Schuck's Clipboard

Being better starts with being able to see beyond color

By Herald-Whig
Posted: Jun. 1, 2020 12:01 am Updated: Jun. 1, 2020 1:20 am

Andy Douglas is black.

Does that matter to you? It certainly has never mattered to me.

So you might be asking, "If it doesn't matter to you, why bring it up?" Because it matters to somebody. It might be one person. It might be 100. I'm not sure who or how many people care about the race of the Quincy High School boys basketball coach, but someone does.

Otherwise, Douglas wouldn't have felt the need to share his thoughts on the racism he and his family have experienced the way he did last week on social media. It was eye-opening for some, disgusting for others to get a glimpse of what has taken place the past 20-plus years of his life.

Andy Douglas is black.

But I never have seen him as such.

Some will see him as a black athlete, a black coach, a black teacher, a black husband or a black father.

I see him as a sharp-shooting guard, a passionate coach, an engaging teacher, a loving husband and a doting father. More so, I know him as a dynamic leader, a strong motivator and a great friend. The color of his skin doesn't impact my perspective. His strength of character takes care of that.

That's why we've leaned on each for support and advice in times of turmoil. It's why we laugh at things that tickle the funny bone, rejoice in the triumph of kids and enjoy our conversations, whether they are about basketball or life in general.

Andy Douglas is black.

That gives him a unique perspective.

When hired as the QHS boys basketball coach in 2014, it was noted how he became the first black head coach in program history. He is the only black head coach running an athletic program at QHS and the only black head boys basketball coach in the Western Big Six Conference.

Only he knows what it is like to go to meetings or clinics or camps and look around and be the only one of his race. He's the only who has to worry about officials making calls against him or his team because of his race.

He also knows what it means to succeed in that position. It offers hope for others within the black community who want to be coaches and leaders. He is laying out the path for them to follow.

Andy Douglas is black.

He's proud of that, as he should be.

It's part of his heritage and family legacy. It's part of what has made him as strong as he is. His father, Jerry, and his mother, Trish, dealt with racism long before Andy was a curtain climber. Their relationship -- Jerry is black and Trish is white -- brought with it certain racial challenges, but they handled it with dignity and class.

All four of their sons have dealt with those circumstances with similar strength, even when piercing words were hurled their way.

Andy Douglas is black.

I hope I never have to write that again.

To get beyond the racial divide we are facing in the aftermath of George Floyd's death and the chaos that has ensued, we have to see beyond the color of each other's skin. We have to see the value in a person's character and in their soul.

I try to do that now. I will try to get better at that every day.

I see it in Andy Douglas.

I see it in Herm Senor II, the former Quincy University point guard who is enacting change with his philanthropic efforts in his hometown of Springfield.

I see it in Wayne McPike, the former Hannibal standout basketball player who is developing into a respected basketball official because of the way he interacts with players and coaches.

I see it in so many athletes and coaches I have covered throughout my career, and I hope I have paid each and every one of them the proper respect so they knew I was talking to them as a person, not a person of color no matter what color that is.

And I hope there comes a day when we're all considered the same color.

The color of humanity.