Like any blue blooded American born male who salivated like Pavlov's dog when another person got dunked on, I grew up being one of Michael Jordan's biggest fans. Besides seeing the basketball equivalent to a ballet recital that he displayed on the parkay floor regularly, there were other benefits of seeing this Baryshnikov in over-sized basketball shorts, it was one of the only times me and my father saw eye to eye on anything. Not to pull at anyones heart strings here, just being honest, but watching those Bulls' teams dismantle some miscellaneous group of pretender was the only time that I knew I wasn't going to be called "worthless" or a "complete piece of shit". The same way boyfriends and husbands might plan their schedules around their significant others "time of the month", I marked televised Bulls games on my calender because I knew, albeit for a short period of time, that I wouldn't be at the business end of a verbal reaming. On those Sundays, in my insecure and severely depressed mind, NBC provided me with a slice of Heaven so to speak.
But all of that changed suddenly, when my father very innocently said, "I wish Michael Jordan would do more for the black community?? I wish he would be out there period, he has the ability to change things solely based on how popular he is!" I don't know why I argued so forcefully, but I said, "Why does he have to?? Not everyone is built like that, you can't force someone to do something they are uncomfortable with!!" Usually a very argumentative guy, he just stood in silence shaking his head in digust, kind of like I'm doing as I type this playing back my irresponsible retort to my father in my mind.
Fast forward 15 years, multiple pounds, and a miserable blog later, I sit here thinking of a responsibility that I have at times. I mean, I don't have the world wide appeal of Michael Jordan where I address certain issues, possibly affecting someone oblivious to the situation before. Hell I don't even have the blog popularity with so many blogs immensely more popular than mine, I consider myself a mid-range blogger.(Even though, I think that some uber popular blogs are horseshit. Yes, I can be both insecure and arrogant. I'm a multi-tasker) But, if I can add a new perspective to a few souls who didn't think about it that certain way before, then I'm good.
I guess I decided to write about the horrific event that happened in a three-room rental house on the Duke University campus recently when I read some disturbing things on many irresponsible blogs, and from men I dare say are my personal friends about the incident. A plethora of neanderthal rants like "Why didn't she have security??", "She was dancing for a group of men, what did she expect??", "She should have known what she was getting into!!", and "Hey, she was butt naked!!"
Of course the obvious retort for bottom feeders like this is to explain, slowly so the unrefined mind can digest such information, that regardless of the environment or the clothing that one is wearing, there is never a justification for a sexual assault. But that's too vague, let me try another approach, some visualization if you will.
OK, How would you feel if your mother, going to her job for an honest days work had the words "Thank your grandpa for my cotton shirt!" shouted at her like the victim did when she attempted to leave when the rowdy men first started shouting racial epithets at her?
What if that was your sister who was dragged in that bathroom, the tears smearing her mascara as she fought for her life with all the energy she had, and was violated by three gentlemen in every horrific way imaginable? Would you still think she was asking for it?
What if you were the father of the victim, using your faith in god not to go and hunt the culprits down who hurt your baby girl? How would it feel to not only have that act committed against a woman you brought into this world, but to see the team band together the way they are in a code of silence? Kind of makes you want to bury the bastard who created those fucking "Stop Snitching" T-shirts huh? That's what I thought.
I guess as we sit here, 46 of the DNA samples taken from the Duke University Lacrosse team are being tested, so all we can hope for is that justice will prevail. Of course I'm skeptical it will, based on the color of the victim, what she did for a living the University involved, and the two fucking days it took for the cops to get a warrant to search the place.
But regardless of the final outcome, if all the culprits pay the highest form of punishment like we all hope, this will affect a few people for the rest of their lives. It obviously effects the victim, who has to try to live her life and somehow, unfortunately, come to grips with the fact that she was the victim of a horrific sexual assault. The neighbor who saw the victim's first attempt to leave and the commotion behind that, I'm sure if he is any sort of decent man, he will be kicking himself that he didn't call the police when the thought originally popped in his mind. I don't know how many of the 46 players are indeed racists who co-sign a rape, but I can't think that every single one of them are that way. Those persons will have to deal with the fact that they protected, regardless if they were on the same team or not, racists and rapists for the rest of their lives in some criminal act of solidarity.
Not taking any light off of the real victim, the young woman who was raped, but I can't help but to wonder what the only black member of the Lacrosse team is going through. I hope he knows that his actions now, because he hasn't spoken out yet to my knowledge, will gnaw and rot his soul for as long as his miserable soul is on this earth.
I guess my pops was right, we all have a responsibility to lend our voice to important topics. But pops, if you have high speed Internet in heaven, talking about this topic is what needed to be said. It was hardly a chore.