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Jackie Robinson, and how racism fits in with self-esteem

This weekend, the movie "42" made the transition to premium channels. Nevertheless, many people have seen the movie. The film about Jackie Robinson becoming the first American of African descent to play for a major league baseball team was even screened at the White House just prior to its theatrical release (

Jack Roosevelt Robinson had attended UCLA, and fought in World War II, attaining the rank of officer. He was playing baseball for the Negro Leagues when the manager of the then Brooklyn Dodgers offered him an opportunity to play in the Major Leagues (

This was significant in that there had been no black baseball players in Major League baseball since 1889. fans did not accept this and Jackie was the victim of racial slurs and attacks.

Despite this challenge, Jackie had an outstanding rookie year in which he led the league with bases stolen, and was selected as the National League's most valuable player in 1949. More and more black players would join him in the years that followed.

Racism is a phenomena that has affected our country since its earliest days. Here we have an athlete who was an asset to his team, yet a lot of people couldn't see.oast the skin color.

Merriam Webster defines "racism" (
) as "a belief that is the primary of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race".

One might consider that the word "racism" itself is racist. Biologists consider the intelligent species on planet Earth to be the human race. If the human race is not homogenous, then that means that diferent races within the human race are set apart by differences, some which may be more desirable than others. If one oarticular race has more desirable characteristics, then that race would be superior.

In an attempt to reduce racism (and discrimination in general) as much as possible, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission was enacted in 1965 ( It prohibits treating someone unfavorably in the workplace because of any characteristics associated with race. And of course it also precludes discrimination based on other factors such as gender, religion or age.

The best way to deal with a problem would be to see what the solution would be. In order to find the best solution, it may help to se what is causing it in the first place. With racism, many have discussed institutional and cultural issues.

Clay Routledge, Ph.D. in an article, "Exploring the psychological motives of racism", (, discusses psychological reasons. His first reason is, of course, self-esteem. The second reason is an extension of the first, and that is identification with agroup that sees itself as superior to other groups.

It is unfortunately human nature that it is easier for us to feel better about ourselves if there are others who are inferior to us than to recognize our own self-worth. We feel threatened when there is someone better than us who by being so will get the better and bigger piece of the pie.

Similarly, it may be easy to understand that many of the white players may have felt their standing in Major League baseball threatened by some colored upstart who can play better than them and thus steal their thunder.

People need to be guided towards realizing their own skills and positive attributes and to have enough confidence in themselves to work hard towards attaining their dreams. Then they will not feel that they need to denigrate others to feel good about themselves.

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