As expected and without shame, Jesse Jackson and Michael Pfleger have introduced race into the International Little League's decision to strip the Jackie Robinson West team of the U.S. Little League title.
[Catholic priest father] Pfleger called the investigation a “witch hunt,” alleging the investigation was racially motivated.
"Is this about boundaries or is this about race," Jackson asked rhetorically at a Rainbow PUSH news conference, as if we know the answer.
If either of them have any evidence that it was a racially motivated decision, they should bring it forward. But they don't, so they won't. Other than to imply that racists have cleverly found a way to hide their racism.
The rhetoric is appealing to those who find comfort in using racism as a response to failures and rule-breaking. It clearly provided solace to Venisa Green, mother of team member Brandon, 13. She said it "just seems to be the same age-old fight about race and class."
"I wholeheartedly believe if the boys were not African-American that all of this probing and prodding into what the newscaster [said] this morning was not an isolated incident about boundaries and Little League" wouldn't have happened, she said.
As damaging as it is to the boys who feel the brunt of the Little League's decision to strip them of their title, I believe the race card played by the likes of Jackson, Pfleger and Greene can be just as damaging for the boys, if not more so, than the League's decision.
It gives voice to a handy "out" by blaming others ("racists") for legitimate punishment or for self-induced failures of the adults. The logic goes, if it weren't for this alleged racism, we'd still be champions, even if out victory was tainted by cheating. As if it is their right to cheat.
It gives voice to the kids' cynical peers who ridiculed them for trying to play it straight. "See, it never'll work because the 'man' will always be around to put you down. To deny you what is rightfully yours. Don't waste your time trying to act white. You should be out here gang banging and selling dope."
Jackson, Pfleger and others can always be counted on to to play this self-destructive message, over and over again, for each new and upcoming generation. Yes, the kids played their hearts out and one hopes that they didn't know of the cheating by the adults who had been trusted with the children's benefit. But Jackson and Pleger, if they truly had the children's and the community's interests at heart, they would recast their message into a positive, forward looking one that doesn't justify wrong-doing and instead emphasizes fair play and true justice.
Maybe Jackson and Pfleger in their heart of hearts truly believe they are doing right by the children. We can only pray to their God to enlighten their consciences and hearts.
For information on my award-winning historical novel, "Madness: The War of 1812," visit: http://www.madness1812.com