Today is Jackie Robinson Day. All players, field personnel and umpires from ALL THIRTY Major League Baseball teams will have the honor of wearing Jack’s #42 jersey. For those who have a bye today, they have been granted permission to celebrate their game tomorrow. The Los Angeles Dodgers will be hosting the Colorado Rockies at the Ravine. Adhering to Covid-19 protocols there will be approximately 19,000 (28%) fans in attendance.
October 16, 1968 is well over 50 years ago. Tommie Smith captured gold while setting a world record in the men’s 200 meters final with a time of 19.83 at the 1968 Olympics held in Mexico City. Worldwide 1968 was an iconic year.
At the time Smith’s gesture was seen as one of the worse sins a person could make. That is based on the perspective of Olympic officials and many who were in denial of world-wide social unrest, particularly right in the United States. It took years and for some over a half-century to understand and finally recognize the importance of the gesture made by Smith, John Carlos and Peter Norman in accepting their medals.
“With Drawn Arms” came out in 2020. It was a great piece produced by Glenn Kaino. It is noted in the documentary that Olympic athletes are usually featured on the Wheaties Box. Unfortunately Smith was passed up. It took over 50 years as someone from Wheaties must have been paying attention or perhaps it was nudging by Kaino but the box recently came out. I was in Panama in December 2020 and received an email from Wheaties that the commemorative box would be produced and advance orders were being taken. The production is outstanding and three months later my box arrived today. By the way, it was even full of Wheaties!!!! Either way, as an Olympic aficionado, particularly the ’68 games I am honored to add the box to my Olympic memorabilia.
TO GET YOUR SPECIAL BOX CLICK HERE
[Manhattan Beach, CA – April 10, 2020] Protest is an American right. Some who do not like it or attempt to marginalize its effectiveness always ask the rhetorical question why is it necessary? The strategy of a protest is not a fix-all or immediate remedy. Instead, its main thrust is to raise awareness of an issue or an incident. Bruce’s Beach has been around for over 100 years. It pops in the news every so often then disappears. The George Floyd murder on May 25, 2020 brought a public outcry not seen in years. People from all walks of lives and various ethnicities, including many Whites raised their voices to the injustice they witnessed from social media footage. A residual effect of the Floyd issue elevated the Black Lives Matter movement to a special status, whereas four years earlier they were vilified and mischaracterized as some type of violent force. Their presence created an awareness for many to allow their voice to be heard on social issues around the globe.
Manhattan Beach is a tony beach community nestled along the shorelines of Southern California. It has the appearance of a very progressive tolerant community. But like all things it has its history and was recently thrust in the news on April 9, 2021 by Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn during a press conference led by her, Supervisor Holly Mitchell, State Senator Steven Bradford and various public officials. It just so happens that even though the property is in Manhattan Beach, the County of Los Angeles is the current owner and that is why Hahn led the conference.
Bruce’s Beach was a venue created by Charles and Willa Bruce in 1912. Their goal was pretty straightforward – to create a place for African-Americans to enjoy the beach. History and context are two important parallels. Southern California, specifically the greater Los Angeles area was experiencing a population boom. As Slavery was legally outlawed and followed by Reconstruction many decided it was better to “start-over” than deal with Jim Crow or “southern traditions.” Those African-Americans who could make the migration from the South did so. Unfortunately, Jim Crow as a vestige of White Supremacy followed them as it was dominant in areas some thought were off-limits, such as Manhattan Beach.
As a native of Los Angeles I had never heard of this place! I was fortunate as my parents stressed education and I have been blessed to travel and experience other cultures. About ten years ago I made a decision to become more informed, particularly African-American history. Racism was happening then and it still permeates our society today.” Larry Wiggs, II
A new beginning
The Bruce’s left New Mexico and discovered Manhattan Beach. Mr. Bruce was a pullman porter so he was away most of the time. Thus, Bruce’s Beach was opened and operated by Willa. Even though the venture was successful, some White’s simply could not accept the fact of African-American’s creating a haven for themselves. The Bruce’s dealt with harassment, violence and other acts of organized intimidation until finally the City of Manhattan Beach used eminent domain to force them out. The Bruce’s dream of tranquility and peace faced the reality of overt racial discrimination. In 1912, they paid $1,225 to acquire their coveted piece of property. In 1924 The city paid them $14,500 as compensation and told them to move on.
The Bruce’s story is compelling. Unfortunately, there are many noteworthy examples of African-Americans being stripped of their resources and the final chapter of what happened has never been told, hidden in recorded documents or marginalized as if nothing nefarious occurred.
What Hahn communicated yesterday is historic. You hear all of the time of the wealth-gap? For many African Americans the gap is a direct result of their ancestors having their property or assets stripped from them, thus there was nothing to “pass down.” At the same time, some whites will rightfully argue they were not involved in Slavery or did not create any of the ills which caused the gap. Historians have rightfully defined “white privilege.” The Bruce’s Beach issue puts the topic right back on the table – the legacy of wealth.
Why is it hard to discuss Reparations?
Reparations appears more complicated than it really is. History notes various groups in the past have been made whole in some fashion. It only turns into a huge problem or something not to be discussed when attempting to deal with the descendants of enslaved Africans. You heard the lady in the clip pose the question what is all of the fuss about? After all, eminent domain is a legal process municipalities can use to acquire property for the public good the Bruce’s were paid something! The issue specifically related to the Bruce’s is the city wanted to rid itself of a racial problem and used eminent domain as the resolution. The question remains what legacy could the Bruce’s have left their heirs had race not been the issue to force them to leave?
I’m from Burbank and saw the news about the beach, so I needed to see it for myself. I knew about certain groups being discriminated against but I was shocked to see racial covenants were enforced to keep Blacks from buying homes in many parts of Los Angeles.” An anonymous middle-aged White man
The word reparations scares the hell out of people, primarily because they do not understand it. Interestingly in the past political leaders or those in power acknowledge making various ethnic groups “whole” who have been harmed by White Supremacy or racist behavior as a necessary remedy towards reconciliation. That is, unless those harmed are African-American. Hopefully Hahn and other leaders will spur a nationwide crusade that it is one thing to apologize yet it is another to repay and truly make whole to ensure the descendants can attempt to enjoy the same legacy that so many take for granted. First things first. While reimbursement or reparation dollars have not been specified, for now the energy is to return the property to Bruce’s heirs. There is also discussion of the County reverting from owner to tenant of the Bruce heirs, as a major part of the property is currently being used by them.
The Bruce’s Beach incident is American history so here is a recommended bibliography for additional reading:
Professional Sports is a huge business. Major League Baseball (MLB) is near the top of the heap when it comes to money-makers. Yet, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp may have positioned himself for the 2021 “Bonehead of the Year” award when he agreed and signed into law the hat trick created by state legislators and voting officials in the disguise of voter protection. Senate bill 202 professes to be a bill designed to correct flaws in the voting system.
On surface just about everybody agrees there is nothing wrong with correcting something that is flawed. The problem is during the recent 2020 general election Kemp and voting officials all agreed there were no issues on the voting process. Sure, there may have been some minor adjustments needed but none rising to the level of needing a new law?
They vehemently protested when the sly Donald J. Trump started his charade of irregularities. To boot, the courts threw out or ruled against the numerous cases by Trump and his allies that something was amiss. Kemp, the legislators and voting officials apparently misunderstood who Trump was.
You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.” Abraham Lincoln
Trump built a career on hustling (taking advantage of people) and adopting gangster-like moves way before he decided to run for the presidency. The problem is many people did not know who he was and felt, “how bad could it possibly be?” His moves did not change. He merely brought the same style during his term as president. As hustlers do, once the race for the 2020 presidency heated up, he went into action. He threw out all sorts of insinuations and ridiculous banter to cloud the issue of fairness. This was done as a type of insurance policy as surely, he wanted to win but just in case he was on the losing end, he would have created some protection or justification that he was somehow harmed.
Even though I haven’t forgotten once the 1996 Olympics was over, the stadium was supposed to be named after famed slugger – Henry Aaron. Instead, ego or some other calamity overcame team owner Ted Turner and he named the stadium “Turner Field.” To add insult to injury less than twenty years later officials agreed the stadium needed to be moved and relocated to a more favorable part of Georgia which offered easier access to their predominate fan base. Nothing is wrong with that – business is business, although I’m still not convinced something nefarious occurred because they left the “hood” for greener pastures. Truist (SunTrust) stadium is in Cobb county and actually not that far from the old location. It’s a great venue with all of the modern amenities needed to attract a wider swath of fans who might like baseball but really appreciate the developments that have restaurants, bars that add to the fan experience. Plus, the stadium features a great plaque and memorial to Aaron.
Everybody seems to want to chime in on this issue. Your political perspective pretty much dictates your opinion. As a matter of fact, those who embrace a conservative ideology such as writers David Harsanyi and Jeff Greenfield have penned recent articles stating moving the games from Georgia is a mistake. Worse, they point out MLB has been tricked or bullied by those with a “left-wing” ideology! What? They point to Colorado having some voting guidelines which some might consider suppressive. What they fail to realize is unlike Georgia they did not change laws after swearing everything was alright. So, what they try and communicate to their readers is what some might call a “red-herring.”
There are thirty MLB teams and each one thirst at the opportunity to host the All-Star game. When they selected Truist to host the 2021 event it was a no-brainer as it was fit to be a great host. Then came the darn 2020 general election which included voting for president. By normal standards the election wasn’t even close. It was just a matter of counting all of the ballots. Lo and behold Joe Biden snakebit Trump for the presidency and the cous de gras was Joe Ossoff and Rafael Warnock turned everything upside down by capturing the two Senate seats. Immediately after professing everything was copasetic, someone must have tinkered with the legislators and Kemp’s water? They immediately went to work and inadvertently bought into Trump’s malarky (Biden) and other’s that the voting system was indeed flawed.
Perhaps, it is like Minority Leader Mitch McConnell waking up and realizing it has been the donations from major corporations which fueled his ascent to power? MLB surely woke up. They realized the new law was a ruse where you give one but take two or three or however you define it, the outcome is to make voting more difficult for a certain part of the electorate. By another definition that is called voter suppression. Most will confess, in political races you don’t need to win by a zillion. A couple here, a couple there and even though it may be a close race, victory can be had. Many corporations sided with MLB and promptly issued their public outcry that the new bill was a solution looking for a problem.
Poor Jared Polis who is the Governor of Colorado was minding his own business. I mean it is April and Christmas has long passed and won’t return for a couple of months. His state was already on MLB’s roster to host an upcoming All-Star game. However, since Kemp couldn’t muster up the courage to maintain his position that Georgia’s recent election was in order, he kowtowed to those like Trump and other malcontents and the result is his gift to Polis.
MLB quickly ratified the move and the rest is history as Georgia is left wandering like Rip Van Winkle felt once he awakened. “What the hell just happened????” And to add insult to injury Kemp’s move forced MLB to demand Atlanta Braves players cover over any and all All-Star logos.
Maybe it was from watching western’s, or maybe it was something seen on all the shows featuring law enforcement that flood television viewing, or maybe it was an MMA move he saw? However, he performed and improvised the move, the chief of police, training staff and those from Minneapolis Police department (MPD) hierarchy have vehemently testified it was not in policy. The “knee-move” that is.
Being a police officer is tough. It is fraught with all types of life decisions that officers must make. Confronting and apprehending individuals is part of their job but the reality is some can irritate the officer by their behavior. Or, another way to look at it is some just “get in the officer’s goat or their craw.” The result can be retaliation by the officer and as in the case of George Floyd, death. After all, they too are humans and just trying to do their job.
Unfortunately that is not the issue in this trial. Floyd’s background is not the issue, although some will attempt to massage it into the case as some sort of justification or explanation of Chauvin’s actions.
It is hard to explain why Chauvin used his “knee-move” on Floyd’s neck? Floyd and bystanders pleaded for him to remove it so that he could breathe. No doubt from the time officers arrived on the call and confronted Floyd it took time from exiting his car to the MPD cruiser, then to the front of the SUV where Chauvin’s knee went into action. Chauvin felt he had enough and the motion was set for him to teach Floyd a lesson. To him, it appeared he did not care who was watching him or what MPD policy was. He had a special tactic and felt it was the perfect time to execute the move. Now whether he meant to kill Floyd is another issue but the facts are clear, he kept his knee on the neck position much longer than necessary.
Other’s will have their own explanation but from what has been presented it is clear George Floyd got in Derek Chauvin’s goat or craw and he decided the time was right to teach him a lesson. The question remains where in his nineteen years on the force did he learn the move?