Sunday, July 29, 2007

Acting White: When Race is NOT the issue.

Today I took my daughter to see Barry Bonds try to tie the home run record of Hank Aaron. The record will eventually fall, but not this day. However, the afternoon did give me motivation to catch-up on the latest discussions of Mr. Bonds, steroids, baseball, and racism.

I have seen numerous headlines asking whether Bonds is being subjected to a double-standard of behavior vis-à-vis white players who have alleged to, or admitted to, use of performance enhancing drugs.

I have also heard blacks say that if Bonds gets an asterisk by his name in the records books, so too should Babe Ruth. The logic here, which I needed help to comprehend, was that Ruth set the record during a time when blacks were barred from the majors, therefore all the records of that time are suspect in similar fashion.

Regarding the asterisk defense, I would say that everyone knows that Ruth never faced the likes of Satchel Paige, arguably the greatest pitcher in the Negro Leagues, for reasons having nothing to do with either man, but rather the times. Baseball history will forever suffer the consequences of those times. But beyond this loss, sometimes the times should simply rest in peace. Put the shovel away, declare victory and move on.

Regarding the Bond’s double standard, it’s too bad that race goes so well with every argument. If we do not like someone who is black, it must be because we are racist, or self-hating, no matter what form of behavior that person presents to the world. Race is like the joker in a deck of cards, it trumps everything to the point of uselessness.

I have said it before; I am no fan of Bonds because he is as bad a sportsman as he is a great hitter. Blackness has nothing to do with it. I do not think anyone should have to pretend to like him or lay off him in any way, in some guilt-induced attempt to prove they are not racist. This would be insulting.

I think the absence of Aaron himself, a classy guy if ever there was one, says it all about the validity of this record breaking event.

James C. Collier


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Anonymous said...

I would have to agree. Overall, African Americans (and the so-called African American leadership) need to not jump behind every brother (or sista) just because they are brothers or sisters. Wrong is wrong, and though it appears that all ethnicities be they Albanians to Zulu tribesmen have a habit of not calling wrong when it comes to one of ther fellows, we need not fall in line with that type of mentality as it cheapens the issue, when race REALLY is the problem.

Anonymous said...

I too agree. And I think dj black hits the nail right on the head as to why it's important not to bring race into something unnecessarily.

Wrong IS wrong. If that is given away on the alter of racial solidarity, then calling out the wrongness (is that a word?) of racism is undermined.

Anonymous said...

Hi -
We posted a piece on this topic, with what I think is a very interesting take, a few days ago at our place. What I said (in the comments) is that two things can be equally true: Bonds is not a very likable, AND there's unquestionably racism involved in the amount and severity of the bashing of him.

As a Black person, I am torn about this, as are many Black people. I don't care for Bonds and I think he's a liar and a jerk. On the other hand, I also don't like it that he gets more hate thrown at him than a White player would. (I know it doesn't help that he takes no pains to hide his arrogance, and except for hospital visits, all the stories I've heard from people who've had to deal with him are quite negative).

The extra-added hate for Bonds is not a first. You see this all the time in sports. There's no amount of openly being arrogant or a jerk, drug use, drunk driving, or domestic violence that will get a White player anywhere near the hostility as is heaped on a Black player for the same or lesser offenses.

Anonymous said...

i agree with oaktown girl wrong is wrong but when a black person is doing the wrong its blown way out of proportion to the third degree compared to if a white counterpart were doing the wrong we have to aknowledge at least that