Friday, November 12, 2021

The League of Color?


As Mediaite notes, President Biden "was wishing Amb. Donald Blinken a happy birthday during his Veterans Day speech, and injected one of his favorite stories: a roundabout way of saying that you’re only as old as you feel."

He then stated

I’ve adopted the attitude of the great Negro — at the time, pitcher in the Negro Leagues — went on to become a great pitcher in the pros — in the Major League Baseball after Jackie Robinson. His name was Satchel Paige.

Mediaite remarks

While blue-check conservatives continued to falsely insist that Biden was referring to Paige — despite their own video clips belying that notion — Fox News walked a thin line between noting the outrage and not amplifying the falsehood.

On Thursday night’s edition of Hannity, host Sean Hannity expressed outrage, called the comments “one of [Biden’s] most disturbing, troubling moments to date,” and even displayed Mediaite’s headline as an example of the “media mob” giving Biden a “pass,” but when it came to the remarks themselves, Hannity let the video do all the talking.

He then played video of some of Biden’s past remarks, some of which have generated genuine controversy, and held a panel segment in which guests accused Biden of racism, but Hannity never made the specific charge, and guest Leo Terrell did so only obliquely.

And on Friday morning, the comments were part of headline roundups on Fox & Friends First. Again, the news copy included references to backlash online and a clip of the comments that included the full reference, with no claim that Biden was referring to Paige rather than the league that was formed in the face of segregation.

Mediaite concludes "Although Fox did not elaborate on the true context of Biden’s remarks, there do appear to have been factual guardrails in place that prevented them from running with a false claim."

Well, not really, as Chris Hayes points out:

But it shouldn't have gotten this far. If Biden was referring to Satchel Paige as a "Negro," he was not using a racial epithet, insulting the late pitcher, or saying anything derogatory. At the time of Paige's baseball career, blacks were referred to as "Negroes" or with the n-word. The word "Negroes" was never, ever considered as the "n-word," not by whites, blacks, or anyone. It was the term preferred by people who recognized that the pejorative terms and offensive terms at the time were the n-word- and, to a lesser extent, "colored people."

(Contrast that with today's "people of color." Can't? Your junior high grammar teacher would be proud.)

It was not showing a lack of respect for Satchel Paige to call him at the time a "Negro." Now, it would make no more sense to call him a "Negro" than to call some of us "Caucasian," part of a generally discredited typology.  Were he alive now- which he most assuredly is not- Paige would be "black" or "African-American."

Moreover, Satchel Paige did not participate in the "Colored league," the "Black league," or the "African-American league."  He participated in the Negro league, which would have made him- well, now, the answer is fairly obvious.



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