August 19, 2018

WYMAT: This is America

Across America, there's plenty to be mad about

What a time we’re living in to witness some really historic feats. LeBron James carrying the Cavaliers, North Korea “destroying” their nuclear test sites, the government issuing 15,000 seasonal visas for folks working for at-risk of failing companies, Childish Gambino releasing a banger, and Trump making is easy to fire government workers.

Seriously, what a time to be alive. Of course, there are some less pleasant things occurring that make me want to move to a different country. I find it funny how the issues we’re frequently seeing just keep coming back. Gun control, education, police brutality, the government sticking it’s dirty fingers in the world of professional sports when it’s convenient for them, you know, things that we should probably have already dealt with.

“Guns Don’t Kill People, People Kill People” 

Yes, but with guns. Another school shooting happened, but nobody is really surprised by that. Instead of arguing for gun control and getting nowhere with that debate, I’m going to argue for teaching young men how to appropriately manage their anger. As it turns out, many young men make it through puberty and into adulthood without bringing a gun to school. And before you get on me about me targeting young men, think about how many school shootings have been women, yeah, you sit and digest that one.

Toxic masculinity in our culture is taking W’s left and right. Why do you think we have the Times Up movement? Unfortunately, we’re a patriarchal society that encourages boys and men to always try to be masculine, which feeds into destructive behavior. I’m going to let you in on a secret, masculinity is a social construct. Have you ever noticed how masculinity varies from culture to culture? It means nothing until we assign behaviors and attitudes to it. In this culture, we assign aggression and power to this and then we’re surprised when young men hit their partners, sexual violate someone, or use a gun to solve their issues.

So again, I’m not arguing that we need gun reform (obviously, we need it). I’m arguing that we need to be teaching young men how to process their feelings in a constructive way. Meaning, we try to weed out these ideas of toxic masculinity that harm not only the individual but our society. In doing this we also help with sexism issues. It’s almost a win-win situation. It’s amazing what educating people can do for your society when you address social issues that start at a young age.

Speaking of education…

Betsy DeVos

Of course BDV is saying ridiculous things, that’s just who she is (kind of like some other folks in Washington…). Telling schools to call ICE on potentially undocumented students and following it up “I mean, it’s like your decision but just do it” I’m paraphrasing, but it gets the point across. What she really said was

“I think that’s a school decision, it’s a local community decision…I refer to the fact that we have laws and we also are compassionate. I urge this body to do its job and address and clarify where there is confusion around this.”

What’s compassionate about telling educators to call Immigration and Customs Enforcement on kids? I get that we have a pretty poor system in place when it comes to immigrants. Pair that with some xenophobic people in power and the result is a crappy immigration reform. God, it’s not like there are a bunch of other first world countries with good immigration processes for us to rip off. It’s not like we’re a country who is above taking ideas from other people, unless the ideas are good and would actually benefit the majority of the population…

Sterling Brown

Milwaukee police tased Bucks shooting guar Sterling Brown in January for a parking violation. Wait…so you mean to tell me that we’re now at this point where you can get tased for a parking violation? I mean, it’s better than getting shot repeatedly? And if you’re one of those people who are like “well the cops probably felt threatened!” Tell me why the cops felt threatened. He complied with what they asked of him. He was polite. What about him was threatening? Oh, yeah, he’s a big Black man.

Sterling Brown

I don’t know about you all, but I am over hearing about police profiling and then harassing Black men. As insensitive as it sounds, I think we should be past this place of ignorance in our culture. We have a diverse society, yet we treat members of it as second class citizens. This isn’t the 1940’s, folks, it’s 2018, and truly our biggest concern should be saving the environment. Unfortunately, we can’t get out of our own way because we’re still trying to address issues of racism from public service people and the government. So glad my tax dollars are hard at work to profile people of color instead of providing a better education for young people.

Dear police officers who don’t seem to understand  their own biases, please stop assuming every Black/brown person you come across is a threat. Let’s refer to the school shooters of the last few months…young…white…men…whoa! Maybe you have a new demographic to worry about. Maybe you don’t have to profile every Black/brown man you see. Your profiling is rooted in ignorance and you need to get over that, might I suggest some cultural competence training? 

Until we can get to a point where police officers understand that they’re abusing their power and acting on biases, we will not get over this issue. I say this a lot, but EDUCATION! Educate police officers about bias and how to not act on it. Get deeper in why we have biases and then how to overcome them. I’m not saying this will change the world, but it may make some officers think twice before pulling a taser or gun on someone walking to their car in a parking lot.

NFL Anthem Policy

If you didn’t know, now you do, the NFL will be fining teams for players kneeling during the playing of the national anthem. All I can say is good job, NFL, you may have just shot yourself in the foot to appease a segment of your fans. I understand wanting to come to a compromise because obviously the NFL is a for-profit organization, and with that they must somewhat listen to fans’ desires. Players can wait in the locker room during the anthem, should they choose to do so, which is fair. However, the flip side of this is if players are on the field during the playing of the national anthem, they “must stand and show respect for the flag and the anthem.”

Points that are important to remember:

  • The team will get fined, not the player for any player protesting during the playing of the national anthem. Why is this detail important? The discipline for a player protesting then falls on the owner, and not the league.
  • Players who choose to wait in the locker room may have to say why they aren’t on the field during the national anthem. Which could also cause more issues with the folks who take issue with the players kneeling.
  • While raising a fist or linking arms may be allowed, they likely will not because it could somehow be seen as not “showing respect for the flag and the anthem.” Players will likely peacefully protest through these actions as well, and I’m sure we’ll hear more about this than who actually wins the game.
  • Owners/coaches pressuring players to stand during the anthem could also be an issue that could result in some type of lawsuit.

Now we have all summer to chew on this policy and then see how it works out in the fall. Get your popcorn, kids, it’s about to be quite a show.

What do we want? No more discrimination! When do we want it? NOW! 

Yo, did you know the NFL has got about 99 problem right now? Amidst trying to please crotchety old men who think football players are protesting the flag (WRONG! They’re protesting police brutality, and if you question that please reread the part about Sterling Brown!), they also are dealing with cheerleaders filing discrimination complaints against them. Ay, Goodell, I think you should have been focusing on the harassment these women have been facing more so than the kneeling. As it turns out, players peacefully protesting is a non-issue compared to sexual harassment and work-place harassment. Cheerleaders from various teams are coming to the NFL with complaints about the discrimination they have faced. If I’m the head of an organization whose brand is well-known, I’m about to handle that appropriately. That means, listening to these women and supporting them. That means creating a workplace that isn’t offensive for these women. It’s not like they’re cheerleaders for a 20 year career, it’s a pretty short career, so why not make it a good experience.

If none of these things made you mad, I’m low-key impressed and high-key concerned. We as a country need to come together and move forward. Enough prayers and more actions. Oddly, these issues can be resolved through non-violent actions. Talk about the impact of toxic masculinity on young men. Talk about ways to uphold the second amendment while also having some gun control in place. Talk about immigration reform. Talk about police brutality against people of color. Talk about peaceful protests in the workplace. Talk about work-place discrimination. And then, after you’ve educated yourself and had some discussions, VOTE! The most impactful way, we as a society can make change is through voting. As it turns out, we vote on gun laws, education, immigration, and social issues. Don’t have a pity party of “oh, I can’t make an impact because of x, y, z,”  I don’t buy it. You’re just as dangerous as a casual bystander as the person committing the action. Write to your representative. Peacefully protest. Be a part of the conversation in a constructive way (regardless of which political party you associate with). These issues affect us all, even if it seems like they’re only happening in the NFL or D.C.

Emily Cornell 17 Articles
Staff Writer

Emily grew up in the great state of Colorado, then decided the University of Wyoming sounded like a good time. She’s a three-time University of Wyoming Intramural Champion, which truly contributed to the rec sports office. Since graduating, she has tried to figure out how not to become an adult. To fully commit to this, she’s a part-time cheesecake maker and a semi-pro adventurer. Her side hustle involves sports marketing. Sometimes she shares her unpopular opinions on sports and life, if this interests you, she can be found on Twitter and Instagram like a true millennial @emilproblems.

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