Heads up: You are going to see a sportscaster’s rant against homophobia in football (that includes a drive-by on misogyny while he’s at it) be traded around everywhere today. In the video below, Dale Hansen, who is the sportscaster for ABC’s Dallas affiliate, is responding to Michael Sam’s having come out over the weekend. It’s pretty goddamn great.
The part many people are particularly celebrating comes at the end. Here we have this by-all-appearances classic straight, white, male sportscaster, a subsection of the populace not usually renowned for its wide and sensitive reading of identity politics. And out of his mouth comes a reference to the black feminist Audre Lorde. You could quibble that maybe he just found a quote off the internet, rather than keeping a dog-eared copy of Sister Outsider on his desk. Does it even matter? There is something enormously powerful about watching a man like this cite someone like that as he eviscerates the opposition in plain language that they are bound to find hard to ignore.
There is a churlish subsection of the “social justice” internet that could, and no doubt will, complain that having white male sportscasters voice these attitudes is unsatisfactory on its face. They would say that better than having white men speak for the aggrieved rest-of-us would be to have the rest-of-us have the white men’s jobs. There is a level on which they are totally right. Bring on the lesbian sportscaster contingent, I say. But on the other hand, the attitudes that most of the rest-of-us need to change most quickly are usually held by just the kind of people more apt to listen to what someone with Dale Hansen’s background and identity markers has to say on the subject.
Long story short: I, for one, wish there were a great deal more public moments like this. Moments when people who have the ear of the general populace simply tell it like it is. There are a lot of people in this country who still need to be told, early and often, that Being Gay in Public is not a criminal offense. People like Hansen can do that in terms those people understand, à la, “I’m not always comfortable when a man tells me he’s gay, I don’t understand his world. But I do understand that he’s part of mine.” So yeah, let’s share this around, and fête Hansen for being the change he wants to see, so to speak.