My dad was not particularly liberal in his politics, but he was reflective of his era. However, he was very much of a humanist and I don’t think he ever discriminated against anybody because of color or sexuality.
There were black, asian, latin and Samoan skaters in Roller Derby and we never thought about it. And even when we played in the South in the 60’s and 70’s no attempt was made to change the skaters so the visitors would have the non-whites on them.
And I know there were gay skaters, both men and women, from the 40’s on. I can’t say that there weren’t incidents, because there were, but management never came down on the players because of their sexual preference. And one irony is that one of the strongest and fiercest of our teams (who won a championship) were as far as I could tell all queer except for two, and I am talking about the men and women squads. By the way, are queer and gay both acceptable or should I even care?
The reason that I even bring this up now is that I was listening to one of the Bay Area’s leading sportstalk hosts the other morning and I could tell he was trying to be “hep”. His new on-air sidekick was a woman and he was asking about her background, etc and she mentioned that she and her wife liked to do some activity together. And he immediately went into a dissertation about how great it was that she just said it and it was accepted and how did people like it, etc. She was bright enough to say they should move onto something else as people were probably bored with the whole conversation.
A whole election was affected by the Republicans shouting “gay marriage!” because of San Francisco’s decision to legalize it, and much bigger issues were ignored as the scare tactic effectively elected George Bush. And look at the banks, the mortgages, the wars, the disenfranchisement of so many Americans (and why the hell isn’t Obama doing more to help?) and all that has followed.
America loves red herrings: get the public focused on communists, minorities, gays, pro-choice, contraceptives, religion, etc and we can sell them whatever we want to get our selfish interests taken care of.
Roller Derby is its own society. The participants are drawn to this cult because there is an empowerment, a sister and brotherhood, and so damn much fun that just doesn’t seem to exist elsewhere. The biggest discrimination (mostly in fun) is what to do about Merby or dangle derby…
I’m a dangler, but it doesn’t make any difference and most of you accept me as I am, and I have no right not to accept anyone else, nor does any person on earth. And to be honest, as Groucho Marx said when asked to join a country club: “I wouldn’t join a club that would have me as a member.”