Remember when a Los Angeles Dodger executive in an interview said that “blacks lacked the necessities” for being considered for executive positions and that “blacks could not swim”? Or when a loveable sports commentator in his enthusiasm exclaimed, “look at that monkey run” when color commentating a black running back breaking free on a long run?http://espn.go.com/espn/otl/story/_/id/7751398/how-al-campanis-controversial-racial-remarks-cost-career-highlighted-mlb-hiring-practices
Verbalizing stereotypical comments in sports have been the demise of many individual careers. Who could ever forget the rant by Jimmy “The Greek” Snyder when he explained why black athletes held an advantage over white athletes?http://www.totalprosports.com/2010/10/07/10-ridiculously-racist-remarks-from-sports-personalities/
There is no way such racist thinking can be articulated in the sophisticated era we live….well, perhaps not.
Older white males have repeatedly demonstrated that they are products of their own environment, and the issue of maintaining backwards racist thinking has raised its ugly head once again. No, it was not in the South, or Mississippi, or Alabama, but in Northern California where a sewer district director was quoted saying some unfavorable comments about black people.
One needs to consider the age of the offending party because the mindset of the culture mirrored the very attitudes conveyed in an interview granted to the San Jose Mercury who was putting together a story about people who did little work for big pay. If one is familiar with the story of the Tuskegee Airmen, the prevailing attitude was that blacks lacked the concentration, mental skills, and quick thinking to fly airplanes.
It is difficult to measure how pervasive this belief was that blacks had inferior skills to fly planes during the period of 1940-1955, but coincidentally the same sewer director was a Korean War fighter pilot. What is sad if not downright pitiful is the man maintains his belief that blacks “think slower” than other races. This mindset dominated American society during the hay-day of the Jim Crow laws.
“They can’t help it. It’s the way God made them”, insisted Leonard Battaglia, 85, in a quote given to San Jose Mercury reporter Thomas Peele.
Yes, that’s correct. Battaglia defends his belief system even though all the facts show he is wrong. He also maintains, “I don’t think I’m a prejudiced person”.
Being an eighty-five year old should be considered, however Battaglia’s comments are not sitting well with the Richmond City Council which represents a large black community. A stubborn nature may be guiding Battaglia instead of common sense because the Mercury called him back before the story was published October 20th. He said he stood by his comments.
Even after being reprimanded by a Richmond City Council vote, Battaglia accepted the council’s vote but stop short of saying his thinking on race is wrong.
It matters little concerning facts as black pilots faced discrimination during and after World War 2 in spite of having a stellar record during the air campaign in Europe. The very bias reflected by Battaglia was a matter of policy of the United States Armed Forces. There was little done during the era to refute the racism or to set the record straight. There are probably many holding Battaglia’s views that still live that would prefer their bias nature.
Strangely Battaglia notes “it’s the way God made them” when describing black people in general for thinking slower than other races.
One can hardly believe Battaglia is an authority on what God did or didn’t do, particularly when God is no respecter of persons. God does not make inferior products.