August 17-19, 2015 At Fenway Park this is reality. This is also racist
An open letter to the Red Sox Nation, everyone in Boston and all baseball fans coming to Fenway:
Do you realize that when the Cleveland MLB team comes to play our beloved if struggling Red Sox August 17th -19th, 2015 at Fenway Park they will be teaching our children and everyone in attendance or watching the game racism? This is not an exaggeration of any kind. The negative impact of Native American sports teams identities upon Native American populations is well researched and well documented. However less well understood is the impact of these racist team identities upon communities at large and people in general.
The fact that the team identities are racist is clear when it is understood that anything identifying characteristics, positive or negative, tied to racial identity of an entire group of people usually by another group of people in power is inherently racist. The owners of the Cleveland MLB team, Larry Dolan and his family are white, Roman Catholic Americans who have been made aware of the issue through persistent demonstrations in Cleveland and elsewhere for as long as they have owned the team. Last year I personally wrote to each individual MLB team owner and Mr. Bud Selig, the MLB Commissioner year bringing up the issue. The Cleveland owners entirely ignored the letter, as they have others before but Mr. Selig did reply showing awareness of the importance of baseball to American culture. He also understood the responsibility that accompanies the game’s prominence.
It is time for Boston and our team to enter the conversation. Racism is a cancer which has spread throughout our city and our country. Our place in history has much that we can be proud of but sadly much still in need of redressing. Native American peoples have treaties which have not been honored, populations, including those who lived here before the first Europeans arrived so long ago, which still survive today despite decimation by disease and fractured wars of attrition and far too many reservation lands riddled with extreme poverty and resource exploitation. With 40 school teams still using Native American sports teams’ identities throughout Massachusetts the caricatures, stereotypes and exploitation continue right to our children’s schoolrooms. The professional teams bring their racism into our homes and around our dinner tables.
It Is Time to Boycott ALL MLB Licensed Merchandise. It Is Time To Confront MLB Racism.
It is important when confronting racism to recognize that good intentions do not necessarily lead to good outcomes. Good intentions also do not excuse bad outcomes. Silence condones. It is time for the people of Boston and the entire Red Sox Nation to make our voices heard. One need not be a member of an exploited, brutalized or marginalized group to find the exploitation, brutalization and marginalization wrong. In 2015 we can and must do and be better. There can be recourse in the courts but as is evident on issues from voting rights to police brutality the outcomes are unpredictable, the process costly. Boston, we can be more creative than this.
A “race of people” is a false construct but one we live with including in our census data. That may take a long time to change. Welcoming a racist team into our midst is quite another matter. We denizens of Red Sox Nation need not continue to silently accept the racism the teams create in our stadiums, in our sports arenas and on our most iconic of playing fields Fenway Park. We can voice our objections across all media, demand position statements on this racism by Mayor Walsh, Red Sox owners John Henry and Tom Werner, Major League Baseball owners, staff and players. Most importantly we can vote with our time and wallets. Of course we love our team and baseball, America’s pastime, but we need not support the league or even our team through purchases of officially licensed merchandise. We can instead wear the team colors, make our own custom designed original shirts and hats and show the world that Boston has turned the corner on racism. We get it. We are Boston Strong. We will not go quietly into the night. Racism at Fenway must not be silently tolerated. Our city and our children deserve so much better. We deserve so much better.
Sherrie A. Noble
Boston, say NO to Racism.