Debbie Schlussel is of the obnoxious, attention-whoring, race-baiting school of political commentary. And good for her. The First Amendment wasn’t made just for reasonable people. And though I find just about everything that she and people like her spout to be cynical at best, deplorable and hateful at worst, a certain part of my psyche is very, very happy that she’s out there spouting it, because on some level it shows that the system works.
But don’t you dare go hating on Rickey and not expect a response:
So, yesterday, former Major League Baseball star Rickey Henderson was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York. But it’s very sad. Dude can’t speak English. What’s up with that? And, unlike the many foreigners in Major League Baseball, he was born here . . . You’d think that a guy who excelled on the baseball field and did so many interviews–one who was born in America–could speak English. I mean even the Japanese and Hispanic guys we recruit from other nations to play in Major League Baseball can speak our language better than this guy.
She then proceeds to point out and make fun of his “ebonics” speech at the induction ceremony.
News flash: a black kid of modest means and tremendous athletic talent failed to receive an adequate education in 1960s Oakland, California. Such a news flash that one can’t help but think that Schlussel has an ulterior motive in bringing up the subject of “ebonics” as she does here.
Most of you will remember that the phrase came to prominence in the mid 1990s when the Oakland, California school board tried to recognize black vernacular as its own language. It was a stupid move that was roundly shouted down as stupid by everyone from Jessie Jackson and Henry Louis Gates on the left and everyone including your mother on the right, and the proposal was quickly abandoned. Despite the fact that no one, left or right, supported the ebonics resolution, many conservative commentators — commentators like Schlussel — invoked the term for months (and in some cases even longer) as a straw man employed in their railings against the allegedly out-of-control, godless, communist, etc. etc. public education system.
Rickey is from Oakland and played there. I wonder if Schlussel knows that and is trying to inspire the kind of people who buy what she’s selling to make that connection and gin up another round of culture wars. If so, she ought to get a life and start focusing on things that actually matter to people as opposed to things that are designed simply to anger and inflame. If that’s not what she’s doing — if instead, she’s simply calling a black man who speaks poorly dumb — then she’s doing something far worse.
And yes, I realize that the very act of my linking to her crap gives her the attention she craves, but I don’t really care. Cynical haters like Schlussel thrive in their dark little corners of the world, preaching to their particular choirs. When exposed to the mainstream they may get some temporary popularity out of it, but they and their ideas soon wither under the added scrutiny. I want everyone to read and think about jerks like her every day because the more they do, the less influence she’ll ultimately have.