Wednesday, May 03, 2006


The Post has an interesting contrast in two columns from columnists. One, an African American (and that really shouldn't matter, but in this city it does) says that MLB isn't doing enough for minority representation in ownership. The other, a pasty white guy, says that the complaints about race miss the point and are just the remarks of demagogues.

Whether you agree with one or the other, it's an interesting contrast, and it's good that the Post is giving equal time to both sides and perspectives.

Courtland Milloy says:
Indeed, the dispute over minority participation at the highest levels of the game is reminiscent of efforts to keep blacks out of Major League Baseball altogether. The cultural historian Jacques Barzun wrote: "Whoever wants to know the heart and mind of America had better learn baseball." A haunting thought, to be sure.

Baseball did eventually make huge changes in the rosters. But, as the critic James Early has noted, the game is not just a field of dreams but also "a capitalist production" with powerful owners who operate "as a cult, a guild, a cartel." And their hearts and minds can be just as cold today as they were under Jim Crow.

Here's what Steven Pearlstein says:
Barry, of course, is hardly the first ward politician to dress up the old-fashioned shakedown in the garments of racial justice. Back when he was running Operation PUSH, Jesse Jackson was not above announcing boycotts against companies that, coincidentally, had failed to promise to do business with designated black firms. But even Jackson realized long ago that the dynamics of race relations in America had moved on.

Except, of course, in the District of Columbia. Here, you can still get political debate about whether this candidate or that group is "black" enough to be trusted. Or you get complaints that while some black people may have national reputations outside the region, they are not worthy because they are relative unknowns at the District Building, as if that were a useful criterion for anything.

  • Update:

    Pearlstein will be chatting at WaPo today at 11. If you have any questions about his column, there's your chance.


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