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Tag Archives: Jackie Robinson

This past week the country, and Major League Baseball in particular, celebrated ‘Jackie Robinson day’. And in the spirit of the occasion I would like to offer up my perspective on just what it means to me to celebrate and enjoy this event. The Majors celebrated it with a huge league wide celebration, all the players across the league wore the number 42, and a new movie starring Harrison Ford just premiered.

While this day is important, and while I acknowledge and even appreciate what Jackie did and his legacy. I sometimes wonder, just what is the point?

While this question may sound flippant it really isn’t because in the modern-day quest of acceptance of many people, many people are turning to their organizations and governments to ‘do the right thing’. To legislate certain activities that some consider to be unkosher, that some others have no problem with. That some are trying to force themselves on certain organization that may not accept all their extra curricular activities. And on, and on, and on, and on it goes.

In other words, we could stand to learn a lot from Jackie Robinson, Branch Rickey, and even from the Negro Leagues. How they comported themselves, how they reacted to the world around them, from their failures, and their triumphs.

The principle lesson that should be learned, the first point that needs to be made, is that all of these people, all of the individuals, all of the organizations, were private. Unless there was some Government involved in the process behind the scenes. And in fact in many cases the Government were making laws that helped to prohibit and make it more difficult for the Major Leagues or the Negro Leagues to conduct business.

In the end of the day the story of Jackie Robinson was a series of bold and dramatic choices. Major League teams at the time, for their reasons, did not have colored people playing. The Negro Leagues saw this situation and decided to start their own business to appeal to a customer base hungry for the product they could provide, mainly black Baseball players. And then Branch Ricki, for his own reasons, decided to start a bold experiment and let Jackie Robinson play ball for the then Brooklyn Dodgers.

That was basically it. No one forced anyone to do anything. No one forced Branch Rickey to take on Jackie Robinson. No one forced the Negro Leagues to open their doors and provide a product their owners thought was lacking. No one forced Jackie to play baseball in the Major or Minor Leagues. And no one seemed to force MLB to go along with the scheme in the first place since, while his playing was contentious, he was still allowed to play.

The only force that was applied, it would seem, was from the racist ball players and fans who booed him, tried to bean him, or just prevent him from playing.

But other than that this was a private partnerships engaged by individuals and groups of individuals.

Now on the flip side of the equation the Negro Leagues did allow white baseball players to serve around the same time Jackie Robinson did. (Source) And as that same source points out the Government in the South made it next to impossible for white players to take the same field with black athletes.

The only force in the situation was being applied, by Government, to prevent businesses from practicing.

So what is the lesson here?

That if you do not like what some organization does the best solution might not be to force them to do something against their beliefs, for you could be in the same position when the Government forces you to do something against yours, but maybe to form your own organization. Maybe to start meeting in private home groups of neighborhood and city blocks and go camping and practice good manners and good leadership out in the woods and the trails of the US. Or to form your own religious organization where you can do whatever the heck you want when it comes to joining two people. Or your own Hotel chain where…well I think you get the idea.

And as for those other organizations? Well maybe you can wait them out. Be forceful, be polite, state your opinion, engage on the battlefield of ideas but if they do disagree, then let them.

And if they do disagree instead of thinking they have taken away some fundamental human right go out there and seize it on your own. Go out and love, go out there and associate, go out there and form your own businesses and organizations. They did it, why can’t you?

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I promised way back at the beginning of the year that I would do this, well now I am.

It occurred to me recently that with the push to 8/28 coming up and the time to Restore Honor in this country that this would be the perfect time for this.

Especially since it is also the anniversary of Martin Luther King’s I have a dream speech.

I have talked with several people on this subject all year and I have been thinking about this blog, and I realized that I have to do a variation of my previous idea of this blog. Same basic principles and ideas in the blog. But slightly different.

The attitude that seems to be prevalent, at least with the friend that I have talked to most about this subject, is that people get turned off by Racism. That they do not want to participate and how can we assimilate into the American populace when we are all being smeared? Why be loyal to a population that just lumps you in with criminals and hates your guts?

While I understand and sympathize with that position, and it does seem to be the norm (especially for first generation immigrants) there are other ways, better ways.

Especially since when I said as I was younger that I wanted to see all illegal immigrants out of the country, someone said, a friend, does he want us gone?

So part of the problem is perception you see.

I suppose that the best way and the best example to give of the point I am trying to make is in a television show that I watch called the Unit.

One of the main characters in the show related a story about him and his Father, and how they were in the deep south.

His father tried to get him a soda, but it was a Whites Only restaurant. So he had to pay a white woman to do it for him, for his son.

Some white men objected to it, cornered him, had a bus driver close a door on them, and then cornered him with chains and knives.

And as the story goes he gave a good speech to them, about brotherhood and peace and how they are not better than him for what he did, and the whites relented.

But in the end that this was just a story, and the character’s father ended up having to defend him and his son, to the death.

You see you have to provide an example, you have to be better than the people who would perpetrate acts of violence and prejudice of other people if you want to make positive change.

It is only going to escalate the situation, and make you look like the bad guys for any third person viewer, if you get down into the muck with them. But even if you do not and if you are proved right in the end it is still the wrong thing to do. To meet hate with hate and violence with violence.

Given an example of a better future for people. Reclaim the higher ideals of this Republic.

I am not saying to assimilate completely and abandon your entire culture. I am saying that there is a better way.

That even sometimes you have to put up with others racism to be better.

That it is their prejudice and not yours. Just go along with it, if you do nothing wrong you will survive and there is nothing they can do to you. The guilty will be punished.

I mean think of it if Jackie Robinson had struck back what would have been the result? If he got down into the muck and said, well I hate you because you hate me, or that I am better than you. That I am better and I am elite. He provided an example for others to follow.

Same thing with Martin Luther King. He preached a message of peace and tolerance for all man kind. Not just for blacks. But messages on the Republic and its ideals, he gave an example for all people’s of all races to follow.

That it was about the content of the character, that he provided the example, that he would follow the better morals of God and of the Republic.

That is what is required to restore honor because if we must restore honor then we must restore honor within ourselves and give ourselves a chance to breathe.