As a Black broadcaster, how would I respond to a racially insensitive remark on air?


The news cycle has moved on, and the three teams advancing to the championship series and an impending Game 5 between the Dodgers and Giants should be the most important stories in Major League Baseball’s postseason. But over the past several days, I have found myself balancing my passion and my profession, sorting out the emotions of a moment that alienated a swath of baseball’s audience — including me.

During Game 2 of the American League Division Series between the Astros and White Sox, an on-air conversation between Jim Kaat and Buck Showalter went into territory that made me pause. In trying to explain White Sox infielder Yoan Moncada’s exceptional talent, Showalter — my former manager with the Rangers — shifted from glowing adjectives into Moncada’s value through the eyes of evaluators. This realm often takes us into objectification, which then takes us into property. And that is where Kaat jumped in. So in a cadence clearly meant to be complimentary of Moncada, Showalter asked, “Can we have one of those?” to which Kaat responded, “Get a 40-acre field full of them.”

From early on in the conversation, I had a bad feeling, but I didn’t see the punch line coming. When it came, it felt like it punched me in the face.

We could dive deep into history here, but, put simply, “40 acres” is a reference to a promise made during Reconstruction about granting “40 acres and a mule” to the “negroes now made free by the acts of war and the proclamation of the President of the United States.”

It was made while Abraham Lincoln was president and reversed in one political cycle after Andrew Johnson took office. It’s a very specific, very historic number, one that first brought hope — reparations for the devastation of war and slavery on Black people — but later, after a promise not kept, unleashed the terror of Jim Crow America.

Faced with this reference during a baseball game, I found myself stuck on pause, wondering how we touched on reparations for slavery during…

Source : espn

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