Milestone. We love all our grandchildren. One of them achieved a milestone this week. Andrea Tilstra earned her Ph.D. from The University of Colorado. We had the privilege of watching her dissertation defense via zoom. She will begin a three-year post doc at Oxford University in England in August.

I remember the fear and trembling I had before my Ph.D. defense. I was very proud of how she handled herself.

Basketball. I was not sure how the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship Tournament would go without several of the traditional powerhouses in the field. Although several of you are sad for your favorite team, I hope everyone is enjoying the excitement of upsets and fun basketball.

Two issues are boiling around the tournament — first, paying the players and second, equal gender treatment.

The first issue is not easy and is even being debated within the Supreme Court at the present time. As Charles Barkley pointed out, to dismiss the value of a paid college education is wrong. Players are getting paid. But they are also be used by men who get paid millions and millions of dollars even after they are fired. It does not seem fair to many people for coaches to get millions of dollars after being fired and the players to get nothing beyond the cost of their education and a small stipend.

As for gender equity, I would like to know the whole story. The NCAA staff member in charge of Championships is Jodi Comstock. Lynn Holzman is VP for Women’s Basketball. How the differences between the men and women’s weight rooms occurred with two women in responsible position needs to be explained.

P.S. My pick is the obvious one — Gonzaga.

As for the women — I was rooting for Baylor so I just will root against Connecticut.

Human Issues. In the May 22 edition of AL.com Roy Johnson wrote an essay about the mass shooting in Atlanta.  I like his work but felt I needed to respond so I wrote the following:

Dear Roy,

I would like to suggest one change in your thinking expressed in your otherwise excellent May 22 article on prejudicial attacks on Asian-Americans. You couch the attacks as White Supremacy. I encourage you to broaden your perspective and see the issue as a human problem.

One only need to read of attacks on Asian-Americans by Blacks in Oakland California to see the issue as a human problem.

One need only read about the problems of discrimination in China and India to see the issue as a human problem.

The problems associated with discrimination and prejudice are problems of human nature and not exclusively a white problem. The young man in Atlanta may have acted out of the need to feel superior to others on the basis of skin color but he is one person at one moment in history.

In my opinion, the problem of prejudicial attitudes and behaviors is a problem all humans act on in one way or another, at one time or another. I see the problem as all humans living in a mutual struggle trying to understand and overcoming prejudice. If I am right, to single out whites for a universal problem is prejudice, the very attitude we are trying to overcome.

Continual efforts to make prejudice an exclusively white problem hinders progress.

If I am right and the issue is a human issue, your words, while not hateful, are hurtful to the struggle to overcome prejudice and as you are well aware– words matter.

Please just give the topic some thought.

Sincerely.

Jerry Williams

Since I wrote him, a Black male was caught on camera attacking an elderly Asian-American woman in New York City. In the report I read, he was heard calling her prejudice names so it is being labeled a hate crime. I believe this adds evidence to my argument – our battle is about human nature and we will make more progress if we think of prejudice as a human problem.

I was not sure about the word happy, but I checked and my source says it is acceptable to wish a Happy Passover.

Similarly, although Easter is a time for serious, somber reflection for me, I still wish a Happy Easter.

Have a great week everyone.

Peace

Jerry


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