Friday, July 11, 2003

right-wing (il)logic at work, again, on WEEI 

I'm quoting heavily here from Jonah Golberg's latest column, but everything Jonah says right here can be exchanged word for word as the generic argument of the sports-media in this country, especially Glenn Ordway.
"It's easier for most Latin guys and it's easier for most minority people because most of us come from heat," Baker told reporters on July 5. "You don't find too many brothers in New Hampshire and Maine and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. ... We were brought over here for the heat, right?

Isn't that history? Weren't we brought over because we could take the heat?" He continued, "(Black's) skin color is more conducive to heat than it is for lighter skin people, right?"

The good news for Baker is that he's black. And, as if to prove his point, the social heat isn't too hot for him precisely because he is black.

My limited research reveals plenty of sports writers and other commentators condemning Baker for the "stupidity" or "ignorance" of his comments. But nobody seems to think this will cost him his career. In fact, the universal consensus is quite the opposite. Everybody seems to agree that if Baker were white, this would cost him his job, his reputation, his career. But since black is so often shorthand for "incapable of being racist," Baker's getting off with a slap on the wrist.

Consider sports sociologist Harry Edwards. He came to Baker's defense in USAToday declaring, "Dusty and I go back a long way, and Dusty by no means is enamored with ethnic or racial stereotypes." But, he explained matter-of-factly, "If a white manager made those statements, there's no question he would find himself in a group that includes Al Campanis and Jimmy `The Greek' Snyder."

Snyder, recall, made two terrible mistakes. In 1988, the CBS football commentator said that black athletes who descended from slaves had certain genetic advantages over whites -not all that different from Baker's take on history when you think about it.

Now here is where those silly republicans go wrong. Instead of arguing their core beliefs, they're stuck waving flags and setting off cherry-bombs to point out the hypocracy of a black man saying something "racist". As the Big O. kept harping at callers, yes, if a white man had uttered those comments he'd be facing a lot more scrutiny right now.

Here's the fallacy with that argument. These right-wingers are trying to expose the politically correct world of "If you're black you get a pass" based on the politically correct assumption that if Dusty Baker were white he'd be in a lot of trouble right now. Yet, if they held true to their anti PC beliefs, they should be arguing that the Dusty Baker comments are a non-issue and should also be a non-issue if they were spoken by a white man because there is a difference between saying something stupid and saying something that is racist.

Stupid is exactly what Baker's comments are. (To read John Rocker's racist comments, which elicited Rocker a small but vocal support in some very anti-PC sports columns arguing "give the man his freedom of speech" vein, including, iirc, even the Big O. was opposed to MLB penalizing Rocker for his comments in lieu of his 1st amendment right, click here. ) They're not supported by any scientific knowledge as so many experts trotted into the media have proven, but they are just the words of some old man saying "hey us brothers, we're from the heat, we can handle it better than you white boys from Maine."

Sounds just like Chris Rock to me, and while the subject of "why can Chris Rock make fun of how white people are different, yet its in bad taste for white people to point out anyone else's differences" is the topic for another entry all together, Jonah gets this exactly right when he counsels "Instead of telling blacks they can traffic in racial stereotypes, but whites who repeat them must be tarred and feathered, how about everybody just lightens up?"
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