Dale Hansen is a sports anchor on WFAA 8, ABC’s Dallas TV station. He was born in 1948 in Iowa and raised by a father who he admits used a racial slur like it was “a proper noun.” Dale Hansen is a self-admitted “fat, old white guy” and if you were going by stereotypes, you wouldn’t expect a white man in his 60s from the Midwest to be progressive when it comes to issues of race or gay rights.
Yet, he did just that a year ago and his video went viral when he discussed Michael Sam and called out the NFL for looking the other way on domestic violence or drug abuse, but having an issue with an openly gay player in their ranks. Here’s what he said:
“You beat a woman and drag her down a flight of stairs, pulling her hair out by the roots? You’re the fourth guy taken in the NFL draft… You kill people while driving drunk? That guy’s welcome… Players caught in hotel rooms with illegal drugs and prostitutes? We know they’re welcome… Players accused of rape and pay the woman to go away? You lie to police trying to cover up a murder? We’re comfortable with that… You love another man? Well, now you’ve gone too far! It wasn’t that long ago when we were being told that black players couldn’t play in ‘our’ games because it would be ‘uncomfortable.’” (Source)
Recently, another video from a self-described “Alabama redneck” also blew up social media when Jeremy Addaway sarcastically described the effect gay marriage being legalized in Alabama was having on his county, and how it was personally impacting him. He also did a followup video and an interview with our Erin Nanasi in which he talked about how working with a lesbian boat captain changed his mind on marriage equality.
These stories are so popular because Dale Hansen, Jeremy Addaway and other white men from the South and Midwest are expected to be racist and homophobic rednecks, especially if they were born before segregation was outlawed. For someone to break this stereotype and come out for tolerance is almost sure to suddenly fill your Facebook feed with stories from hundreds of websites talking about how shocking it is that some redneck is actually perfectly OK with gay marriage.
At a recent basketball game in Flower Mound, a Dallas suburb, students held up signs which when put together, said “white power” and it quickly spread on Twitter. Local columnist Jacquielynn Floyd described it as an embarrassment to the school, the town of Flower Mound, and the state of Texas.
Students of Flower Mound and many parents tried to make excuses for the signs, something Dale Hansen wasn’t having any of when he called them and the school district out for trying to pretend it was a mistake:
The kids who hold the signs and chant their racist slurs — and it’s not all of them; it never is — but their ignorance perpetuates the stereotype of all of us in Texas as a racist, ignorant people.
But that ignorance will be replaced someday by the wisdom they learn when they live in the real world; when they meet the people who don’t look like them, didn’t grow up the way they did.
The people who make this life worth living.
They will change. Not all of them; it never is. But they will change. I did, a long time ago. They can, too. But not if we try to defend what you can not defend.
And not if we stay silent, and think taking their signs away is doing enough.” (Source)
Dale Hansen is right. If residents of Texas and other states don’t want to be seen as racist and ignorant, then they need to call out the people who are. I know that here in Louisiana, all you have to do is go on a local TV station’s Facebook page and you’ll find all sorts of racial, sexist, homophobic and other downright idiotic statements. This isn’t just in Louisiana, or in Texas or even the South. This is a problem throughout America and it is our duty as progressives, liberals or even conservatives to stand up against this hatred, wherever we may encounter it.
Watch Dale Hansen’s entire statement below courtesy of WFAA:
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