There will be those in the GOP and Tea Party who will read this and dismiss it as “playing the race card”, or apologizing for what they perceive as a “failed Presidency”. Well, as the current slang goes… “Put on your big girl panties, find a comfortable seat and let’s get this done!”
When Jackie Robinson broke into the Major Leagues, many in the white community viewed it as a sacrilege foisted on the “Grand Old Game”.
Truth was, Black people had been playing organized baseball for as long as the “Major Leagues” were around, and whenever the two “leagues” put on an exhibition, the white players were usually surprised and intimidated by what they saw. Many experts who saw these men in their prime felt that Josh Gibson was a better all-around player than Babe Ruth or Lou Gehrig.
There were many in the old Negro Leagues who felt that Jackie Robinson wasn’t even in the top ten of best “colored” players of his era. But as he and Branch Rickey would prove later, Jackie had something the other players in the Negro League didn’t have; the ability to take insults, death threats against himself and his family and ostracizing from his own teammates without retaliation or an angry outburst.
What Jackie accomplished in that breakthrough year was to show America and perhaps the world that a Black man could carry himself with dignity and self-respect without succumbing to the urge to tell his racist tormentors where they could shove their venom.
Barak Obama in his own way has done the same thing, but on a grander scale. While others came to his defense, pointing out the racism he was being subjected to, he personally remained quiet, joking about Eastwood’s chair or Trump’s “carney barking”.
By any measurement, the forty-fourth President of the United States inherited a mess. But after the Oath of Office was fumbled through and he finally got to step into the pile of problems he’d just got elected to solve, Barak Obama also found himself facing something no other President has ever faced; racism.
In the face of all this man has done, the collective denial on the part of the right is astounding. But more to the point, there seems to be a collective blindness about whom we have in our midst, and it isn’t Satan or the Anti-Christ.
We have a pioneer, someone who knows his place in History and is determined not to mess it up by giving in to the hate that’s been his constant companion since he won the election – the first time.
Then as now, there are people in this country who adamantly believe that this man is unqualified to hold the office he has been re-elected to hold.
When confronted with their naked racism and hatred they respond without exception – in public; “I’m not a racist”. The question I’ve always had when I hear that response is; well in your opinion what exactly is a racist, and wouldn’t your words and actions qualify you for that “title”? What they say in private is another matter that I really don’t need to address here.
What I am addressing here is the idea that somehow racism is an ingrained part of American life. For better or worse (mostly worse), we are who we are. Once people saw that Jackie could hit and field as good as or better than his peers, he was accepted and later actually held up by the white community as maybe the first of his kind icon in sports and life in general.
Stop grinding your teeth conservatives, I’m almost done.
In the final analysis, Barak Obama will not be judged by you or me. He will be judged by the footprints he leaves on the American landscape. Once the Baby Boomer generation and the “greatest American Generation” passes from the scene, the small minded, the bigots, the fools’ denial of their words and actions will resonate only as a sad commentary on a dark chapter in our lives – put to rest by another icon.
So YES, I just played the “Race Card”. Ignore racism publicly if you wish, but many of us with as much stake in our country as those whose venom taints us all, will not.