Old White Guys

Dear Christopher,

Old white guys like the Dallas newscaster, Dale Hansen, can evidence good common sense.  His rant about the criticism Michael Sam, the first out gay player, has endured is right on the money. He pointedly made clear that bigotry is bigotry, even when it makes people uncomfortable. I heard him interviewed on NPR the day after this editorial of his went viral. The interviewer said she was surprised that a Texas sportscaster who also is an old white guy (she said it more diplomatically than that) would express such views.  That comment made me think of the old white guys I know well in our own family.

Stereotypes abound, but here is one: that old white guys who happen to be straight are bigoted. Your dad is a great example to counter that idea. He is a straight man raised on God, Country, Notre Dame, and most especially football, which you know he loves. He played it in high school and he watches it on TV religiously. (Well, Notre Dame games are a religious experience.)  Finding out that his son is gay was not what he wanted or even expected to hear.  Yet, though it was hard for him at first, he never ever once thought of doing anything but loving you.  He is one of your greatest supporters.  And one of gay rights greatest supporters.  He volunteers for AIDS Community services. We go to local fundraisers to support gay organizations in Buffalo.  Yes, he is an old white guy.  A sports guy.  But he has common sense.  Most of all he has love.

Even your old white uncles, when they learned about you, they both said they loved you and supported you.  This is despite their being to the right of Mitt Romney.  Both Rush Limbaugh conservatives.

Your brother Mark has been nothing but supportive from what I have observed over the years.  Of course he is not old, but he is a white guy and a jock. Played sports in high school and college and loves and plays them now.

Then there was your very old grandfather, Pa June, as everyone called him. In my first conversation with Pa after he knew about you, he told me that he was upset we in the family did not know when you were in high school. That really upset him most, that you were so lonely in those high school days.

These folks who talk about discomfort or who talk about gay people in denigrating ways should stop to think about our human family.  They are hurting not only gay people themselves, but also their extended families. No, maybe the old white guys who run the NFL may not be ready for a gay player in the locker room, but I bet lots of other guys, both players and fans, would have the brains to judge players by how they perform, not who they love.  If they don’t then maybe they will learn something new.

Love, Mom

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