Monday, April 15, 2013

My Jackie Robinson Story

Jackie Robinson.  It's good that we have a day set aside to honor the man. It's even better that we have a new movie coming out about him. We are right to regard him as a hero. He broke down racial barriers and helped pave the way towards a better America. Half a century after his breakthrough into the major leagues, an African American is now President of the United States, and the era of racial equality is that much closer.

But it isn't here yet. Racism is still alive and kicking. Oh, I'm not referring to the racism exhibited by the sad, tattered remnants of the Ku Klux Klan, or the racist attitudes subconsciously, and obviously to all but themselves, adhered to by Tea Party activists (much to their frustrated confusion). No, I'm referring to the racist attitudes held by the African American Community, and how difficult it will be to get it to let them go.

You see, as blasphemous as it is for me to say this on the day set aside for the first great black baseball player, racism is now primarily a black phenomenon rather than a white one.  But, after all, blasphemy is what we do here at the Sacred Cow Wursthaus. There is a prevailing inner-city mentality which seems to say that the sins against one's forebears are somehow legitimate reason to receive a free ride today, and that the innocent children of the perpetrators of past crimes should be made to pay restitution. In other words, two wrongs make a right. Or, the fallacy of children being responsible for a parents' crime (a mistake upon which all of Christianity is based) somehow holds true.

For once, complaints made by the right-wing establishment are correct. Hiring a sub-standard worker or accepting a sub-standard college student application based upon skin color is racist. Period. Afrro-centric racism is just as evil as Euro-centric racism. (Or Asian or Hispanic-centered, for that matter.) And Afro-centric racism is arguably even more evil because it is committed by the children of those who suffered under racial oppression. How utterly bizarre it is that the descendants of those who suffered under the lash of the slave-driver in the cotton fields are so quick to take up the whip themselves!

How even more bizarre that more don't take advantage of receiving undue privilege! A young, black male could write his own ticket with a crappy resume simply by donning a business suit. Why in hell are black youth bothering to not even pull up their pants, much less themselves?

You see, Jackie Robinson didn't ask that the bar be lowered. He raised the bar, and set it higher for himself than for his white teammates. He didn't ask for affirmative action. He didn't NEED affirmative action. To prove the point that he was equal, he excelled. He didn't just hold his own, he dominated. And in so doing, he proved that skin color was poor criteria for rejecting a ball player who could take you to the World Series.

And that's the secret: If a person can prove that the team is better with him or her on their side, that person will be accepted onto the team. Period.

But what Jackie Robinson did led to the death of the negro leagues. With black players able to play Major League baseball, there was simply no more need. Why even have a "black" drinking fountain when everyone can drink from the "white" one? And that scares some people. Integration means the end of black culture, and that leads some to defend black culture against incursions, even if that form of discrimination holds black people in perpetual chains. This, my friends, is why a young black man will refuse to pull up his pants, even in a political era when simply donning a suit will get him hired on the spot, crappy resume notwithstanding. Also, privilege makes us blind. We will do anything not to see the truth when the truth means having to give up a privileged position. For an example, just look at the blatant hypocrisy of the CEO's who decry the evils of welfare while playing golf with a handicap. (Think about it: How is a handicap NOT golf-welfare?)

I get to say these things as a white man because none of my ancestors owned a black slave. My lineage is not tainted with past sins, so I can simply speak my mind guilt-free. But I can understand the pressure some might feel. We need to overcome this and recognize that there is no us/them anymore. There's just us.

Whatever happened to the Great American Melting Pot? Wasn't there this great idea that all races would meld together inside the borders of the U.S. to make one, great society of people? I suppose that was only meant for Europeans. Americans were meant to be a mix of German, Irish, Welsh or French, but not Haitian, Mexican, or West African. I say we revitalize the Melting Pot idea, and call it the "copper kettle." After all, when we're all done intermingling, intermarrying, and interbreeding, Americans will have a kind of copper-colored skin tone, beautiful to behold. Penn Jilette said it best: The best way to end racism is to fuck white people. And fuck black people. And fuck Asian people, Hispanic people, Jewish people... pretty soon there will be no racism because - no more races!

INTEGRATION. It's not a dirty word, damn it!

Not that I agree with the word "race" in the first place. The human race is the only race. It's beyond obvious that continental ancestry or skin tone does not constitute a separate species, much less an entirely separate race. Dog and rabbit. Now, there's a difference in races. A black human and a white human are no more different races than are a black cat and a white cat.

When racial equality arrives, it will not have much fanfare. No parades, no bands playing, no confetti. And the reason for this will be because it came upon us so gradually, so stealthfully, that we won't have noticed that it did so. Eventually, someone will make an observation that goes something like, "Hey, isn't that weird segregated era back in the early 21st century an oddity?" And somebody else will say, "Yeah, that was kind of strange. I wonder when exactly it happened that we got over it?"

Well, we will get over it after we integrate. And not just integrate, but integrated to the point where we no longer are even conscious of skin tone anymore.



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