That tournament played this weekend in the much milder weather of New Orleans gave the University of Illinois at Chicago Flames a chance to start out their season away from the Saturday afternoon snowfall we had in Chicago. But the rest of the schools participating were southern in nature, and most were the HBCUs of the country.
THAT’S AS IN Historically Black Colleges and Universities – the schools that date back to when black people were excluded from traditional higher education, so a class of colleges sprung up to create opportunities.
Those colleges aren’t exclusively black enrollment anymore, but there are some people who feel more comfortable trying to get a higher education in an environment where they’re not the minority. This weekend, places like Alabama State, Alcorn State, Grambling, Southern, Prairie View A&M and Arkansas-Pine Bluff got to show their stuff on the baseball diamond.
I’m sure there are going to be some people who will be offended that such a tournament is taking place. The Major League Baseball website is filled with nameless comments calling the tourney "a joke" and emphasizing they'd never heard of it before. But then again, they’re the ones whose idea of integration is that everybody act as though they were white.
They are the first to scream “racist!” (or their favorite taunt, “reverse racism!”) whenever something comes along that forces them to admit racial bias still exists. They don’t want to be called out on their own Archie Bunker-like tendencies.
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IT WAS NICE to see that Major League Baseball is giving this particular tournament some support and publicity. What with Dawson (who played college ball at the historically-black Florida A&M University) giving his name, and one-time Chicago White Sox manager Jerry Manuel serving as a consultant.
For what it was worth, it was nice to be able to ignore the Saturday snowfall that reminded us winter ain’t through by any means to see baseball being played – with the Flames overcoming a 4-3 deficit in the 9th inning to ultimately win the ballgame 9-5.
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Probably the same kind of people who get upset whenever anybody points out the declining number of black ballplayers currently on Major League rosters. They’ll argue black people just don’t play baseball that much, and we shouldn’t think it an issue.
LIKELY, THEY BELIEVE the lasting lesson of 2014 and the Little League World Series that the Jackie Robinson West team from Chicago is that a majority-black ball club can only win if it cheats.
Yet this kind of attitude isn’t limited to baseball and springtime. Take hockey, where also on Saturday several Chicago Blackhawks fans were ejected from the United Center for their racially-tainted taunts of visiting team players.
Specifically, of Devante Smith-Pelly, a forward for the Washington Capitals who is one of the few black players in the National Hockey League.
When he was sent to the penalty box during the game, Blackhawks fans taunted him with a reminder that they thought he was playing the wrong sport.
FOUR FANS WERE kicked out of the stadium and the Blackhawks issued an apology, yet the Internet is filled with rants (anonymous, of course) contending that people were too sensitive about the slur (which was “basketball, basketball, basketball).
Black Lives matter activists “can call for the deaths and killings of police officers and that’s considered free speech?... Enough of this out-of-control absurd political correctness,” one Chicago Tribune commenter wrote.
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Of course, the very phrase “political correctness” has become a way of judging one’s racial attitudes – the ones who toss it out usually are upset that they’re being called out for their own bouts of verbal nastiness. As though their free speech right entitles them to the last word on EVERYTHING!
The sad part is that it means we can’t get away from this racial nonsense even at the ballpark or the stadium. Even though the ironic part is that many sports fans claim they follow ballgames as a form of escape – what they really seem to want is to have their own close-minded thoughts reaffirmed.