I’ve Stayed Silent for Way Too Long

A black-and-white portrait of three adults and a child with a background of trees and mountains.

Lauren Holiday is a retired soccer player, former member of the US Women’s National Team and two-time Olympic gold medalist. Her husband Jrue Holiday is a member of the New Orleans Pelicans, an NBA team. Both were very private people until a recent interaction with police officers led Lauren to question their habit of taking racism in stride. She relates the incident and her change of thinking in this June 2020 essay in The Players’ Tribune.

Read it here.


1. Holiday is critical of herself for her inclination to deal privately with offenses and aggressions. What, specifically, is her criticism? In addition to the personal experience that she relates, how does she explain the relationship between her own experience and current events in the country? How well does she establish the connection? Explain the reasons for your conclusion.

2. The tone of Holiday’s essay is very informal and conversational. For example, when she relates that the police handcuffed her husband, she follows that disclosure immediately with “No, seriously,” just as someone might actually say when they see the surprise on their listener’s face. Identify two other features of her writing that contribute to the conversational tone of the essay. Is this device effective? Why or why not? Explain your thinking.

3. LET’S TALK. Think of a time when privilege—of any kind—has shielded you from seeing another’s reality. Relate your experience and your thoughts about it to a few classmates, and listen openly to the experiences that they share. What, if any, common elements are there among your accounts of privilege? What new insights have you gained from the conversation?

4. LET’S WRITE. Holiday concludes by acknowledging a debt that she owes, but she admits that she “doesn’t have all the answers.” Does that lack of certainty or incompleteness weaken her argument? Strengthen it? Why or why not? Should she have proposed a concrete action of some kind, any kind, for her readers to take? Should she not have mentioned the debt if she wasn’t prepared to offer some plan for “repayment”? Was it sufficiently powerful and persuasive to simply assert that she owes a debt to her own children and to the country in general? Write an essay responding to these questions, and include a personal response about whether you share Holiday’s sense of debt and, if so, whether and how you might begin to repay it. 

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