Today I went to my PO Box to retrieve my mail, and there was a certified letter. I thought the same thing everyone does, “Who is suing me?” I held the letter up to the light. I was ThisClose to refusing it. Then I remembered that were I being sued, a sheriff would just show up at my door. Yes, I realize that most adults don’t go through this process when receiving a piece of mail. I’m a lawyer’s kid. I can’t undo that part of me.
After a few minutes I decided that my curiosity would win out (as it always does), and I signed for the letter. I opened it with a mixture of excitement and dread. Certified mail is uncommon. Someone wrote a letter (uncommon), went to the post office (even more uncommon), waited in line, filled out forms and paid more than $3 to send it to me (downright rare).
The letter was typewritten and hand signed. It included formal headers, actual paragraphs and a closing statement. It was the opposite of an email or a blog comment.
Some of the letter included the phrases it included were, “Thank you for having the courage and social perspective…” and “I am a black man [sic] anyone with common sense would agree with you…” The letter referenced Servite High School.
The rest of it is mine to read. It’s a touching letter. I don’t know how old the writer is. I don’t know if he has children, where he’s from, what we might have in common. I don’t know anything about him except that he’s read at least one of my blog entries.
I know that I needed this letter. Every so often blogging feels like an albatross. The folks who disagree are very verbal, and all too often empowered by anonymity and distance. I know that social commentary matters. I don’t know when it matters, or how it can affect change, but I know deep in my heart these blogs we have matter.
I’m holding onto my mail. I’m glad I wasn’t too afraid to accept it. It means the world to me.
I’m taking a lot of flack for thinking that a teenage boy shouldn’t paint his face black for a football game.
Servite is a High School in Anaheim, CA. They have a very good football team and (I now find) a less than stellar reputation.
High School Athletics in California are still left to teachers. Teachers in California (as opposed to Coaches in adulthood) are responsible for turning out well rounded young men and women. Ideally a school will also teach kids that they are lucky to be part of a community and they can add great things to it.
Perhaps I wasn’t completely clear in my post last night.
When a High School Football Coach sees a child paint their entire face black (eye black or not I don’t care) that coach has an obligation to the child to take him aside and explain to him what painting one’s face black used to symbolize. The coaches failed the children. The coaches failed the parents, whose money they gladly accept.
If the point of High School is education, then Servite is a failure. If the point of High School is playing football games, Servite has been magnificent.
I realize some NFL players use eye black in an excessive and decorative pattern, but I’ve yet to see an NFL player cover their entire face in eye black. The argument that this child is imitating NFL players is false. There has never been an NFL player that has completely covered his face in eye black.
Chris Hovan is well known for wearing excessive and “menacing” eye black. Does this look like he’s painted his entire face?
The real issue is that this is High School. Ostensibly athletics are there to support academics. I’m curious if a history teacher was on hand, and if they gasped a little when they saw their student?
Last night I was scrolling through the channels and landed on Prime Ticket. There was a high school football game on TV that caught my eye.
A Servite High School Football Player was wearing blackface.
I don’t have it saved on DVR, but last night Prime Ticket aired the game. On the field were a gaggle of coaches, and not one of them stopped the child who they were charged with educating to tell him that it was wildly offensive.
Here’s a screenshot of what the player looked like after the game. See the video here.
Servite isn’t in my community, but those boys will be. Send them a message, educating young men is a honor that comes with massive responsibility and allowing a child to wear blackface is a failure.