The GEM Debate:
Should The Elephant In The Room Have A Say?
We all handle the elephant in the room differently, but what’s the elephant supposed to do? Well, that’s what Doug Gottlieb is likely asking himself today. Here’s what happened.
As reported in the Daily Mail, Gottlieb was the only white male on a sports panel before the NCAA’s Sweet Sixteen Tournament; the rest of the group were black men. Gottlieb mentioned he was there to “bring diversity to this set, give kind of the white man’s perspective.” Oh, hello, elephant. Why’d you go and say that?
I may be wrong here, but if Gottlieb were black and invited to a panel of white people, those that invited him might actually use the buzz words of “diversity” and “perspective.” If the panel were made up of all contractors and Gottlieb were a homeowner, pointing out that he wasn’t of their profession, but was there to round out the opinions, would also be widely accepted.
But this is a white man saying these things about men discussing sports. And it wasn’t pretty.
Twitter lit up, some of the tweeters on the social media site were offended by what was said and a firestorm ensued. One comment in particular, and mentioned in the article, caught my attention though. Mark May, ESPN football analyst, said that this was the kind of comment for a bar and not a national stage. Hum? Mr. May, while I don’t believe anything wrong was said, I also don’t believe that being one way in a bar is acceptable especially if you think that that “way” is offensive (and I am still not saying what Gottlieb said was offensive).
I think people need to be a lot less sensitive. If all those guys were bald, had beards, or any other difference that had been noticed and pointed out there would be no problem. I think a lot of the ire comes from maybe saying something about black people and sports, but it’s so thinly veiled even I can’t really make the connection. There was an elephant, albeit a quiet, unimportant one, in the room, and it spoke up. Can he really not do that?
Stating the obvious isn’t a crime or an offense especially such that someone should lose their job. Gottlieb didn’t use derogatory language to point out the fact, he just kind of patted himself on the back for being able to bring a different look at the subject. Wait. Was it because he thought they would all have the same opinion as black men and, thus, his perspective was needed? I still don’t think so.
I don’t think Gottlieb was wrong to say what he said, but if the “diversity” was obvious to him it was probably obvious to everyone else in the room and watching at home. It was the proverbial elephant in the room. I think Gottlieb just figured out why we as a society usually leave that big, gray/black/white/pink beast alone.
What about you? Were you offended or are we a little too sensitive these days about what people say? Why do you think that is? Let’s talk about the elephant in the room!
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