Friday, May 23, 2014

"My Skin is Against Me": Critical Race Theory & Baseball, Part II. Baseball's White Elite

II. Baseball's White Elite
            An examination of front office roles in baseball presents and applies many of the core Critical Race Theory tenets that will be discussed throughout this article.  Critical Race Theorists theorize that racial progress is controlled through white elites.[i]  One theory, interest convergence, supposes that "white elites will tolerate or encourage racial advances for blacks only when these also promote white-self interest."[ii]  On the other hand, many Critical Race Theorists put forth that whites in power aim to control the pace of racial progress.[iii]  By doing so, white elites can ensure they maintain their own current position while stabilizing society through appearing as being progressive.[iv]
            While Critical Race Theory examines and critiques American society as a whole, the theories can be fairly applied to baseball as well.[v]  Sports, especially baseball, are a microcosm of society.[vi]  A former commissioner of  Major League Baseball, A. Bartlett Giamatti wrote "It has long been my conviction that we can learn far more about the conditions, and values, of a society by contemplating how it chooses to play, to use its free time, to take its leisure, than by examining how it goes to work."[vii]  In some fashions, baseball has been ahead of American society in bringing about racial progress.[viii]  Major League Baseball recently received an "A" for its racial hiring practices[ix] and professional baseball integrated seven years before Brown v. Board of Education.[x]  Unfortunately, facts such as these allow for Major League Baseball to appear as being progressive on racial issues.  All the while, professional baseball continues to be controlled by wealthy white men.

[i] Critical Race Theory: The Cutting Edge, 1-4 (Richard Delgado & Jean Stefancic eds., 2013).
[ii] Id. 
[iii] Id. 
[iv] Id.  (this is also a "critique of liberalism", another tenet of Critical Race Theory)
[v] Kenneth L. Shorpshire, In Black and White, 16, (1996).
[vi] Id.
[vii] Id.
[viii] Id. at 17.
[ix] Charles Hallman, Major League Baseball earns top grade for racial  hiring practice, MSR Online, (Oct. 17, 2012).
[x] Shropshire, supra, at 17. 

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