Schwartz: Dolphin, the Hawkeyes, and Being PC

February 24, 2019

Written by David Schwartz

Ten sentences on Gary Dolphin’s suspension:

1. Another mess in the UI Athletic Department.

2. Gary Dolphin is a 60-something-year-old adult with decades of broadcast experience: regardless of intent, he should know to not compare a large black man to a giant ape.

3. It’s clear Dolphin tried to pay Maryland’s Bruno Fernando a compliment, just as it’s clear that it doesn’t matter what Dolphin was trying to do – he should know to not compare a large black man to a giant ape.

4. Athletic director Gary Barta and the UI Athletic Department responded by squandering two major opportunities: First, because learning is a lifelong process, someone in the department could have pulled Dolphin aside to explain why his well-intended comparison was a problem – they didn’t have to suspend him; second, the UI could have demonstrated tact and presence by taking the time to acknowledge in detail why Dolphin’s words cut so deep, something like, “For centuries white people depicted black people as less than human, as animalistic, and because of that we condemn what Gary said and will work to educate him and all of our broadcasters about these historical trends to make sure this never happens again.”

5. To say the University of Iowa made a mountain out of molehill is to discredit the historical impact of Dolphin’s words, which amount to more than a molehill – perhaps it would be more accurate to say they made a mountain range out of a mountain, which is par for the course for this athletic department.

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6. As for some public reaction, well, show me someone who gets easily enraged by PC culture and I’ll show you someone who’s neither heard nor obeyed one of the most magical four-word sentences in the English language: Shut up and listen.

7. Political correctness isn’t a tool to punish white people, it’s a tool for marginalized and/or minority groups to exercise a degree of control over their own identities.

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8. Put another way, it’s a long-overdue method of stripping unearned cultural power from Earth’s Mightiest Victims, straight white men, by telling them, “You don’t get a free pass to talk about me however you want without facing consequences,” and its effects on straight white men brings to mind the saying, “When you’re accustomed to privilege, equality feels like oppression.”

9. Which is why what Dolphin said matters, even if he meant no harm, and it’s why the UI should have taken this opportunity to acknowledge the meanings of such language instead of fabricating some passive-aggressive excuse to get rid of an announcer they’ve wanted to discard for the better part of a year.

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10. Instead, they bungled it, again, just like the Dolphin-Maishe Dailey thing, just like the Jane Meyer thing, just like rhabdo, all of which leads to the ultimate question: Why are they so bad at this?

* Talk with David Schwartz on Twitter @daveschwartz.

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