Just recently – Adam Jones who is a member of the Baltimore Orioles called out Boston Red Sox fan’s for the racist epithets they hurled in his direction as he competed at legendary Fenway Park. When I heard the news I was honestly surprised. Not that I was not aware that racist or prejudiced individuals live in the great state of Massachusetts and in all the other 51 states within America – but more so that fans would be so overtly vocal in that regard in 2017. Especially since members of their own team – whom they would turn right around and cheer if they were to make a big play – share the same skin color as Jones! The irony is as confusing as it is disappointing.
I could not help but think about what it must have been like for the lauded pioneers of the game who crossed racial barriers which stood tall – looming – intimidating in times past. Jackie Robinson – Hank Aaron – Willie Mays just to name a few. These gentlemen took to the field at a time when they not only understood that racist terms might come their way – but they expected them to. Men with pride – with precious little children who called them father while others called them names that were drastically different in nature. They were men with hopes and dreams just like the rest of us – who meanwhile were subjected to the vitriol that resides down the darkest alleys of human nature – every time they went up to bat.
I have been to the great city of Boston many times. I’ve visited Faneuil Hall. Walked into the old cathedrals like St. James on Harrison Ave. I’ve eaten at the mom & pop delis that line so many of their world renowned streets and taken a stroll through history as I visited historic sites in a city replete with remarkable human achievements. This is all before you mention what a great sports town Boston is and what great people inhabit that enclave of hard work and the distinct sound of words that drop the soft R’s. And so my immediate thought when Jones recounted his unfortunate experience was really? Really Boston?
Then this morning I wake up to the news that a turn of events had transpired. In a show of class the fans at Fenway, who once again hosted Adam Jones and the Baltimore Orioles yesterday, stood to their feet and offered an ovation to Jones as he came up to bat. This is the Boston I know and that I hope – if it does not already – will soon come to represent the majority of not only Bostonians but the American people as a whole. I have no illusions you understand. I am fully aware that racism exists and that it most likely always will. But, what I nonetheless believe can be and MUST be achieved in America: is the assurance that the great majority of Americans will stand against hate and ignorance. The same way Boston fans quite literally stood up against hate at Fenway Park. I believe that not only can we foster an environment where the “average joe” would be uncomfortable spewing hate filled language at Fenway or any other public arena for that matter – but that he or she would not even think to do so in the first place (in public or in private domains).
So kudos to Boston for showing the rest of us that in the midst of what has become a divided political and in many instances racial atmosphere – that good will ultimately triumph over evil. That though we cannot forget the past we can take steps to right the wrongs. And that while we have much progress to be made – that much progress has been made already. I am sure Jackie – may he rest in peace – and Hank and the “Say Hey Kid” Willie Mays are somewhere smiling because after their many contributions and achievements – after all they endured so that other people of color behind them could play the game – this ovation in Boston was for them too.
OREOS TO GO: Who else is prepared to stand?
More than a blog. It’s a movement.
Though there is much more that could be said, I will have to stop for now. But hopefully you will continue the conversation in your living rooms, at your places of worship, and even with that person of another race you just met as you were walking down the street in your neighborhood.
And also I do have what I think is another interesting plate of cookies on a platter for next Monday (you can share via social media buttons below), when I hope you will join me again to talk some more oreos.