Race in Sports

Caucasian Americans in Basketball: The Best Aren’t From Here

 

Is it just me or are the best caucasian Americans in the NBA all from Europe or someplace that isn’t here?  Someone else started a thread about Blacks in Baseball on my latest internet addiction site, http://www.DCSportsfan.com , and differentiated between "dark latino" players and black Americans so I’m returning the favor…

Dirk is from Germany.  Gasol is French.  Nash is Canadian.  Where are all the home growns?

Where is the Larry Bird of the oughts?  Is Kirk Heinrich the best Caucasian American?

See the idiocy?  (I just can’t rest until I find the appropriate way to prove my points…)  Sorry for that, don’t respond.

 

" I really don’t see why this is a big deal.  Black kids head towards football and basketball because they are sports most associated with hip-hop." Cadet04 wrote on the website.

Did you know that before black people took over basketball it was a sport dominated by Jewish New Yorkers?
Did you know that before black people took over football it was boring?

It doesn’t matter.  Both of those sports were around before hip hop.  Neither sport is associated with hip hop.  Of course most of the population of players listen to the music and are fans but that is about as far as that "association" goes.  David Stern isn’t a fan.  Neither are any of the owners in either sport.

Kids go where they are encouraged to go if they feel they have promise, regardless of race.

Now I could get into a whole tirade about how Hip-Hop culture is dominating (white) Pop culture and that it has been demonstrated and documented by a series of biters but that would be cruel…

You do understand that Steve Nash plays for the Canadian National team regardless of the fact that he went to Santa Clara and played "american" style all of his life.

I bet if you extended the opportunity for black athletes to play for a Black National Team, separated from the US National Team, that they would do it.  You missed the point, Cadet04.  We were talking about caucasian Americans in basketball, today.  Maybe you are wrapped up in the shortage and can’t see that all I want you to understand is how stupid the argument is that "blacks aren’t in baseball" anymore….

Just forget it.  But they never do, do they?

 

" If i’m not mistaken… his mother is white… making him half white…" Cadet04 continued on, referring to New Jersey Nets stand-out Jason Kidd.

Where were you in 1848?

Man, we could have really used you back in the day.

There is hardly an African-american (in America for three or more generations) that can make the positive admission that they don’t have some vestiges of a white slave master’s blood which is evidenced by our sometimes lighter skin.  By your logic Booker T. Washington wasted his time with the Hampton Institute because his slave master father made him white.  By your logic, Medger Evers should have told his lynchers about his white heritage and been able to get out of it.  By your logic the majority of the work of the civil rights movement was accomplished by white people willing to lay down their lives: Martin Luther King, El Hajj Malik El Shabaazz, Ralph Bunche, and W.E.B. DuBois should have realized that they were all white.

I know that it is 2007 but white people can’t have it both ways.  You see I’m the product of parents that lived through Jim Crow and I understand that the feelings don’t change as quickly as the law all the time.

I’ll end this by bringing it back to sports.  When I first met Jason Kidd it was we were both in high school and he had a high top fade and braces.  A lot has changed since then, but I have never met a white person able to pull of that hairstyle (like Kid, from the rap group Kid & Play) while going from zero to twenty-five while dishing dimes.  Not that this could make him any blacker, but still, when I interview him in my thirties he knew the secret black handshake.  Let’s just say that he doesn’t identify himself with you guys.

If I thought that what you said was in earnest and a part of genuine advancement of social progress I would have let it slide.  However, truthfully, I believe you to be ignorant of the America that we live in today.  It seems to me that you are trying to re-write your grandfathers rules and that is a slap in my grandfathers (half black) face. 

So clearly, I couldn’t let that go down.  Sorry.

 

"However, the fact is, he’s half white, and the NBA recognizes him as so, so does the government, the census and everything else. " MIilitaryRD continued to fight.

Should we go with the government now, that won’t erase the 3/5 rule or the "one drop rule" from the books?  Should we go with the census from 2000 or the 500 years of conventional black wisdom that said if you can’t pass a brown paper bag then don’t try Mr. Charlie?  You can’t have it both ways: white people forced this issue long ago and today you would have us believe that it was, or is, a matter of choice.  Well I got news for you: there was a time not long ago (40 years ago, minimum) when there was no choice.  I don’t know how old you are, but Jason and I have parents that lived through that period.   I’m guessing that you are young because you think that I take it "way too seriously" when the fact remains that white people made it matter of life and death back then.  Today, it’s mainly economics, but if you’ve ever tried to ply a trade or make a living it is a pretty big deal, buddy.

If you think that you can be half of anything, you are ignorant.  If you think that the NBA is the deciding factor on who is whatever, you are even more ignorant.  Black people have never waited around for your institutions to give labels, to read the labels, or believe in the labels.  Black people are the people that know that they are black.  If it doesn’t make any sense to you than you are obviously white.  Which is cool, but you still can’t come in today and say that it’s no big deal when your relatives and previous generations of forefathers were the original culprits.  If I were you I’d let it go, because you are right: this isn’t the place for this…  which was the original point of my original thread.

"Old black men are the bitterest people on this earth."  David Chappelle
"The sins of the father will visit the children." Bible

 

At this point in the thread Irish-Americans became irate at the fact that their suffering (“Irish need not apply”) in America has been wrongly downplayed and virtually negated.

 

Hmmm….

 

Uh slavery was a world wide practice.  The Portuguese started it, the Dutch perfected it, the English (and yes Irish) perpetuated it and it happened all over the globe.  There was no quarter for black skin on the earth, and there still isn’t…  Your family had the will and means to move which is saying a lot for the "oppression" that they endured when they got here.  I suppose your parents never got a chance to reap the benefits of say Jim Crow and that they staunchly opposed dehumanizing practices when they got to America to the point of activism?  The next best thing that you could say is that upon arrival to the U.S. your ancestors founded the Civil Rights Movement or something.

You might have grown up hard.  Who knows?  Your family might have had it tough.*  I don’t think that I ever said anything to detract from the struggles of the white man other than to say that he had a propensity to shift it to the black man throughout history.  The immigration sob story is a hard to sell to black folks because we were forced.  Even in recent history, excluding slavery, it is clear that there were advantages to being white no matter where you came from.  I think that if you gave any thought to the difference between being black or Irish in 1880’s Boston you’d see that your heritage afforded you opportunities even though both were limited at that time with ignorance and nonesense.  Pile on another generation, and the difference is, well, black and white.   Accents fade, names can change but being black is something else.

That was the point of the thread in the beginning, as well.  Those "dark latino" players that live near the equator wouldn’t be living there if not for the importation of slaves.  Show me the native Carib that looks like David Ortiz.  Show me the native Carib!  (In a few more generations here in the U.S., we’ll be saying show me a Native American.)  No offense to you, but travel and speak to the people before you categorize them.  Maybe you lived in PR and in Central America for three years like I did?  I don’t know.  I will say that you sound ignorant though because you do.  I chalk it up that way because your "white man’s burden" essay reminds me of the imp of the perverse.  You are free to say whatever you want in response, I fought for this country, so I think that these rights are inviolate.

*I’ve got plenty of Irish friends, and I’ve been to Ireland but I’m no expert.

 

"See the idiocy?  (I just can’t rest until I find the appropriate way to prove my points…)  Sorry for that, don’t respond." DICooper

It’s funny to me that white people today, kids I assume, say things like “half-white” and “I’m as American as it gets.”
It’s funny to me that a thread that I started to point out the inconsistency of race in sports, with race in real life turned into all-time great’s discussion.  (For that it’s going in my blog.)
It’s funny to me that a thread in which I expected no responses at all, turned into something so massive.  (It was just a suggestion and not an order, Cadet.)

Some responses prove that this is a really long, but perfectly good example, of why a high school in Georgia still has segregated proms in 2007: we don’t understand each other, yet we speak the same language.

 

"I was just trying to point out that while Blacks in America have had it tough and you were forced here, the Irish have been persecuted since history has been recorded and it has continued until the mid-90’s." Cadet04

What is your point, though?  That everyone has been persecuted?  I’m so glad that I went to an HBCU to identify the ways in which…  I’ll call them "Americans"… try to downgrade the African holocaust.  It’s nonsense to suggest the suffering is or was on the same scale as any other group, even the Jews.  That dog doesn’t hunt here.  You may continue to think otherwise.

"Here’s the deal though, Ortiz’ ancestors might have been black (in the Caribbean and Central America) 400 years ago or so, but they also could have been Mayan, Incans or whatever other culture it may have been, hell they could have been Spanish or any other trading nation that came through."

This is more nonsense.  As a man of Cherokee, African, and Carib descent, I happen to know.  I’ve been back recently and can speak with relatives in Spanish, English, patois, or anything else we mesh together…  Are you trying to tell me that two Mayans got together and produced someone that looked like David Ortiz?  I’m not saying that he doesn’t have Spanish, Mayan, Incan and Carib in him -for that matter white too, but the dominant trait that we all see is black.  (I have roughly the same mix.)  Are you suggesting that David Ortiz isn’t black because of the region of the world that he lived in before he moved to Boston?  What about me and my family before we were New Yorkers?  This is utter crazy talk.  If by "ancestors" you meant his immediate parents, you can change that from a maybe to a definitely black. 

Quick biology lesson: you can get the recessive trait from the dominant, but never the dominant trait from the recessive.  Thats a German monk’s (second) rule of Genetics, not mine.  No offense to you, young scholar, but stay in school.  Also, in case you were wondering, black is the dominant trait.  I would take the next step but I fear your head would explode…

"Sorry if you don’t like it but that’s the way he is, he considers himself Latino, not Black he just happens to be dark."

Two questions for your ignorance… Cuando diciste con David Ortiz?  Conoces El?

"As for the segregated proms in Georgia, ya know what can you do if people can’t get past their differences.  As disappointing as it is to see, you cannot force them."

Now that is real.  We tried that here in the US and a Howard man by the name of Thurgood shot down "separate but equal."  Oh but I hear that the wall they built in Ireland is really working out great….  Alright already, we get that you must have the last word, and believe me after this ignorance that you espoused in print, you shall…

 

Now as for Blacks in Baseball…

 

Baseball’s Declining Black Interest?

 

Yeah I’m running with the fact that overall, the popularity of the sport has declined in the US.  America’s favorite past time has changed overnight and I, for one, am sad to see it go.  As far as sports go, baseball has more pageantry than basketball and football and I think that the sport as a whole fits "U.S." better.  I can relate a story as to how my seventh grade history teacher could spend so much time talking about baseball as it related to the history of the United States.  I don’t think that anybody could put basketball or football in the same context because those sports haven’t been around long enough. 

The pastoral game takes can often take a great deal of time to play.  Kids of all races have a marked decrease in attention span these days.  You can’t get kids to read a book, let alone sit down for three hours.  I took my nine-year-old cousin (African-american) to a National’s game and I think that he was more interested in the stadium crowd and eating from vendors.  The game takes patience to understand the intricate strategies and the long term goals that teams might be reaching for.  I don’t think that either of those factors per se would make a good argument as to why African-americans seem to have a declining interest, though.  I think that fact is more of a knock on the current generation than it is to one specific racial group.

America’s game was effective exported and we are no longer the best at it: as evidenced by the World Baseball Championships.  This is a major blow to the founding country of the sport.  I think that this shows, overall, that baseball as a whole needs an infusion of new blood into the sport.  Traditionally this infusion has come from "new" or undiscovered talent.  I think that in the case of baseball, that new frontier of talent happens to be in the spanish-speaking parts of the world.  There are plenty of players to mine in Latin America. 

I guess when it really comes down to it, the best players aren’t likely role models for African-americans, either.  Until African-american youth can identify with say, an Alfonso Soriano, who doesn’t speak english like them, but looks an awful lot like them, it might be dead.  The best black players are either embroiled in controversy (a la Barry Bonds) or in small time markets like Minnesota.  African-american youth are just like any other group in that they look for their own in the positions that they might aspire to.  There really aren’t a whole lot of people that they can point to in baseball today.  The big African-american stars of the eighties had a chance to change that perception and in my estimation, they blew it big time.

I played the game as a kid when my history teacher introduced me to it, but I had Doc Gooden as a large sports figure in my head before I stepped on the diamond.  Eric Davis and the Darryl Strawberry were in that same generation of players that had me tuning in to watch TWIB for the highlights.  Even Ricky Hendersons worst seasons were fun to follow for me back then.  Now everyone that I mentioned, aside from Ricky Henderson, turned out to be a sham, bust, or didn’t live up to their full potential.  Sure there are the Griffey Jr’s that shine and the Tori Hunter’s that make it look so easy, but for so many teams in the league there are sparingly few that could capture anyone’s attention.

Al Batista, my seventh grade history teacher and baseball coach, was right circa 1989: "the best players in the world are in Latin America.  You watch, in ten years, everyone playing will be speaking *freakin* spanish.." 

He always did have a way with words.

 

Uh, …hate to break it to you but dark latino players are still black.  (It is worth repeating.)

Cuba and the Dominica Republic are full of black people.  They may speak a different language and be nationalized in other countries but they are still black.  They call themselves negros or morenos but they are still black.  More African slaves were brought to the Caribbean than into the U.S.

Get into your hypothetical bubble and time machine.  The year is 1850 and David Ortiz, accent and all, happens to live in Mississippi.  I don’t see any example in white american history that keeps him off of some white guy’s plantation and picking cotton for free.  The same goes for Tiger Woods, Felix Trinidad, Alfonso Soriano and even Derek Jeter.  If Booker T. Washington, who was lighter skinned than all of them was once a slave in that period, then I think that it is safe to assume that they would have been in the same category.  We could get into the whole "house" vs "field" argument here, but that is for an advanced class…

I can make a serious argument that white people started this nonsense in the first place because their illegitimate children of rape, with presumbably lighter skin, were also slaves.  (How convenient when it resulted in more revenue.)  White people even passed laws on it: "one drop of black blood" could get you sold in South Carolina, for instance.  The 3/5 Rule passed by Congress basically stated that if you had a drop of black blood then they would only count for 3/5 of a person in the census.  White america cannot have it both ways.

Any attempt to deny that "dark latino players" aren’t black is a feeble attempt at white people, in general, to pretend like the vestiges of slavery aren’t around today.  It also shows that there are still many ignorant people of the myriad of hues that black people come in.  There are plenty of black baseball players.  Most of them aren’t from this country, though.

Poder negros!

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