ChickenBones: A Journal
for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes
Congress, which already grants to MLB exemption from all anti-trust legislation, passed
the Creating Opportunities For Minor League Professionals, Entertainers and Teams
Through Legal Entry Act of 2006. This change in the immigration law, passed by
Congress after heavy lobbying of the legislators and the State Dept. by MLB, now allows
foreign born minor league players to upgrade from H-2B visas to P-1 Visas, which until
last year had been restricted just to major league players.
Baseball: A Job African Americans Won’t Do?
By Jean Damu
Jackie Robinson must be weeping.
Earlier this season nationwide festivities were held to commemorate the 60th anniversary of Jackie Robinsons integration of Major League Baseball. By and large the events left a sour taste because it was impossible to ignore the obvious: African- Americans are becoming an extinct species in MLB.
Even though a variety of reasons have been offered up to explain this phenomena-from Black kids playing to many video games, to the exorbitant costs of Little League participation-close inspection reveals the fundamental reason Black American youth are disappearing from the MLB diamonds is that congress is greasing the skids by manipulating immigration laws that now allow massive numbers of lowly paid overseas apprentice (minor league, developmental) players to legally flow into the US.
Ironically the practice of going overseas, specifically to the Dominican Republic for apprentice baseball players, was necessitated by the onset of baseballs free agency agreement that ushered in skyrocketing salaries. This encouraged teams in smaller, less lucrative markets to find ways to cut player development costs, costs which can run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars per player.
No team was more aggressive or more successful in recruiting lowly paid apprentice baseball players in the Dominican Republic than the Oakland As, a perennial baseball success story that resides in what is considered one of MLBs smallest, least lucrative markets.
In a 1997 Sacramento Bee story Ron Plaza , who was then a roving instructor for the As said, When we first went to the Dominican Republic in the 1980s, we signed a lot of guys because we wanted to have our own squad because we didnt want to co-op with another team. A lot of mistakes were made and we werent sending the caliber of player (that was going to be successful.) It was unfortunate.
In reality, however, it didnt really matter whether the players made it to the major leagues or not. Despite what they had been told by the major league baseball scouts most of the Dominicans are brought here to help train those who will make it to the big leagues.
Dick Balderson of the Colorado Rockies described the Dominican recruiting strategy as the boatload mentality. Instead of signing four (American) guys at $25,000 each, you sign 20 Dominican guys at $5,000 each, he said. Balderson is currently VP in charge of baseball operations for the Rockies.
Defending this strategy, Sandy Alderson who was then the longtime general manager of the As and is now general manager of the San Diego Padres said, Its a reaction to the cost of player development in the US. Part of that cost relates to the escalation of free agent salaries and increases in signing bonuses at the amateur level.
If you are developing two or three players from traditional domestic sources and you can add just one player to that resource pool every year, then in effect youve increased your productivity, Alderson said.
But that was ten years ago and the ruling class of MLB, the owners, decided that the immigration laws, which limited each team to 26 visas per year was too limiting.
In a little unnoticed move last year Congress, which already grants to MLB exemption from all anti-trust legislation, passed the Creating Opportunities For Minor League Professionals, Entertainers and Teams Through Legal Entry Act of 2006. This change in the immigration law, passed by Congress after heavy lobbying of the legislators and the State Dept. by MLB, now allows foreign born minor league players to upgrade from H-2B visas to P-1 Visas, which until last year had been restricted just to major league players.
Under the H-2B visa program, to which most industries must conform, each team was only allowed 26 visas per year. By upgrading minor league players to P-1 visas each team may now annually import an unlimited number of minor league players. This despite the fact that immigration laws specifically state these requirements may not be implemented unless no Americans can be found who will perform the job.It should be easy enough to see the meaning of all thisthat within a few years organizations like the Milwaukee Brewers, who have not one African American on their roster, will become the norm, rather than an anomaly.
Baseball offers a clear and true allegory of the negative effects of globalization upon the weakest sectors of society. African American youth are the first to be discarded by baseball. Others will be discarded later. In February of this year the New York Yankees and MLB sent a delegation to the Peoples Republic of China to contract with Chinese Baseball Assn. to provide equipment and training. A similar delegation from the Mets traveled to West Africa in MLBs apparent drive to develop other, cheaper sources of labor.
Questions abound. In 20 years will Dominicans also be discarded as too expensive? Will white players become as expendable as Detroit autoworkers? What does the baseball players union have to say about this? As the most militant of all the professional sports unions will it react at some point to the globalization of its industry? Stay tuned.
Jean Damu is a former member of the International Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, taught Black Studies at the University of New Mexico, has traveled and written extensively in Cuba and Africa and currently serves as a member of the Steering Committee of the Black Alliance for Just Immigration. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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#1 – Justify My Thug by Wahida Clark #2 – Flyy Girl by Omar Tyree #3 – Head Bangers: An APF Sexcapade by Zane #4 – Life Is Short But Wide by J. California Cooper #5 – Stackin’ Paper 2 Genesis’ Payback by Joy King #6 – Thug Lovin’ (Thug 4) by Wahida Clark #7 – When I Get Where I’m Going by Cheryl Robinson #8 – Casting the First Stone by Kimberla Lawson Roby #9 – The Sex Chronicles: Shattering the Myth by Zane
#10 – Covenant: A Thriller by Brandon Massey
#11 – Diary Of A Street Diva by Ashley and JaQuavis
#12 – Don’t Ever Tell by Brandon Massey
#13 – For colored girls who have considered suicide by Ntozake Shange
#14 – For the Love of Money : A Novel by Omar Tyree
#15 – Homemade Loves by J. California Cooper
#16 – The Future Has a Past: Stories by J. California Cooper
#17 – Player Haters by Carl Weber
#18 – Purple Panties: An Eroticanoir.com Anthology by Sidney Molare
#19 – Stackin’ Paper by Joy King
#20 – Children of the Street: An Inspector Darko Dawson Mystery by Kwei Quartey
#21 – The Upper Room by Mary Monroe
#22 Thug Matrimony by Wahida Clark
#23 – Thugs And The Women Who Love Them by Wahida Clark
#24 – Married Men by Carl Weber
#25 – I Dreamt I Was in Heaven – The Rampage of the Rufus Buck Gang by Leonce Gaiter
#1 – Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention by Manning Marable #2 – Confessions of a Video Vixen by Karrine Steffans #3 – Dear G-Spot: Straight Talk About Sex and Love by Zane #4 – Letters to a Young Brother: MANifest Your Destiny by Hill Harper #5 – Peace from Broken Pieces: How to Get Through What You’re Going Through by Iyanla Vanzant #6 – Selected Writings and Speeches of Marcus Garvey by Marcus Garvey #7 – The Ebony Cookbook: A Date with a Dish by Freda DeKnight #8 – The Isis Papers: The Keys to the Colors by Frances Cress Welsing #9 – The Mis-Education of the Negro by Carter Godwin Woodson
#10 – John Henrik Clarke and the Power of Africana History by Ahati N. N. Toure
#11 – Fail Up: 20 Lessons on Building Success from Failure by Tavis Smiley
#12 –The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander
#13 – The Black Male Handbook: A Blueprint for Life by Kevin Powell
#14 – The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates by Wes Moore
#15 – Why Men Fear Marriage: The Surprising Truth Behind Why So Many Men Can’t Commit by RM Johnson
#16 – Black Titan: A.G. Gaston and the Making of a Black American Millionaire by Carol Jenkins
#17 – Brainwashed: Challenging the Myth of Black Inferiority by Tom Burrell
#18 – A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose by Eckhart Tolle
#19 – John Oliver Killens: A Life of Black Literary Activism by Keith Gilyard
#20 – Alain L. Locke: The Biography of a Philosopher by Leonard Harris
#21 – Age Ain’t Nothing but a Number: Black Women Explore Midlife by Carleen Brice
#22 – 2012 Guide to Literary Agents by Chuck Sambuchino #23 – Chicken Soup for the Prisoner’s Soul by Tom Lagana #24 – 101 Things Every Boy/Young Man of Color Should Know by LaMarr Darnell Shields
#25 – Beyond the Black Lady: Sexuality and the New African American Middle Class by Lisa B. Thompson
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A Bibliography of Theses and Dissertations
Presented at British and Irish Universities, 1900-1981
By Victor F. Gilbert and Darshan Singh Tatla
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250 Years of Politics, Protest, People, and Play
By Dave Zirin
Zirin (What’s My Name, Fool!), writer of a politically minded online sports column, examines the intersection of sports and politics, chronicling the struggles of America’s oppressed, starting with Choctaws playing lacrosse and slaves in the South, and reaching all the way to a critique of Michael Jordan as an apolitical athlete. There are many worthy and deserving stories of courage and conscience in this vast canvas; however, the telling suffers from Zirin’s term paperlike prose that relies far too much on overly long quotes from source material. For example, three pages about NFL player Dave Meggyesy has a short introductory paragraph by Zirin and then excerpts Meggyesy’s autobiography for the bulk of the section. This book would have been more engaging and logically organized as a reference book with entries on each athlete or group, rather than a linear historical narrative of sports.Amazon
The Greatest, My Own Story (Muhammad Ali)
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Edited by James A. Riley, Monte Irvin (Foreword)
EditorRiley is an accomplished writer and a recognized authority on the Negro leagues, having published numerous books on the subject (e.g., Too Dark for the Hall, T.K. Pubs., 1991). His comprehensive reference book documents the careers of 4000 players on teams of major league caliber between 1872 and 1950. Notable Hall of Famers included are Hank Aaron, Satchel Paige, Ernie Banks, and Jackie Robinson. Arranged alphabetically, the citations contain a variety of biographical and statistical information.
This valuable compilation also provides illustrations, team histories, an appendix on players, plus an exhaustive bibliography detailing books, periodicals, booklets, and newpaper articles. Public libraries should purchase where demand warrants.Library Journal
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This book explodes several myths: that selling sex is completely different from any other kind of work, that migrants who sell sex are passive victims and that the multitude of people out to save them are without self-interest. Laura Agustín makes a passionate case against these stereotypes, arguing that the label ‘trafficked’ does not accurately describe migrants’ lives and that the ‘rescue industry’ serves to disempower them. Based on extensive research amongst both migrants who sell sex and social helpers, Sex at the Margins provides a radically different analysis. Frequently, says Agustin, migrants make rational choices to travel and work in the sex industry, and although they are treated like a marginalised group they form part of the dynamic global economy. Both powerful and controversial, this book is essential reading for all those who want to understand the increasingly important relationship between sex markets, migration and the desire for social justice.
“Sex at the Margins rips apart distinctions between migrants, service work, and sexual labour and reveals the utter complexity of the contemporary sex industry. This book is set to be a trailblazer in the study of sexuality.”Lisa Adkins, University of London
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By Melissa V. Harris-Perry
According to the author, this society has historically exerted considerable pressure on black females to fit into one of a handful of stereotypes, primarily, the Mammy, the Matriarch or the Jezebel. The selfless Mammys behavior is marked by a slavish devotion to white folks domestic concerns, often at the expense of those of her own familys needs. By contrast, the relatively-hedonistic Jezebel is a sexually-insatiable temptress. And the Matriarch is generally thought of as an emasculating figure who denigrates black men, ala the characters Sapphire and Aunt Esther on the television shows Amos and Andy and Sanford and Son, respectively.
Professor Perry points out how the propagation of these harmful myths have served the mainstream culture well. For instance, the Mammy suggests that it is almost second nature for black females to feel a maternal instinct towards Caucasian babies.
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From The World and Africa, 1965
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update 2June 2012