song in the musical South Pacific has the best description of the teaching:

Racism is taught. Here is one simple example found online with a simple search. It is outright propaganda and has nothing to do with facts, truth or accuracy. : 

Wrong but a sophisticated design. Intentional teaching of racism--truth is not relevant. 

Wrong but a sophisticated design. Intentional teaching of racism--truth is not relevant. 

The  local racists and small groups look beyond themselves for validity as well. it is far easier to show someone you know that others support your position than to find support for your position on your own when it your belief is something extreme and fundamentally wrong. The human mind is built for questions. In life we seek answers. When real answers are not possible then social pressure and the idea that "others agree" can be a convenient answer to any legitimate question. 


What happens if someone starts deeply questioning the assumptions in a racist group? Often in these circumstances those deeply inside the group will bring in outside "evidence" to support the racist positions being held up as "right and true." In yesterday's horrific murders at the Emmanuel AME church prayer meeting and Bible study in South Carolina the alleged shooter has been identified as racist. A picture of him in social media shows him wearing two flags, one of South Africa while it was still an apartheid country and another of the unrecognized state of Rhodesia in Africa which which the United Nations condemned as an "illegal minority racist regime" during the years it "existed", 1965-1979. Along with showing loyalty and publicizing the racism of both regimes the alleged shooter himself could find support for his beliefs.  If entire nations could endorse and promote alleged shooter 21 year old Dylan Roof's belief in racial supremacy he could then feel justified, supported and empowered to act. Thankfully those governments are no longer in place. We cannot assume those who accepted those teachings have changed their views.

As always silence endorses. It is time for everyone, white people included, to step up and challenge the sports teams promoting racism. They give support to all racists, everywhere. The reasons are simple the  racists now look for support outside their own circles. Where?  I suggest people who believe in racist falsehoods will look for other prominent racial identities in the world and examine underlying realities: Who profits? Who is making the decisions? How popular or unpopular are the decisions? Which groups support or oppose the decisions? If white people are profiting from racist images, if white people are making the decisions to continue racist images/identities and if white people are supporting the continued racism of the images with only protests coming from groups and individuals of color then the white racist can see support for their own racism. This will be true even if the white decision makers claim that the images/identities are "not racist but traditional" or use any other justification to continue the use of the racist image/identity. 

In the USofA major sports leagues must consider that their race based team identities are part of the problem, not part of the solution. While no major organization or corporation or legislative body can control actions of determined extremists or unstable individuals they can either support or refute extremist ideologies through their decisions and actions.   The world is watching. The continued use of race based team identities must be examined and stopped. 

Change Happens Slowly & Sometimes

"After viewing it several times, this court is still thunderstruck by how quickly this event turned deadly," stated Cleveland, Ohio Municipal Court Judge Adrine in his opinion on Thursday, June 11, 2015 reviewing the video from inside the police car of the officers involved in the shooting death of Tamir Rice. Judge Adrine issued a ruling finding probable cause for indictments on murder, involuntary manslaughter, reckless homicide, negligent homicide and dereliction of duty charges against Cleveland Police Officer Timothy Loehman and indictments of negligent homicide and  dereliction of duty charges against Cleveland Police Officer Frank Garmback in the death of 12 year old Tamir Rice. Judge Adrine did not find probable cause for charges of aggravated murder against either officer. 

                                                                                                     Do they Protect and Serve? 

                                                                                                     Do they Protect and Serve? 

The case is now in front of the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy McGinty with the Judge's ruling adding pressure upon him for indictments on the named charges. This is CHANGE. It is slow, with tiny steps and uncertain outcomes. It must not be sen to be enough, nor must the pressure stop. Racism leads to violence and needless death everywhere but with a MLB sports team showing a racist identity and mascot in front of home town fans, city leaders, the entire police force and legal system daily is it any surprise that the racists in Northeastern Ohio feel they have the support of the entire community leadership? The support may be subtle, sometimes barely a wink and a nod but the team is sending out a silent message of approval to all those racists who cling to their discredited, false and horrible beliefs. 

                                                                                                     Slow Justice is NOT Justice

                                                                                                     Slow Justice is NOT Justice

Will justice prevail in Cleveland? Time will tell. but until the team changes the city and the team carry support for racism and racist beliefs into the world, into the stadiums wherever they play and on any screen they reach. It is time for REAL change--a new team name, a new team mascot. Cleveland, Ohio--you can and must do and be better. 

                                                                                                    Cleveland, You can do this!

                                                                                                    Cleveland, You can do this!

Cleveland and MLB start HERE

Cleveland and MLB start HERE

Hope with Change

Creative solutions in longstanding racial issues are needed. The American modern judicial system and policing practices are increasingly in the news. The focus on shootings by police of people of color has drawn worldwide attention as have the incarceration statistics showing at a minimum that in the 30% of the American population made up by people of color there are found 60% of current prison populations. Native Americans are seldom singled out in statistics beyond the suicide rate and victim of crime figures. These numbers are worse than among any other American population.  http://www.justice.gov/sites/default/files/otj/docs/american_indians_and_crime.pdf


There is hope in the efforts of those addressing the violence against youth of color and working with the Black Lives Matter coalitions as well as those lawyers and judges willing to use every tool available to them creatively confront the problem of modern 21st century American racism. It is impossible to know what will work, what might work best in one situation and possibly cause highly negative unexpected consequences in others. Life is not a once size fits all. As this is written the actions of the people in Ohio to requesting a Cleveland Municipal Judge to issue arrest warrants for Cleveland police Officers Frank Garmback and Timothy Loehmann in the shooting death of 12 year old Tamir Rice.

The tragedy of Tamir Rice’s death in Cleveland, Ohio can, if the men and women in positions of responsibility in Cleveland and nationwide face the horror fully, find their courage to look at the sorrow of this needless death and choose, finally, the path of change. It is time for everyone to do the right thing, move the police, the community, the city and the country, each and every one of us forward into change.  Change is always a challenge but the degree of this challenge is vastly overrated. When good, strong and loving people are determined and caring the past has clearly shown we are capable of incredible, amazing and very powerful actions. Our children deserve our courage and our determination. It is time to confront racism in all its forms, it is time to change and it can begin in you, in Cleveland, today. 

No More Racism in Sports in Cleveland MLB

No More Racism in Sports in Cleveland MLB

Media Responsibility: Satire, Humor & Choices

Adam Sandler is a comic known for pushing the envelope. Around the world with humor and satire others do too, sometimes to great results, sometimes to tragedy and sometimes to just really bad tatste. Often where the line is drawn depends upon who is viewing, reading or hearing the piece. For the record I will state that violence is never an appropriate response to any expression of opinion so long as that expression itself is not violent. Then the only excuse for responding with violence is to stop the continuation of violence or to protect other people and sometimes property. 

Moving back to Mr. Sandler--readers can easily find his filmography online. In terms of Native American experience recently a script for an upcoming spoof of the old western movie genre offended Native American movie actors on the  set. It is unclear when they received the script or if they knew of the character names and/or scenes involved. A video captured the exchange. The Native American actors who took exception to a character name and various scenes eventually walked off the movie and the incident gained widespread attention. The headlines identified the "stereotypes" as objetionable to the actors. 

Stereotypes can be and are harmful. Happily in America the actors had the freedom to express their opinions and leave. Would anyone find these stereotypes appropriate on any major league team of any school team:

MLB and the Dolan family--you are supporting this reality today. Why? 

MLB and the Dolan family--you are supporting this reality today. Why? 

Racism + Campaign $ = Corporate Profits, John McCain Are You Listening: This IS Wrong

Once agan the Senator from Arizona, John McCain, is showing is craven greed, disregard for American history and clear racism against Native Americans. The San Carlo Apache are fighting to preserve their sacred lands, lands even highly racist past US President Richard Nixon protected for them. The man leading the attack is Sen. John MCcain.

Sen. McCain has a long history of acting against Native American interests. Does your Senator or US Representative vote with him? Then your Congressional representative supports his racism. It really is that simple.

The proof of America's continued racism against Native Americans is the exploitation and continued use of Native American images and names in major league and school team names and mascots.