HARMON: Playing with ‘Team Human’

December 27, 2013 

Phil Robertson of “Duck Dynasty” fame said some things a little differently than I might have said them, but the First Amendment says he could say them any way he chose to and so it’s done. The comments about gay folks, in particular, were a might graphic, but isn’t that considered an “alternative” lifestyle? Phil thinks they’re all going to hell anyway, but he thinks straight folks will too unless we follow the tenets of the New Testament.

I’ve got enough trouble judging me most days and if there’s a judgment coming down, the only one I’m really -- and I mean really concerned about -- is mine. But I do keep my sexual stuff where it belongs: in the twilight zone. I wish I had some sexual stuff to write about, but if you’re looking for titillation, you’re reading in the wrong place.

I will say I enjoy the ladies on Fox News but there are those who find Wolf Blitzer attractive. But I digress. Let’s look at an important issue Phil raised, that of the black “experience,” something I know nothing about because I’m white and have to look at it through a white person’s eyes.

My white eyes saw the signs, the raggedy clothes, the walking on the side of the road for lack of a car, the looks of despair, confusion hate and envy, of the blacks in the 1960s. Also the look that asked, “Why us?” And I know people my age remember and do grieve for those people, now mostly gone. But I cannot get inside those heads. Those that made do as humans, but were seen as less than human.

Since then, we have seen progress. A person would be a fool to not admit to that. The questions we need to ask now are “What do we want from each other, where do we go from here and how can we play together on team human?”

I think we want more than anything to be accepted and respected for who we are as humans. Assuming I am right, we must get along. I don’t take exception to Robertson’s comments about his experience with blacks in dirt poor Louisiana in the ’60s. He wasn’t going home to television after a day in the fields, seeing riots in L.A., Chicago and Memphis. From what I read, he was as poor as the blacks with whom he worked. If one wants to judge the man with regard to race relations find out what he’s been doing since he got a television set. And no, he probably didn’t have a newspaper either.

He saw blacks through his personal prism. The media is putting way too much importance into what Phil Robertson said in the G.Q. interview, but we’re smart enough to see that the stuff sells. Those of us who live in the South, blacks and whites, have come a long way. We have overcome a lot of “stuff” and we’re still at it. Still trying to like each other enough to give and take where it counts. Still trying to get beyond the rhetoric of the race-baiters and find a way to make our collective experiences work.

Education, as I’ve said before, is the key to getting along with and respecting others. I’ve seen it. I see it in a basketball coach named James Lundsford who takes young men (black and white) at GMC and insists they be on time, make good grades, respect each other, even referees (difficult task), and extolls the virtues that will lead to success in life. This man’s “successes” are everywhere.

I see it in Burt Williams, who takes college football players and students from all walks of life and molds them into a unit capable of playing in a national championship football game. Their successes are based on a common team goal. As we sit here two days after Christmas with a new year approaching, my wish for each of us is to become part of a larger team, “Team Human.” When we do we will go a lot farther toward the goal of solving our many societal problems, the least of which is skin color.

Sonny Harmon is an educator at Georgia Military College. Visit his blog at http://sharmon09.blogspot.com.

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