Michael Bennett Has Earned Our Respect. It’s Time We Show It.

By Jordan Schultz, HuffPost Black Voices

Michael Bennett is one of the NFL’s good guys, explains columnist Jordan Schultz in his article for the Huffington Post.

Michael Zagaris via Getty Images

This is why it’s surprising to see how Bennett has drawn the ire of prominent sports journalists, including ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith, as well as a local sports columnist. It’s unfair that his name was dragged through the mud. Bennett is a unique person and by all accounts a great person ― and he has done nothing wrong.

In an article published two weeks ago in The Seattle Times, Matt Calkins heavily criticized the Seattle Seahawks star defensive end for lashing out at a local TV reporter who was questioning him after a game. Calkins didn’t contact the TV reporter before publishing his column. If he had, he would have found out Bennett had privately apologized to him. Calkins penned an apology when he realized his mistake ― but the damage was done.

Bennett, who plays one of the league’s most violent positions, is one of its most gentle and caring people. The former undrafted free agent is a highly dedicated member of the community and one of the team’s most respected members.

In March, the 31-year-old Bennett announced that he would donate 100 percent of his endorsements to helping minority communities and empowering women of color. Additionally, he will also donate half of his jersey sales to inner-city garden projects.

Bennett’s honesty and conviction might scare people, but sports fans ― even those who disagree with his opinions ― should be promoting it. What matters is that Bennett doesn’t merely have an opinion, but he believes in it strongly enough to stand up for himself.

For more on Michael Bennett and his work within the community, read the full article here.

To learn about how race can negatively impact perception, and why its important for news media (including sports) to start supporting outspoken black influencers like Michael Bennett here.

Read about the crucial role that Black press has in our society here.

Read more Breaking News here.

Learning the Reality of Racism

Author Craig S. Keener discusses learning about White priviledge in the Huffington Post

Sometimes white people think that racism is a dead issue, because they do not experience it. Yet it is not wise to judge other people’s experience based on our non-experience.

In 1991, I converted to the Black Church. Unlike my earlier conversion from atheism, it wasn’t a religious conversion so much as a social conversion. I had been through the most difficult time in my life, and I found that the Black Church knew how to deal with pain. In fact, they had centuries of experience dealing with it.

I also had begun feeling deceived by my own culture. I thought the civil rights movement had mostly ended any serious problems regarding race, except for a few crazy white supremacists here and there. But when I began living in an African-American neighborhood, I would listen as friends and neighbors talked about a world unfamiliar to me. And I was horrified as some of the students at the university I was attending chatted about their almost daily experiences of racism. People had said or done things to them that I didn’t think happened any more, simply because they didn’t happen to me.

One day, after hearing my friends recount multiple racist encounters, I confidentially asked one of the students, Arthur, about it after the others left. Recognizing that I had lived a sheltered life, he simply recounted the story of his first English course at the university. He was the only African-American student in the class, and the teacher called him aside after the first day of class. “You need to drop this course,” she advised, “because you are not going to pass it. And if you tell anyone about this conversation, it will be your word against mine.” Arthur chose to stay in the class and, undoubtedly to the teacher’s surprise, he earned an A. I was horrified by the incident he recounted. “That doesn’t happen often, does it?” I inquired. He eyed me sympathetically, recognizing that I didn’t get it yet.

Read more of his stoty here.