Thursday, November 12, 2009

Is Sosa’s skin truly an issue?

It’s Wrigley Field’s fault!

He may not have used those exact words, yet that was the sentiment expressed by Sammy Sosa earlier this week in trying to offer a serious explanation to the question being put forth by some people with nothing better to inquire about.

“WHAT THE #@*& did you do to your face?!?”

We’ve been seeing repeated use of the images of the one-time Chicago Cubs slugger who appeared at the Grammy Latino Awards last weekend with a face that had a funky glow to it. Some people say they think Sosa, a Dominican who clearly has African ethnic origins in his background, is trying to look white.

Personally, I don’t think Sosa looks like a white man in those pictures – although comedian George Lopez in his new talk show on TBS has made daily wisecracks about Sosa’s appearance that imply that very thought.

In fact, there’s something about the glow in his eyes that makes me think Sosa is telling the truth when he says it is a matter of the lighting in place when the pictures were took that gave his skin such a pale appearance.

HECK, THERE ARE photographs of President Barack Obama (particularly from his days when he served in the Illinois Legislature) where, because of the way the biracial man was “lit,” you’d think he was an Anglo having a bad hair day.

So it is possible that Sammy isn’t doing something too weird to his appearance, even though some people want to compare him to Michael Jackson the singer, who underwent so much appearance-altering surgery over the course of his adult life that the black man looked downright inhuman by life’s end.

I also believe that the people who are trying to create an issue about Sosa these days are saying something more about themselves than they are about Sammy. They’re the ones trying to make an issue out of appearance – even though what he does to his face truly ought to be his own business.

Some people literally have tried to imply a racial motive, as though Sosa was somehow trying to make himself appear to be less black than he truly is – a claim that Sosa himself denies.

I’M INCLINED TO believe him, because the reality of the situation is that we in this country and people in most Latin American nations have that differing perspective on race – the idea of people being “white” or “black” is purely a U.S. creation, whereas most people from the rest of the Americas know that most everybody is some sort of racial mixture.

So when Sosa told the Univision Spanish-language television network in an interview that aired this week he is “not a racist” and is “not like that,” he’s probably telling the truth.

For the record, Sosa admits he is doing things to himself. He says he’s using a special skin cream that has had the effect of slightly lightening his facial complexion – even though he says the photographs that have been garnering so much attention in recent days exaggerate the reality.

Since I haven’t seen Sosa face-to-face in recent days, I can’t say for sure whether that is honest.

BUT WHAT CRACKS me up the most is an interview Sosa gave to Univision that aired earlier this week. He explained that using the skin cream was justified because of all those years he played for the Chicago Cubs, who all baseball fans know play a disproportionate share of their ballgames during the daylight hours.

As Sosa puts it, playing all those baseball games in Chicago during the summer afternoon for so many years left his skin dried out and damaged.

I always suspected that attending day games at Wrigley Field was harmful because it meant that people were sitting in the bleachers getting drunk (how else to put up with so much bad baseball?) instead of going to work and earning a living.

Now, we know it also is a harmful place for the ballplayers themselves. Sosa is resorting to trying to use a special skin cream from Europe to try to “un-dry” his face and give him a youthful glamour. He won’t say which brand of cream he’s using, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he’d suddenly be forthcoming if the company were willing to pay him something resembling an endorsement fee.

THEN AGAIN, WOULD the company want it known that their product has had such an effect on Sosa’s face? As much as it might be his own business to do that to himself, the overall effect is that he is giving his face an otherworldly appearance that is just as ridiculous than some of the breast implants received by many female actresses.

If it reads like I’m saying it would be more accurate to compare Sosa to Pamela Anderson rather than to Michael Jackson, you’d be correct.

And the bottom line is that I really doubt that most people in our society have such perfect lives that their own problems deserve less attention than worrying about what Sammy did to his face.


No comments: