Cleveland is close to earning the title of Most Racist City In America. It starts with the top moral leadership: the Churches, the legal community, the courts and the judges. It is all very broken. Today's decision of a white judge aquitting a white police officer of killing two unarmed black people confirms this. Again. After living most of my life in and around Cleveland I can verify the truth of this. Today's decision is the tip of a very large iceberg. I heard about this killing from friends in Cleveland when it happened and the decision today on CNN. The story is now global with BBC coverage. While the DOJ and city leaders call for change there is one stong and simple step they can take: demand the MLB change the team name and logo or force the ownership out for promoting racism. The NBA did it. There is no pride or sense of right and wrong when a city and a team and the fans are told a team racist logo and team identity are somehow right and decent.
The main justification is tradition. Traditions change. It is time to start a new one on racism in Cleveland. MLB, Cleveland, are you listening? When the leadership of Cleveland accepts and the fans are shown a racist image and team identity in the MLB team, the people see real, high profile accepted and endorsed racism. I find myself wondering how many Cleveland police officers and their families buy team merchandise, attend games and "love" the home team and what effect this has on their awarness of racism in general. Supporting racism against one group can and frequently is easily be seen as support for all racism. Racism is hatred based on birth identity. It is wrong in all its forms.
To most of the people in Cleveland and many of those who I have known for years: you are better than this. The city is yours, the region is yours. Legal technicalities are words that can and must be rewritten. Justice is what rules and laws people are willing to accept and this decision must not leave the system, the words unchanged.
Hope is needed so I am, yet again, calling on the Larry Dolan and his entire extended family and friends, all those who profit from the team, including staff, managers, players, sponsors, vendors charities and religious organizations, and I include specifically the Roman Catholic Diocese of Cleveland in this call: make a difference. Give the city of Cleveland, the fans of the team, the country hope--by real action. Retire the racist mascot and change the name. How many more people must die before Cleveland leadership and everyone in the area stands together against racism, anywhere, anytime and in all forms?