TOP OF THE TOWN‑ Racism is part of our culture. It’s been there since Africans were captured by Portuguese and shipped to America in 1619, arriving at Jamestown in the British colony of Virginia. The slave trade actually began in the early1500s and continued through the middle 1800s with most of the 12 million Africans sent to Brazil and the Caribbean. An estimated 400,000 were sent to the British colonies, which later became the United States. This terrible slave trade provoked the American Civil War and ensuring Jim Crow laws in the South, along with lynching of blacks often for no apparent reason other than their skin color. This inherent racism peeks its ugly head up in many ways, not the least the unjustified shooting of blacks that goes on to this day and makes headlines wherever it pokes its head up. Society tries to make things up for the blacks, or African Americans or minorities as they are called in the modern world, in various ways. One way is to institute affirmative action quotas for entry into colleges if such educational institution receives federal funds (private universities are exempt from this). The NFL has a sort of affirmative action called the Rooney Rule, named after Dan Rooney, former owner of the Pittsburg Steelers. The Rooney Rule was established in 2003 after two black coaches in 2002 – Tony Dungy and Dennis Green – were fired despite having success with their respective teams, Tampa Bay and Minnesota Vikings. The rule was implemented to force teams to interview at least one minority candidate for head coaching and senior football operation jobs. Team owners on May 19 upped that rule to require at least two minority candidates from outside their organization for a head coaching position and at least one minority candidate from outside their organization for any vacant offensive, defensive or special-teams coordinator job. Why is it that our society has to go through these hoops to mend what is rampant racism? Aren’t affirmative action and the Rooney Rule in themselves racist? What they are saying are public universities have a minimum of minorities they must admit and the Rooney Rule insists a certain number (2) of minorities must be interviewed? Isn’t that racism? Affirmation Action is a way of saying minorities are not getting the same quality of public education as the white majority, isn’t it? Because if all things were equal, entry into a public university would go to the most qualified, which knows no color. So by saying you have to let in a certain number of minorities you are acknowledging there is racism involved. The same thing applies to the Rooney Rule. By having the rule, the NFL is acknowledging racism. If I was a team owner wouldn’t I want to hire the most qualified no matter the color of skin? My answer is yes I would and I would not need a Rooney Rule to tell me what I had to do in regards to skin color. But white prevails in the NFL. There are only two owners that are not white – Jacksonville’s Shahid Khan and Buffalo’s Kim Pegula, a co-owner. Does that mean white ownership is guaranteed to be racist? No, but it’s interesting still the same. Years ago I did an interview with a white football player who was thinking about retiring from the game and it’s interesting one of the reasons he gave for doing it. He said the league was becoming black (about 75 percent of the players in the game today are black) and he said they didn’t know how to play the game but got by because of their athleticism. e He didn’t like it that they didn’t think the game like he did.  I did not write a story on him because his comments were pure racist and I didn’t agree with them. That racism continues to exist in our society. For years, it bubbled underneath the surface but in the political climate today in our country those racist feelings are being given permission to come out in the open. So we are seeing more and more white supremacy groups toting their assault weapons in public squares, usually protesting one thing or the other. We just recently saw two whites gun down a black running in a white neighborhood. I wish I could wish away the racism and let us judge people not on color but on character. You don’t have to be white to be a good person. I still remember going into a beer joint with a black friend when I was in college back East. We went into a place where I knew the owner, and he knew me. We waited for 15 minutes for service before beckoning the waitress over. She informed us we needed a picture ID before she would serve us. This was before you had your photo on the driver’s license and she knew as well as we did that we didn’t have a photo ID. It took me several minutes after we left before I knew what had just happened. Things like that still happen, but I wish we would do away with rules that are meant to make it look like we care when often we don’t. They are just meant to soften the racism a bit. I want a society where everybody has an equal chance to succeed and we are blind to color. That is enough for today.

Be well pal.

Be careful out there.

Have a great day.

You are loved.