Thoughts about Jason Collins and his historical moment

jason collins

Congratulations to Jason Collins for being comfortable and brave to admit his sexual orientation in a public manner. The thirty-four old NBA center made history yesterday when his personal essay for Sports Illustrated leaked to the press and other media outlets, marking him as the first openly gay professional team sport athlete. Here are my thoughts and concerns as this story makes its way through our media’s digestive track.

  • As this Ted Talk illustrates the key to a movement is actually the second person. Who will follow Collins’ courageous first step and announce their sexual orientation? Once that happens, I hope the flood gates will open and America can begin to openly discuss and accept (not tolerate…I strongly dislike that word when we discuss differences…I can tolerate playing basketball on a sprained ankle, whereas I can accept one’s humanity) gay athletes.
  • Bill Clinton wrote yesterday, “It is also the straightforward statement of a good man who wants no more than what so many of us seek: to be able to be who we are; to do our work; to build families and to contribute to our communities,” in praise of Jason Collins’ admission. While I agree with him, I am weary of the use of “good man.” I worry that while Clinton in trying to challenge the way we think of gay athletes, unfortunately reinforces the idea of gay as “bad.” His statement would have still been as powerful with the omission of “good man” because regardless of Collins’ sexuality he is a good person; the two, goodness and sexuality, should not be linked.
  • Collins coming out has a “where were you when…” feel to it. I was in my car, listening to ESPN talk radio when I first heard the news. The announcer stressed that he was not gay, but supported Jason Collins. It struck me as odd that he felt the need to confirm his heterosexuality as he supported an openly gay athlete. Pay attention to that throughout the subsequent commentary.
  • Lastly, while I disagree with those who for various reasons (i.e. bigotry, religion, etc) condemn homosexuality, I do believe that in the spirit of diversity they should be able to share their thoughts and opinions. While it pains me to write that sentence because I worry about the hatred that they may spew, it is within their rights to voice their opinions. Likewise, it is in my rights to disagree with them.

In the words of the famous philosopher from Brooklyn, Jay-Z, “What you eat, don’t make me shhh…Where’s the love?”

I am thankful that Jason Collins found the inner strength to share such a private matter in such a public manner to help push the conversation about homosexuality, sports, masculinity, and the various interconnected threads forward. Who he decides to sleep with does not affect me anymore than it affected it yesterday; likewise, who I decide to sleep with does not affect him. I appreciate his decision to live authentically and hope that others, regardless of sexual orientation, can learn from his example: Be who you are and love who you are because you deserve it!

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Proud of My President…Again

A few years ago, Jeezy released a song, “My President is Black,” that was played, recited, and screamed at ignorant levels to show support for the then-recent election of the nation’s first bi-racial president. Recently, President Obama gave Jeezy a shout out, stating that he would sing a Jeezy song if re-elected.

While that’s dope, I digress.

Yesterday, excerpts from Obama’s interview with Robin Roberts were released and in it the President says the following:

“…at a certain point I’ve just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same sex couples should be able to get married.”

Yes!

This support for progressive thinking, recognizing rights for all, is exactly what I have been waiting for since 2008! When I cast my ballot for Obama, I was entrenched in his “Hope” campaign. I believed him! I believed that he would embody the hope that our country needs in order to change and finally embody the lofty goals of democracy, and more importantly fulfill our declaration that “all men [and women] are created equal.”

And overall, I have been disappointed.

Let me clarify.

Obama has done his job as best as he could given: inheriting a record deficit while in the midst of the worst economic downtown our country had seen since the Great Depression, fighting against a House and Senate filled with ninjas that refuse to let him be great, and dealing with the misconception of a post-racial society amid consistent mistreatment of various people throughout the country.

With his comment on the Trayvon Martin shooting, and his soon to be released interview with Robin Roberts, I am once again filled with the kind of hope that captured me and our nation back in 2008. I look forward to the agenda that a second-term Obama will push; undeterred with concerns about re-election, Obama will undoubtedly do what he needs to do in order to move this country forward in its thinking and actions. This first term has been filled with doing things that he was supposed to do and say.

This next term though.

That 2012-2016 term though.

He won’t be a lame duck!

Trust!

*enthusiastically yells, “My President is Black; my [Honda’s maroon]*

What a Response!

Thank you all for reading my first post!

Wow! I was humbled that over one hundred people took time out of their day to learn about my obsession with mirrors and why I write.

Thank you for the text messages, facebook messages and posts, and one special phone call from my mommy. All offered encouragement and support.

Thank you all for thinking about your own ‘mirrors.’

I look forward to your continued thoughts and reactions.