Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Published on April 26th, 2021
The words in the headline are hot topics these days, and the underlying theme for there to be progress in these areas is opportunity. But it is also important to understand that opportunity is not simply opening the door, but understanding how everyone’s path is different. Geoffrey Emanuel (Falmouth, ME) shares his experience:
I grew up in the 1970s racing a Swan 44 and a Baltic 39 owned by my parents. I was spoilt beyond repair skippering these boats as a precocious and obnoxious teenager. My friends were the primary crew members and we were all White.
However, we stood out in a crowd because my Mom participated in many races and half the crew were girls. In the 1970s, females on large racing sailboats were as scarce as Minorities are today.
The gals that raced with me were not granted any special treatment or favors. They performed at as high a level as any of the guys. I always believed we had an advantage over our competition because we accessed a loyal, competent and fun group of girls that other boats for whatever set of reasons weren’t.
But most importantly, I believe we all felt it was entirely natural to have guys and gals sailing together.
Identity politics is diverting us from a fundamental goal in this country that I believe we had been progressing towards nicely, albeit slowly over the past 55 years: that only the content of one’s character should distinguish one from another; one’s ability, desire and commitment should be the only thing that matters and that all people should have an equal opportunity to access every part of our great country.
If our existing yacht clubs and community sailing organizations recruit students based on these criteria, we can and will expand our sport and delight a whole new generation of a far more diverse group of people.