Monday, October 14, 2019
Equity, Equality, and the collapse of America's Greatest Pastime.
So I was in a conference today where this image was shown. We were asked by the leader to view the image and then tell her what we saw. My colleagues had some very insightful answers such as:
"In the picture on the right there are more boxes." and
"In the picture on the left one kid can't see"
My immediate reaction was to question my colleague's math skills. My second intuition was to ask my other colleague how he knew the student was vision impaired without seeing any of their faces. Both of these questions demand attention.
However, before I could make such inquiry I remembered what Mr. Fazio said in 8th grade art. You must always look at the whole picture.
The three people (to us they were given as representing typical students at our school) are watching a baseball game. Further, they are watching a baseball game they neither paid for nor are they supporting the home team's concessions.
And this is important. In today's world you can buy a major league baseball ticket for less than $12. So we can't say the rich, wealthy, disgusting, arrogant, bureaucrats are oppressing these three people. $12 is a reasonable price for four plus hours of entertainment.
According to Forbe's Magazine's article, ticket sales for Major League Baseball fell this year below 70 million tickets sold for the first time in 15 years. Forbes lists several causes (read the entire article here: MLB Ticket Sales Drop below 70 Million )
The article sites rain delays, too many strikeouts, and, yes I'm telling the truth, the fact that the Marlins started using correct math to calculate how many tickets they sold.
It is unclear in the picture above if this is the Marlins stadium, but it is clearly not raining.
Other articles suggest people would rather watch at home where they can play bubbles on their phone. Unlike the stadium, if you are about to win a round of candy crush at home you can simply pause the batter in mid-spit.
Again, these three people have taken the effort to arrive at the stadium. We can assume they have either taken up a parking space, bus seat, or subway seat that could have been used by a paying customer.
And that gets us to the heart of the issue. I can only assume that this image is on the level of photographic evidence and documentary. It was not only in my presenter's material, but apparently has been widely used by highly reputable organizations. This picture represents the type of truth one might find in a documentary narrated by Morgan Freeman or Tom Hanks.
And this picture is not really about Equality and Equity. It is about stealing from another person's labor. These three people representing my students are stealing from the pitcher, the shortstop, the batter, the ball boy, the mascot in the funny costume, the hot dog vendor, the beer-man... ok... maybe they shouldn't be giving him any of their money if they are students... the ticket seller, the club owner, and the janitor who cleans the stands. They are in fact thieves. And if I could, it is likely they didn't bring those boxes with them either.
In 1991 Dr. Lanza walked up beside me as I headed to lunch. He asked why I hadn't signed up for his creative writing class. I did, and his class changed my life. I then and there decided someday I wanted to write. Fast forward 25 years... After several careers I stepped into teaching so I could have time to write. Thus, here we are! Thanks Dr. Lanza!