You never know the true quality of someone's character until the road gets rocky.
This blog has has to do with personal character, and how incredible and awesome it is to see it manifested in a positive way, in a public forum.
The University of Missouri has a race problem. White students at that school routinely spout terrible racial epithets at black students, and have gone way too far with it for far too long. Missouri's black Student President has been called the "N" word many times, along with many other minority students and even black professors. It has become a sport of sorts on that campus.
The enlightened students, both black and white tried to reach out to the Missouri School President, Tim Wolfe, many times about these race issues but were repeatedly rebuffed. An incident in a bathroom, made the racial situation untenable. Wolfe still did nothing. When students approached him at the end of a campus parade last week, he almost ran a few over with his car, and later talked to a few and made a mockery of their complaints.
One student, Jonathan Butler, started a hunger strike to protest this constant and troubling bigotry, and wouldn't eat until Wolfe had resigned. Black friends of Butler's on the Missouri football team got worried. They decided that they couldn't just stand by, and called their coach, Gary Pinkel, to tell them that they planned on sitting out football games until Wolfe resigned, and some changes were made on campus, to address these issues.
Coach PInkel, instead of worrying about football schedules, the big money involved in TV games for college football, and the ramifications of sitting out games, looked at the big picture, and made an even bigger one. Pinkel got his entire 90+ man football team together for a linked-arms photo and tweeted it out with the message "The Missou family stands as one. We are united. We are behind our players.", inferring that the entire team would sit out until Wolfe was gone.
The road was a rocky one, and Coach Pinkel, instead of ignoring the issues brought up by his "kids", stood ten feet tall.
Wolfe is gone, the Chancellor is gone, and the protest, because it entailed a very public display of solidarity by the football team, worked beautifully. Pinkel has become something of a folk hero, because he showed great character. I was left wondering how many other college or pro head football coaches would do the same? Not many, I sadly decided.
I don't know how you take children, yes children, who have been finding it OK to demean and deliberately spout hatred for others who don't share their skin color, and get them to change, but it has to start somewhere. Sometimes, the parents say these things at home and they carry on through generations. IT MUST STOP.
I applaud Coach Pinkel, and believe his show of personal character will be a start to right the wrongs at Missouri and maybe even other places, where white people somehow think that this kind of deplorable behavior is acceptable. Hopefully, Pinkel has started a very constructive movement here, and I heartily applaud his great show of character.
I am reminded of something I started saying to my curious Daughter when she was very young, and faced with people of different colors....we are all the same under the skin.