Sunday, April 15

Jackie Robinson Day

Today Major League Baseball is celebrating Jackie Robinson day. It's the anniversary of when Jackie Robinson integrated Major League baseball.
This has inspired all sorts of unusual suspects to comment on racism. At least to the extent that it relates to baseball.
In George Will's column that I linked to he writes: "Robinson changed sensibilities, which led to changed laws, which in turn accelerated changes in sensibilities."
Gotta love our changed sensibilities. However, as the Don Imus episode shows, the more things change, the more they stay the same.
I wonder if any pundits out there connected the Jackie Robinson story with the Rutgers women's basketball team story. But then, I don't really want to know.
A co-worker told me she heard someone somewhere this past week say that most black people deep down inside think whites really don't like them - and the Imus episode helps prove it.
How to respond to something like that?
I also read a piece in the New York Times today by someone who had his book talked up on the Imus show. Sam Tanenhaus wrote, in part:
It had become part of my routine: waking up each morning to WFAN and the frisson of hearing my name broadcast on the radio. Of course, I was hearing other things, too, and they were disturbing at times: slurs against black athletes, an “impersonation” of Clarence Thomas that didn’t sound like him at all (unlike the impersonations of white figures), but instead drew on the stalest of the “here come de judge” grotesqueries of a previous era; the almost continual soundtrack of leering sexual comments.
Today, in the harsh light of Mr. Imus’s disgrace, it is hard to explain why none of this bothered me very much. But the truth is I tuned it out.

On the other side of the page from Tanenhaus' column, there was a column about what makes humor funny. It got me thinking because I do find Sarah Silverman funny and she's much more offensive than Imus. Of course, maybe it's just that she's a better comedian. Or maybe it's that she's more attractive than Don Imus.

I don't know. I don't like thinking or writing about racism very much. Racism is too much with us. Most people don't care. Those that do care don't know what to do. Those that do know what to do are insufferable know-it-alls.

I've got to go running. In fact, that brings me back to the point of this post. It's a small world after all.

Turns out Jackie Robinson's brother Mack finished second to Jesse Owens in the Berlin Olympics.
Another quote from the George Will column.

Robinson's brother Mack had finished second to Jesse Owens in the 200-meter dash at the 1936 Berlin Olympics. Whites who won medals found careers opened for them. Mack, writes Jonathan Eig in "Opening Day: The Story of Jackie Robinson's First Season," wore his Olympic jacket as a Pasadena, Calif., street sweeper, while Owens found himself racing against horses at county fairs, "one small step removed from a circus act."

I love America. I love the legacy of racism that we live with that doesn't matter and at the same time matters most.


Blogger bl said...

It's wonderful the things we discover when writing somewhat freely. Following a link I dug up while producing that last post, I found these lines:

For this, for every thing, we are out of tune;
It moves us not—Great God! I'd rather be
A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn;
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn
Have sight of Proteus coming from the sea,
Or hear old Triton blow his wreathed horn.

April 15, 2007 10:10 AM  

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