Sunday, April 05, 2009

Give it a rest, already

One of Chris Lynch's pet peeves is also one of mine. Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe is doing the obligatory "as good liberals, we yearn for a color-blind society, and we'll get there by obsessing over race whenever possible" yearly MLB African-American count. (Because there's nothing condescending or humiliating about going out to count them, like environmentalists keeping track of the endangered Siberian tiger or Northern Spotted Owl.)
By our count, there will be 73 African-American major leaguers on Opening Day - about 9 percent of rosters. The breakdown:

Seven - Los Angeles Dodgers...

Five - Los Angeles Angels...

Four - [6 teams]

Three - [4 teams]

Two - [8 teams]

One - [9 teams]

None: Boston.

Ramon Ramirez
None: Boston
Manny Delcarmen
None: Boston
David Ortiz

I've said this before (more than once) - I'll say it again. There is no useful definition of the term "African-American" which does not include David Ortiz. Or Ramon Ramirez. Or Manny Delcarmen.

Remember, the ostensible purpose for counts like this is that in the past, there were problems with racial discrimination, which prevented players with dark skin from being allowed to play in the game. Remember that "African-American" is used to refer to Americans of African ancestry with dark skin, because the terms "black" and "negro" are now considered offensive. So in order for that "None: Boston" to be true, you can't talk about "African-Americans" - you need to talk about "African-Americans whose African ancestors didn't arrive in the Carribean or Latin America, African-Americans who were born in the continental United States AND don't have some variant of Spanish as their first language."

Does that sound particularly enlightening or important or interesting to anyone? Because it sure doesn't to me. Does anyone want make the case that African-Americans trying to play Major League Baseball in 2009 face any kind of inherent racism or prejudice that hampers their ability to get a level playing field? Seriously, are there any teams anywhere choosing "white players" because they're white, or rejecting "black players" because they're black? Of course not - teams are looking for the best players whenever and wherever they can. This is pointless and offensive, racial profiling simply for the sake of racial profiling.

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