Racism is Alive and Well in American Sports and We Need To Start Asking the Right Questions…
“Asking how athletes should respond to racism is asking the wrong question here. Asking why they are still dealing with it in their respective sport is the more pressing question. We still have no answers to this question even more than forty years later.”
When the news hit that home run king Hank Aaron had died, the media and other personalities rushed to their platforms ready to gush and fawn over the man who broke many barriers on and off the baseball diamond. He was 87.
In reading some of the obituaries and tributes about it, I found the same phrases used again and again to describe him. The writers often talked about his “grace” and “resilience” to overcoming racism. Many even brought up Aaron’s predecessor, Jackie Robinson, who also endured racism while playing like the superstar champions they were. The pundits praised both men, calling them a credit to the human race because they were men who rose above racism.
To read those words….they were a complete insult to these men.
The lies fade so let’s expose the truth that has always existed side by side with this phantasmagoric world of white washing. The fact is that these two men lived in a world what was quite different than the world that White America experiences.
Hank Aaron stepped to the plate on an April day in 1974, all but certain to shatter the record held my baseball great Babe Ruth. Babe Ruth was a white man, which is a fact that has to be mentioned in a country where were constantly being told that race doesn’t matter. We’re told that race doesn’t matter, even as he received death threats and needed security for his children to be able to attend school. There was excitement in the air from the spectators with the number 714 about to change in one of the greatest moments in the history of the game. However, some had the antiquated belief that if the home run record were to be shattered, it would be by someone who looked like Babe Ruth.
But that wasn’t to be. Hank Aaron came along and shattered that myth with a crack of the bat. 715. That was the new record. The maddening anticipation in the stands turned into exhilarating joy. It was…