Decriminalization of Black Little League Players

This act of taking the little league title away from the all-Black team criminalizes and punishes the behavior of black children…which mimics and draws upon the larger racist narrative in our country about applying rules of law embedded in beliefs about Black moral character.  And here from the press release ruling from the little league organization they report that “[t]his is the third time in the 68-year history of the Little League Baseball World Series that punitive actions have led to vacating wins from a league – first in 1992 with the disqualification of Zamboanga (Philippines) City Little League and again in 2001 with Rolando Paulino Little League from Bronx, N.Y.”  Interesting isn’t it that the three times the title have been taken away is when predominately children of color have won.  These decisions, the backroom operational process that led to withdrawing the title, will send a larger message to poor children in our country (and likely throughout the world). In my opinion, humble or brazen, see it any way you want, springs from a reactionary politic of capitalistic, patriarchal rage. And please notice that I did not mention anything about implicit racial bias, which on some level was probably operating as well.

These children were invited to the White House and met with President Obama. So does any of us believe that this information was not known before their visit? We will never know, and who has the time to investigate the true story, right. So the fact remains the title is taken away, and we shake our heads in sadness…We will say that the adults were wrong in breaking the rules and so the whole community must pay. This is the same logic and reasoning that is applied to the death of Mike Brown, he should have obeyed the police. Or Marissa Alexander, she should have listened to her husband and not shot a warning shot above his head. Or Eric Garner he shouldn’t be trying to earn a living by selling loose cigarette and he might be alive today. Or the same logic and reasoning that police officers can turn their back on the Mayor of New York during a funeral service. I’ll stop here, because I get it, all of us are tired and exhausted from having to think about the lives of people of color in our country. Why can’t we just be happy and not break the rules?

The man who is the whistleblower (for lack of better word) in this case, from the video I watched at the Chicago Tribune website, but this video can no longer be found but here is the article sharing the voice of the whistleblower. He uses a common narrative of moral righteousness, a “naturalized” purist approach, that juxtaposes his moral opinion as a societal contrast to adult black criminality. In his tepid analysis, he doesn’t challenge the structural inequalities that exist in poor communities, and the psychological harm that this “withdrawal” will undoubtedly do to this group of Black boys. He mentions this concern about what this will do for the children but uses a drapetomania like thought process, that this will somehow be good for them.  See here for the official ruling from the International Little League

I hope that these boys do not grow up with bitterness in their hearts but rather educate themselves about the historical legacy of hatred, prejudice, and discrimination that exists in our country. I hope that they will be able to see their lives in a larger prism that thrusts their struggles in poverty as a worldwide phenomenon. That on some level, through no fault of their own there are skin color and gender wars within global communities who struggle with trying to bring economic justice to their societies. That when they grow up to be men, they might choose to abandon simplistic and reductionistic thought, that they will love their daughters, sons, and grandchildren and teach them how democracy can work, contextually weighing history, place, and time.

He blows the whistle, and what will we say–He is right and the other adults are wrong. This view reduces behavior as simply right and wrong, and it teaches our children nothing about how to resolve complex and competing interests toward conflict resolution. He will stand on the ground of moral righteousness, and some will applaud his weak courage, but I will not. There will be a new morality, based on acknowledging historical legacies of pain and the sculpting of law will evolve that incorporates and weighs the trauma and pain of all Americans. There will be truth and reconciliation efforts that will acknowledge enslavement, isolation, alienation, experienced by poor whites and people of color. His active stance with the support of the league essentially says that African American adults cannot be trusted because they will lie and cheat. We then penalize children for the misbehavior of Adults, and what is the larger message for our society.

Black girls and black boys are already criminalized in most of our systems, educational, health, justice, etc. and so could there have not been a different solution. Why not a replay with the non-league kids gone from the team? A do over–as we used to say growing up. This would have sent a stronger message about how we can serve both right and wrong. I reject our mindset of criminalizing behaviors because I believe that these types of moral reasoning, when extended, justify the prison industrial complex. I would rather build more schools and hospitals than prisons. Prisons are archaic, non-sensical, ways to deal with human behaviors. Am I saying complete eradication, not really, but we better start thinking long and hard about how they function and do not serve our society. That inevitably our reasoning supporting prisons is connected to our ability to wage war. We are one global society, and how we see right and wrong will be a discussion and not standing firmly on one moral position. We can’t just throw away the keys, or be left with fatal options like nuclear solutions as a way to peace. So about now, you are probably wondering what would satisfy me?

I might be satisfied if a full study, dating back to the start of this league, if there were ever any residency violations among any of the other teams that have won the title. Without that data…this decision rests, bolstered by a certain national mindset, one where we, as people of color and some whites are saying that our system of thoughts have taken us as far as they can go. The use of psychological stances, that are rigid, unyielding to larger contexts do not serve us well. As if we should all live in the World created by Fox news, bowing to the hands of those who would erase our history; Rush Limbaugh, Anita Bryant, Jensen, Shockley, Dukes, Bull Connors, and other modern day eugenicists whose moral compass points in the direction of claiming the historical and moral right to have enslaved my ancestors. To create structures whose aim is to seek terror as a situational force that will be used to ensure my compliance and allegiance to a racist, sexist, heteronormative, transphobic milieu.

And people, who are reasonable, for the most part, wonder why we are shouting in the streets, hands up don’t shoot, blacklivesmatter, allivesmatter, blackgirlsmatter, poorpeoplematter, giveusfree, and iaintdonetalkingyet, and no justice, no peace.

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