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The coolest most awesomest thing ever happened today. Jason Collins an NBA basketball player for the Washington Wizards came out as a proud gay African American man. This guy has no idea how many young African American men he’s helping by coming out. When you live in a small town in the bible belt of America all you hear is negative things about being gay and it can make you feel extremely lonely and isolated. After a while you start to believe all the negative things and begin to hate yourself. Seeing someone like Jason Collins come out can help change that… and that is a very huge big deal.
I have known Jason Collins since he was Chelsea’s classmate and friend at Stanford. Jason’s announcement today is an important moment for professional sports and in the history of the LGBT community. It is also the straightforward statement of a good man who wants no more than what so many of us seek: to be able to be who we are; to do our work; to build families and to contribute to our communities. For so many members of the LGBT community, these simple goals remain elusive. I hope that everyone, particularly Jason’s colleagues in the NBA, the media and his many fans extend to him their support and the respect he has earned.
I am very proud of my friend Jason Collins for having the strength and courage to become the first openly gay athlete in the NBA. His decision marks an important moment for professional sports and for our country. I echo what my father said in his statement and similarly hope that everyone, particularly Jason’s colleagues in the NBA, the media and his many fans extend to him their support and the respect he has earned.
While I was reading the latest developments about this story, searching different blogs and established print media (on the web); I stumbled upon something that switched my anger into utter despair. I noticed that a majority of the comments that were left on all the African American targeted blogs were siding with Uganda’s attempt to execute gays. That just blew me away. I really didn’t expect that amount of hatred from my own race. A race that I’m proud to be a part of, a race that has first hand knowledge of how oppression and violent injustice feels. I just don’t understand… why, or how this came to be. I would of never guessed that my race would ever under any circumstances, take on the role of the oppressor. I just can’t get my head around that one. I’ve tried and tried and tried to make sense of it all, but disappointingly, it turns into a contest of futility. If I can’t convince my own race to change and see things rationally, then what chances do I have to convince a whole country.
For the last 48 hours, I’ve been glued to CNN watching the political unrest unfold in Iran. If anyone has ever doubted the power and usefulness of the Internet and social networking sites, now is the time to say “I TOLD YOU SO”. If it weren’t for these new tools of communication, I really don’t think we’d know what the hell was going on in Iran. The Ayatollah has tried to shut down all outside communication, but with today’s technology, that’s virtually impossible. Right now the United States has an amazing opportunity. We’ve tried to remove the Ayatollah in some form or another for decades now. Our biggest misstep, was publicly backing The Shaw way back in the 60’s. The Ayatollah used the common Muslim fear of western influence and control to slowly discredit and remove the Shaw. This plot worked so well, that it has been adopted by many Muslim extremist groups (i.e. Al-qaeda, Hamas, etc) as a powerful recruiting tool ever since. Keeping that in mind, our country needs to take a laissez-faire approach, and let this political uprising take it’s course. That’s the absolute best help we can give Iran right now. President Obama has been very smart to do so. If we take any kind of official stance siding with the uprising, then that gives Ahmadinejad and the Ayatollah more ammunition to scare the protesters into submission. The threat of western influence is the most powerful tool they have right now, and we can not play into that.
What concerns me the most is not weather Ahmadinejad or Moussavi won the election, because if you look at where the real political power resides in that country, you’ll see that The Ayatollah holds all the real power. An Iranian president is nothing like an American president. Iran is more Imperialistic than they would like us to think. Ahmadinejad won the election because The Ayatollah wanted him to win the election. Simple as that. They tout the Ayatollah as some sort of religious adviser or councilor, but ask yourself, what kind of religious adviser has the gaul and the power to threaten military action against a group of protesters. It would be a huge step in the right direction for the people to prevail and place Moussavi in power as president, but Iran’s oppressive political policies and any real change toward freedom will not happen with that alone. The only way we will see any change in Iran, is by removing The Ayatollah from power. Anything less would only serve as window dressing.