September 30, 2020

BY MIKE VIELMA

On this day 66 years ago, Jackie Robinson became the first African-American to suit up and play in Major League Baseball. He ended about 80 years of baseball segregation when he threw on his Brooklyn Dodgers jersey with the famous number 42 on the back and walked onto the field.

He bashed racial obstacles with the crack of his bat and paved the way for people of colour and other backgrounds to engage in the game they loved without separation.

Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X fought their battles with speeches and rallies; Robinson simply used baseball, America’s pastime.

There are no longer colour barriers in professional sports today. However, racism still lingers in society which is downright unacceptable.

There are better and more important things to worry about in this world then the colour of someone’s skin.

There is nothing empowering about yelling racial slurs and hurtful remarks to a pedestrian as you zoom by in a car.

There is nothing cool about whispering rude comments to your friend about the Hispanic gentleman pushing his cart in the grocery store.

So what if he has slicked back hair accompanied by a sombrero? That does not give you any right to think of a remark just to try and make your friend laugh.

Be respectful.

If you aren’t the one to come up with the crude jokes or tasteless remarks, but you chuckle behind your hand after hearing another racist knee-slapper from your pal, you are just as bad.

Laughing or ignoring the situation is no way to deal with racism.

Stand up for what is right and intervene in any situation you are able to. After all, God gave us voices for a reason.

It is impossible to eliminate racism without each individual doing his or her own part. It’s like what your mom used to tell you when you were a kid, “Don’t say or do anything to someone that you wouldn’t like said or done to you.”

We owe it to ourselves to do whatever we can to prevent racism.

Just because Jackie Robinson severed the racism boundary line on an athletic level, doesn’t mean the fight is over.