The gigantic elephant in the room

By DAVID W. HEALY (COLUMN),

As the sports editor of the Delta Democrat-Times, I spend half of my time with white people and half of my time with black people.

My life has not really changed much in the last few weeks, when I go around town and interact with people. I try, yet fail at times, to treat everyone I meet with respect and kindness.

But, of course, when I turn on cable news or go on social media, I see that the world is changing.

In my two years now at this newspaper, there has been a gigantic elephant in the room that I have not mentioned. It is on the subject of race.

Perhaps, I have lacked courage to write about this subject. In my defense, I have felt that no one wants to hear me critique or criticize this community. Every opinion on this subject has been stated a million times.

Also, in my defense I know that there are no easy answers to this problem. I certainly do not have the answers, but I am open to all suggestions.

To be clear, I do not believe there are many people in Greenville that are bigots. I also do not believe that our country is full of racists. 

But, I do believe, if these last few weeks have taught us anything, is that we still have a long way to go.

In our community, one of the biggest shames, of course, is that our schools, along with many of our youth sports, are separated by race. Our African-American children, by and large, go to the public schools. Our white children, by and large, go to private schools.

Doing my job each day, I have tried not to think about this too much. My main goal is to try and switch back and forth from all the schools to make sure that I am being fair to all the different athletes. I promise you that I have never played favorites. A team that is winning gets more coverage than a team that is not. The bigger schools get more coverage than the schools with fewer students. 

One of the things I have tried to do with my sports section is to highlight all the wonderful accomplishments of athletes in our community from all races. I have wanted to show, through these stories, the amazing characteristics that all of our fine young athletes have inside of them. In my own little way, I have tried to show us that we are much more similar than we think.

But, I am, of course, no hero. Our heroes are those mentoring our youth. Our heroes are those delivering food to the hungry. Our heroes are those in the health industry still working tirelessly to beat this awful pandemic. Our heroes are those bringing people of different faiths together.

I salute all of you heroes, and I hope you do not get discouraged.

I hope we all look inside our own hearts and see how we can be better. I know I will.

David W. Healy is the sports editor of the Delta Democrat-Times. He can be reached at dhealy@ddtonline.com