We really need to get past our fetish over race. Yes, we are all different in many ways and, yes, we can all include ourselves in one group or another no matter who or what we are. If I choose, I can label myself part of the Italian-American group, or the Roman Catholic group (lapsed), or the upper middle class, or as a trial attorney, or white, or as a parent and husband, or as a Yankees fan. The list can be as long as your imagination and creativity allow and the divisions and subdivisions are nearly endless.
But this sort of thought is not healthy nor is it constructive to society as a whole. There is a major difference between being by birth or choice secondarily part of any obviously defined â€œgroupâ€. Itâ€™s wholly another matter to embrace your group membership as the main defining characteristic of your personhood.
Which is why I find this piece about Super Bowl coaches Tony Dungy and Lovie Smith paricularly irksome. Not because it is another in an ad nauseum list of takes on the â€œfirstnessâ€ of having not just one, but two black head coaches in the Super Bowl. Itâ€™s the apparent truth that some black fans canâ€™t choose which team to root for this year because both are being lead by black men.
Call me unsophisticated, but I simply do not understand this notion (which I wholeheartedly know to be true) of supporting or voting for someone simply because you both coincidentally share a trait. I canâ€™t get my mind around the concept that this yearâ€™s Super Bowl presents a â€œdilemmaâ€ for black fans because of the race of the coaches. My football team was and is the long-suffering NY Jets, and Super Bowl III was the first sporting event on which I placed a wager. Had Joe Willie been up against a team coached by my paisan Vince Lombardi, I would have had absolutely no second thoughts rooting for the complete and utter decimation of Vinceâ€™s team despite the fact the we shared the same heritage.
What we need more of in this country, and in this world, is a change in viewpoint from that of tribal groupthink to that of individual thoughtfulness. Trust me on this. If we can move in that direction, many problems can be solved.
[This article can also be found at Release The Hounds!]