The Glass Ceiling
Written by Dr Jim Tunney on May 14, 2018
On the TUNNEYSIDE of SPORTS May 14, 2018, #692…”The Glass Ceiling”
After further review…”The Glass Ceiling” is a metaphor used to represent an invisible barrier that keeps a given demographic (typically applied to minorities) from rising beyond a certain level in a hierarchy. The metaphor was first coined by feminists about barriers of high-achieving women in the U.S. Asian news outlets coined the term “bamboo ceiling” to refer to the obstacles that Asian Americans face in advancing their careers. The Glass Ceiling Commission and its definition was created by Congress as part of Title II of the Civil Rights Act of 1991. The definition says that although those affected can see the position they seek, it cannot be reached because of discrimination. It was created to diversify the business world.
Ironic as it may seem that glass ceiling is applicable in the sports world as well. Ironic, because coaches, for as long as I can remember, have always played the athlete who would help their T*E*A*M win. That lesson was taught to me by my father, who coached Kenny Washington, the first African American to play for the Los Angeles Rams in 1946. Kenny was the only black athlete at Lincoln High School (LA) that, in the 1930s, had mostly Italians, Russians, and many European-born students. Watching my dad and learning what it meant to be prejudice-free helped me in my teaching, coaching and officiating careers.
The Asian barrier, although still in existence in some places, has certainly been lessened with the influx of successful Asians breaking through that bamboo. Tyronn Lue, who was 41 last week and of Asian heritage, is an American basketball player and coach. He went to high school in Missouri and played college basketball at Nebraska. He was drafted by the NBA’s Denver Nuggets, played for the Lakers and seven other NBA teams, as well as being an NBA assistant coach. He is the head coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers, currently in the playoffs.
That glass ceiling is being broken today in many directions, yet still remains in a solid place in many locations and positions. In the NBA, Becky Hammon, currently an assistant coach for the San Antonio Spurs, is challenging that metaphor by seeking an NBA head coaching job. She is highly regarded by the Spurs’ players and has the strong support of Greg Popovich, currently the Spurs head coach as well as Adam Silver, NBA commissioner. There were five NBA head coaching jobs available at this writing and Ms. Hammon is being interviewed. That’s a start!
Will you support diversity that promotes qualified people?
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