Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Baseball and Race again...

I'm not a fan of the term "African-American." I think it tends to obscure more than it reveals. For one thing, not every American of African descent is black. For another, not every black is of recent African descent. If we're talking about race in America, we're really talking about skin color, and black and white works. Otherwise, you end up with stuff like we have in this MSNBC story.

Joe Morgan worries about the face of baseball. Watching the World Series, the Hall of Famer is troubled by what he sees.

His old team, the Houston Astros, is down 3-0 to the Chicago White Sox, but it's not their lineup that concerns Morgan. It's their makeup.The Astros are the first World Series team in more than a half-century with a roster that doesn't include a single black player.

Well, that's nonsense. There are at least 3 black players on the Houston Astros right now.

Ezequiel AstacioJosé VizcaínoWilly Taveras

Each of those players would clearly qualify as "black" for the purposes of racial discussion. Somehow, because they all come from parts of the Americas that are not located within the continental United States, the Astros roster "doesn't include a single black player?" Nonsense. If they were born in the People's Republic of Cambridge, MA, they'd be black, but because they were born in the Dominican Republic they're not? It's ridiculous.

"Of course I noticed it. How could you not?" Morgan said while the Astros took batting practice before the opener in Chicago. "But they're not the only ones. There are two or three teams that didn't have any African-American players this year."

"How could you not?" Well, it's easy to "not" notice it. It seems that it's much easier to "not" than it is to not "not." It's only if you're actively looking for things like that they'll appear to you. Is there a point? Wasn't the entire purpose of the Jackie Robinson crusade to have skin color not be an issue? Wasn't the entire purpose of the civil rights movement to have skin color not be an issue? Why is anyone bringing this up now? Is there some evidence that racism has re-reared its ugly head in Major League Baseball's roster decisions? I don't see it. Honestly, can someone make a compelling argument that there are black players being denied opportunities to play Major League Baseball because of their skin color? Man, if there is, I'd love to see it. The fact that there are only 3 blacks on the Astros roster, and that none of them were born in the continental USA, interests me not even a little bit...



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