Shame has fallen once again on a powerful institution (run by men), touted as virtuous and good beyond measure. Disbelief has swept over, not just Penn State University, but also the entire state of Pennsylvania and throughout our nation. How could something so vile even happen, never mind be covered up by men promoted to leadership roles entrusted with the lives and futures of so many?
When I worked in a management position, I was required to attend training that addressed sexual harassment in the workplace. It was very clear to me: if someone told me that he or she was being harassed in any way and I did nothing–it was the same as if I was doing the harassment myself.
To volunteer in our school district or to help out in any way with children, I have been required to have a background check and was made aware that my involvement automatically constituted me as a mandatory reporter.
But in this society where “white-supremacist-capitalist-patriarchy” rules; men with power, influence and money can do what they want: even if that means raping young boys and being allowed to get away with it by other men with power, influence and money. Think the “good-ole-boys” clubs are a remnant of our previous, less-enlightened society? Think again. Those good-ole-boys clubs are running the show: they are in charge of our churches, our governments, our environment and our money.
Kevin Powell writes eloquently about the role of male privilege in this and other recent issues on his blog.
What adds salt to the wounds of every person who once looked at Joe Paterno as a man of intense integrity and dedication to young men and their futures, is the fact that there are [many] people who are actually defending him, even taking to the streets of State College to riot, destroy property and cause harm because they are “outraged” by the injustice done to their Joe-Pa-Patriarch. They are concerned with what will happen to Penn State’s football program in light of this blight on its reputation and pointing out all of the “good” that Paterno did for the college, the state and of course, for his countless players.
Please spare me.
It seems to be a lack of congruence when it’s a bad thing when masses of people protest because corporations are stealing our money for their own prosperity and are deemed “hippy socialists” and called un-patriotic, but it’s seemingly just fine when masses of people protest the firing of a football coach who allowed a child rapist to not only go un-punished but continue to defile young boys for years! As Marty Davis, publisher of Just Out, said today, “I think that Penn State might want to look into adding a few classes in ethics and morality to its class rosters.” Yes, I think so as well.
Last night when I was discussing this issue with Cher, I did in fact state that, while I was not giving JoePa a pass in any way, shape or form, I did wonder if he came from a generation where, “we just don’t talk about such things” and turned away from its uncomfortableness because the notion was so foreign to him. I even said that I doubt if someone had told my grandfather about an alleged rape of a child that he would have done anything about it; he probably would have shook his head and walked away, unsure that there was anything that he could or should do.
This point was echoed this morning by a high school friend on Facebook and while I do consider this possibility, I can’t in any amount of good conscience allow it to remain in any realm of my thinking, especially after reading Ms. Maureen Dowd of the New York Times‘ editorial this morning on the bus. It literally made my stomach wretch to imagine a person walking in on a grown man having anal sex with a child and choosing to walk away, call his father and later inform Paterno who waited and informed someone else who informed someone else who did nothing except alert the predator’s charitable organization so that they too, could do nothing.
That boy’s life was ruined and no one cared enough to do anything about it; instead they all chose to protect a man of power and prestige, who held a position of authority that brought in millions of dollars, instead of revealing him for the criminal, predatory pedophile that he is. Profit over people: even if the people are innocent children.
Is this kind of freedom Americans want to protect? Due process, Presumed innocence? No thank you. Not when the lives of young children are at stake. It is our duty as adults to protect those who have no voice and no power. I resent anyone who wants to shift the focus onto anything else.
I grew up in Pennsylvania. Penn State Football and Joe Paterno’s legacy was a part of my life and the lives of many people that I care about. I started my college career at Penn State and hoped that maybe Mikayla would want to go there as well. I don’t hope that anymore.
Yes JoePa donated massive amounts of money to the school and did some amazingly wonderful things during his half-century tenure but unfortunately, as many have pointed out, it’s what he didn’t do that will be his legacy from now on. Just because a person does a million good things and one horrible thing doesn’t mean he gets a pass. Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle says it best, Paterno got exactly what he deserved.
My only hope is that we can use this as [another] reminder of who is really to blame here. Don’t make me say it, you know who I’m referring to and no, my thoughts are not “reversed sexism,” because there is no such thing. Men need to wake up and get a clue, and of course I don’t mean all men; just the ones who perpetrate 95% of all violent crime in this world. The rest of us need to adopt a straight-up-zero-tolernance against this type of injustice. Only then can we move on. Only then can we possibly achieve any type of enlightenment and equality in our society.