Blog Tag

My cousin Kevin writes for the Baltimore Sun. I have always admired him and his writing abilities, (since long before he was published in The Best American Sports Writing) and I love reading his posts. He had one the other day that I particularly enjoyed, which isn’t surprising considering it was about sports, Montana, and Barack Obama.

Anyway, in my lazy NaBloPoMo state, I have decided that my post for today will be a copy of the comment that I just submitted to Kevin’s blog. I spent a while writing and editing it (not that I’m neurotic or anything…) and don’t have much left in me.

So here it is! It won’t make much sense unless you read his post first. Thanks, Kev, for being such a great writer and blogger.

Glad you’re back, Kevin. I really enjoyed this post. And because you said so many interesting things, I’m going to comment on a few…

I thought that Post article was interesting, and I was heartened to hear that so many small town folks were examining their prejudices during this campaign and also encouraging their community’s young people to travel and experience more diversity.

However, I’m always sensitive to the use of the term “diversity” to mean “black people.” When I lived in Montana, I used to think there wasn’t any diversity, in the true sense of the word. However, now, having seen other places, I realize that, as my mom says, “our diversity just looks different.” In a lot of ways, I think the fact that I grew up exposed to so few black people made me think that that was the only kind of diversity. When, in fact, I was surrounded by minorities with which many other people from larger cities may not be as familiar. Hmong and Russian immigrants, Native Americans, as well as members of the GLBT community colored my world in very important ways and helped me become the person I am. In some ways, moving away from Montana has made me realize this because the city I currently call home doesn’t include them all.

I would never argue with someone who said Montana was severely lacking African-Americans. However, I don’t believe it isn’t a diverse state.

That being said, I’m sure that some of the small towns in the Post article don’t include much diversity, be it racial, socioeconomic, or any other kind. Hopefully Barack Obama will be a positive influence in their lives in more ways than one. It sounds like he already has.

I loved your view on sports as a unifying force. Fivethirtyeight.com was a fixture in my daily surfing, and I always think about the power of sports when used in analogies. When I saw Michelle Obama’s brother speak, it was interesting to see the way the crowd reacted to his sports analogies… I had the same thought you did – this is something almost everyone can understand and relate to. Granted, the crowd wasn’t very politically diverse, but still an interesting concept.

Thanks for the great post. And welcome back!

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1 Comment

Filed under Bleeding-Heart Liberal, Deep Thoughts, Sportsfan, Sweet Home Montana

One response to “Blog Tag

  1. KVV

    Meg, first off, I’m honored to get linked to one of my favorite blogs, especially since it’s consistently funny, cool, and updated far more frequently than my own. In the spirit of Tag Blogging, I’ll contribute to the discussion.

    You raise a number completely valid points that, frankly, I didn’t think about (other than Montana’s Native American population) when I was writing my post. It’s true that Montana does have its own brand of diversity; I only wonder how often people seek out that diversity. We certainly didn’t grow up in a rural area. We grew up in the Big Sky State’s most diverse, gentrified city. And yet how often did I make it a point to seek out the Russian or Hmong perspective? Not nearly enough. Even in our liberal utopia of Missoula, I think people, for the most part, were content with associating mostly with their own kind. Even the Jews I know were limited to you guys and probably the Byocks. Regrettably, even at Hellgate, most of the minority students I knew were treated with polite indifference. It wasn’t until college that I really had a Native American I knew well enough to call a good friend, and sadly, that was no one’s fault by my own.

    On election night, I was obsessed with Montana flipping blue, even after the election had been called for Obama. The fact that it stayed red, and California voting to ban same sex marriage, almost put a damper on what was otherwise a magical night, one that had me wiping away tears every 20 minutes, (especially when Rep. John Lewis said he wasn’t going to cry because he had used up all his tears over the years dreaming of this moment).

    Afterward, I wondered why I was so obsessed with Montana flipping, and I realized it was that I [i]wanted[/i] to believe the state was more tolerant and open to change than maybe it really was. I’d heard too many people, including many of my own friends, drop the N-word into conversation over the years, and even when they began to understand that was no longer acceptable, the switched to code words and obvious falsehoods to make their point about blacks, Hispanics, gays and lesbians. I wanted to believe the state had gone through some some of the self-discovery I had.

    Maybe it will. But it’s not there quite yet.

    Which isn’t to say that every person who voted for McCain is uncomfortable with a black president. It’s important to point out it was probably about abortion for some, experience for others, taxes for a few (misguided) souls, and guns for plenty. But some of it was about race. If nothing else, I’m really glad the Democratic primary dragged on so long because I think a lot of people got a chance to see Obama up close during his trips to Butte and Billings and Missoula and, while most of them were either young or true believers already, when they take with them the belief that he’s not the boogy man Sarah Palin tried to make him out to be, that’s how we make progress.

    This post has now made me wish I could go back in time and sit with the Hmong kids in the Hellgate cafeteria, if only for a day, just to talk to them about what their lives are like. I bet we could have an awesome Harry Potter discussion.

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