Dear Richard Sherman:
My name is James. We’ve never met, so unless you’ve read my blog there is a strong likelihood that you don’t know who I am. Your now infamous rant was passionate and terrifying—as if you had channeled the collective fury of a hundred tiger moms. It was mesmerizing.
Listen, I know you’re busy preparing for the Superbowl (go get ‘em), but I’ve made a wish list of other topics that I would love for you to rant about. For your consideration…
Please rant on behalf diversity and respect: I was frustrated by the mudslinging and racist comments hurled at you. I can relate to a life of battling stereotypes and prejudices. I’m Vietnamese-American, which is awesome but has its challenges.
For starters, everyone thinks all Asians are the same. One time, a White guy walked up to me and asked if I spoke Chinese, but before I could answer he started speaking Chinese to me! It sounded very authentic and eloquent, and made me wish I also knew Chinese so that I could understand what he was saying. I imagined he was reciting a beautiful sonnet or cursing me for not becoming an engineer.
Do you get frustrated when people think all Black people are the same, when in fact the United States is home to a diverse mix of African Americans and African immigrants? It’s the same way for Asians. We, as a society, need to acknowledge and honor diverse cultures, histories and heritages.
Please rant in support of women: Last year I was in the downtown bus tunnel with my friend Amanda, who is a woman. There was a guy standing about ten feet away from us who kept making offensive comments and catcalls. “Ay! Ay girl! You lookin’ reaallll delicious.” Although Amanda was clearly uncomfortable, she didn’t stand up for herself and instead tried to ignore him. I didn’t like the thought of my friend being harassed, so I did what most men would do. Absolutely nothing.
I wish I had your passion and intensity back then. I would have turned around and said to him “Don’t you ever talk about Amanda! Don’t you open your mouth about the best, or I’m gonna shut it for you real quick!” Then I would have done one of those awesome dances you guys do during halftime.
As a man I’ve never had to worry about walking down the street and being whistled at, or worse. The people who bug me are hipsters and vegans—but that only happens in Capitol Hill. This is why we, as men, need to speak up and support women.
Please rant on behalf of underserved youth: I am so sick of youth being called thugs and delinquents because of the color of their skin, neighborhood they live in, communities they are born into, income levels, immigration status, languages they speak, etc. Society has somehow convinced itself that underserved youth are hopeless, rather than viewing them as sources of inspiration and progress. Youth are not the cause of our social and political problems; they inherit our problems—all the things society decided to kick down the road…like immigration reform (Justin Beiber could have been prevented).
I’ve had the wonderful opportunity of working with many youth, who despite facing numerous life obstacles, ended up going to college and giving back to their community. They are heroes. We need to stop blaming youth for everything from gluten-free diets to the 2005 Seahawks losing to the Steelers (everyone knows it was the refs).
We need your help Mr. Sherman. Your rant was heard around the world. It traveled faster than the speed of light. Even though you were just raving about a football game, people listened. For those of us who work in social justice and change, we rant every.single.day. Few people notice. If we had your ranting prowess, even for a 15 second sound bite, we could change the world.
So please Mr. Sherman, rant on, rant loudly, and rant for social change. Oh, and if you have time, can you also rant about people who have Asian fetishes? Thanks!