While I’m pleased for Girardi, who has always been a favorite, I couldn’t help but think about Willie Randolph yesterday. For the longest time I refused to buy the race card when it came to Randolph repeatedly being passed over for managerial positions. He had never managed before, I reasoned. If he was willing to go down to the minors for a year or two and then still couldn’t get a big league job that would be different. But here comes Girardi, also with no prior experience as a manager, and just one season as a coach, and not one, but two teams were aggresively[sic] persuing[sic] him. Again, I’m excited for Giardi[sic], something feels fishy about the whole thing.
Obviously there’s nothing overt at play here, but to me it does seem like evidence of the institutional racism present in baseball (and, for that matter, most professional sports (and, for that matter, America in general))). Agree with me or not, but the fact remains that the higher up the ladder you go, the fewer people of color you see.
Edit: Enough people seem to have misinterpreted what I was saying (admittedly this is probably because I didn’t explain myself as fully as I should have), to merit a two bits of additional clarification.
1. I’m not commenting on the state of African Americans in baseball, but that of people in color in general, including African Americans, Latinos, Afro-Latinos, and Asians, which, together, form a much larger portion of baseball players than they do coaches and front-office staff.
2. I do not think that there is any overt racism involved. I don’t think that a baseball executive ever said “I don’t want to hire this guy because he’s not white.” I don’t even believe that any of them thought it, and if any did, they’re in the extreme minority. What I believe is that a less conscious form of racism is at play, wherein people believe that while people of color can be fine players, they lack the skills, either in terms of intellect or leadership, necessary for higher positions. Its a phenomenon similar to the one found in the famous “doll study” by Drs. Kenneth and Mamie Clark, where both black and white children when faced with dolls of the two races, would consistently identify the white doll as the “nice” one, and the black doll as the “bad” one. Its a subtle and completely subconscious form of racism, and while its certainly not the evil that outright hatred is, its impact is still considerable.