Monday, March 24, 2008


early this morning on good morning america, some political wonk was waxing poetic about how the campaigns are going for the dems and how the race might go against mccain in the fall. one thing that stuck in my mind was his analysis of obama's candidacy. he made the comparison between obama and that of two other groundbreaking african-american men, jackie robinson and tiger woods. he said that obama needs to put himself more in the mold of tiger and not jackie. to be the best candidate, not the best black candidate.

i take issue with this on many levels. first and foremost, he denigrated jackie robinson's contribution to athletics as we know them today where the best athlete is the best athlete. from the get go, he was a champion in the majors, winning the first ever rookie of the year award. all star game honors came his way six times in his career. he added to that one national league mvp award and helped the dodgers win six national league pennants and one world series ring. "the best black ballplayer"? au contraire!

the point he was trying to make, albeit with flawed logic, was that tiger woods began his career as the best african-american golfer. now, as he piles up trophies and green jackets and banks a lot of coin, everyone knows he's the best golfer in the game now, if not ever. that's the angle that this wonk wants the obama camp to take, that barack is the best candidate, not the best black candidate. that they should stop playing up his skin color and start playing the content of his character. the problem i had with his argument, as always, is that the media are the source of a lot of this spin. arent't the media the ones that are highlighting the fact that the democratic nod is going to the first female or the first african-american? aren't the media the ones that are asking poll questions like, "is he black enough?" aren't the media the ones that force him to take time out of his campaign to comment on the black experience in america when they lambasted him over his preacher's fiery sermons? this politwit needs to wake up and take a look at his own colleagues for how they're portraying all the candidates.


Anonymous said...

I don't think too many people considered Robinson the best player. He certainly was the best black player in the majors for a while, being the only one, but he wasn't the best player in the Negro League before Rickey signed him for the Dodgers. When he made the big dance it was still the era of Ted Williams and Joe Dimaggio. Then in the 50's along came Mantle and Mays. He was amazing but not the best.
Obama is not just the best choice. He's the only choice. Pop

Mr. J said...

I wasn't saying specifically that Robinson was the best, nor was he merely the best black player, as that politwit surmised. I felt his assessment sounded more like he got into the majors on lower skill, when he was in fact one of the better players of his time, black or white. Transferring that argument to Obama sounded like people thought his campaign was based on playing to a set of lower standards, when most know better, even people who aren't supporters.