I had been an adult several years when I learnt what it meant when someone shouted “shotgun” as some of us got into a car to go somewhere. It did remind me of something my father had taught me when I was a child: if you sit in the front seat alongside the driver, do not fall asleep. A few things recently have reminded me of all these random tidbits related to driving.
Joe Bruno, who used to be an executive in Wells Fargo’s wealth management division, noticed that “diverse” candidates – a cringe-inducing shorthand used by many to refer to ethnic and gender minority candidates – were interviewed for jobs that had already been promised to someone else. When he raised the issue, his superiors first dismissed his claims and then him. He alleges that he was fired from his job for pointing out that such fake interviews were “inappropriate, morally wrong, ethically wrong“. This story, I am told, will run and run and is expected to take some interesting turns in the coming days.
Last week an 18yo with a AR15 shot and killed nineteen grade school children and two teachers in Uvalde, Texas while the school’s security guards and police reportedly not only prevented parents from entering the school but also stood around waiting for back-up instead of entering the school and tackling the gunman. One account emerged saying they had indeed “contained” the lone gunman, by locking him up in a classroom .. with the children he then proceeded to shoot and kill. Several questions remain unanswered at the time of writing this.
In a press conference, before the game with Dallas Mavericks, Steve Kerr, the coach of Golden State Warriors, made an impassioned plea to address gun violence. When Kerr was 18, his father was shot and killed in Beirut, Lebanon by extremists. In this press conference, his emotions from tears barely held back to fury were palpable. He mentioned how recently elderly Black people had been shot dead in a supermarket (in Buffalo NY), Asian church goers had been killed in Southern California and now children murdered at school.
Then San Francisco Giants coach Gabe Kapler said he will not take the field for the pre-game playing of the national anthem to protest government inaction on gun violence.
Shortly after the Buffalo shooting, Jackson Katz, who has spent his entire career working on issues at the intersection of race, gender, and violence, wrote an essay on White Masculinity & The Buffalo Massacre. He pointed out that while most media reporting focused on the racist aspect of the shooter’s manifesto, attention needed to be focused on that he was not just a white person but a white man.
Women and minorities speak sometimes in whispers, sometimes loudly about how they often know they are put in a recruitment process to add colour or gender diversity to the long lists. Joe Bruno saw and called it out when many just walk past.
Colin Kaepernick lost his NFL career with his kneeling protest against the anthem to draw attention to police brutality towards the Black community. Gabe Kapler has admitted he feared if he knelt it may be misunderstood but intends to protest the anthem against unchecked gun violence in the USA.
Steve Kerr called out gun violence against many different races, regardless of where they were and what they were doing.
And I’d urge you to read Jackson Katz’s writings and about his work.
These (white) men are allies.
In the causes about which women and ethnic minorities have been crying hoarse.
Note their voices.
If you want to drive change, don’t drive alone. Identify your allies. Bring those allies with you. Let them ride shotgun.
From 2013, where I address a commonly held misconception about feminism