Michael P. Ackley has worked more than three decades as a journalist, the majority of that time at the Sacramento Union. His experience includes reporting, editing and writing commentary. He retired from teaching journalism for California State University at Hayward.More ↓Less ↑
Editor’s note: Michael Ackley’s columns may include satire and parody based on current, events, and thus mix fact with fiction. He assumes informed readers will be able to tell the difference.
Informed of the Boston bombings, President Obama immediately told his Secret Service guards, “Inform the foursome ahead of us! We have to play through!”
Oh! How mean spirited!
But we intend only to counterbalance the fawning over our chief executive in the wake of the terrorist attacks.
“We did not have to reach out to the president. The president reached out to us,” said Sen. Elizabeth Warren, in words thematically like those that followed Obama’s stroll on the beach following Hurricane Sandy.
It’s as if praise is in order when he does what he ought to do. Let us remember that the Jersey shore is still a mess, and the billions of dollars allocated for cleanup and rehabilitation have been shamefully mismanaged.
Now he has pledged to bring the bomber or bombers to justice. We’ll see. With this administration, racial and ethnic factors seem to be weighed in the balance.
Let’s all be offended: Meanwhile, the National Association of Black Journalists is less concerned about the maiming of Boston Marathon spectators than it is by the description of a potential suspect as “dark skinned.”
NABJ called the words “offensive,” saying, the organization “in no way encourages censorship but does encourage news organizations to be responsible when reporting about race, to report on race only when relevant and a vital part of a story. Ultimately this helps to avoid mischaracterizations which might encourage potential bias or discrimination against a person or a group of people based on race or ethnicity.”
Very well. CNN called a suspect “dark skinned,” but CBS took pains the next day to describe him as “a white man.” Indeed, it turns out the suspects in question are as pale as a fish belly.
Now, almost everybody can be offended. However, Native and Asian Americans may be miffed at being left out.
On the positive side: We viewed the film “42″ last week and were reminded of Jackie Robinson’s greatness. Biographical stories that accompanied the movie’s release noted his leadership not only on the field of play but in business and society at large.
As a child in the ’50s, I had no idea what Robinson had to endure, but I learned during the World Series of 1956, from a neighbor up the street. I was a Little Leaguer who idolized the Brooklyn Dodgers’ center fielder, Duke Snider. I didn’t much care about the team’s light-hitting third baseman, playing out the last games of his baseball career.
A series game was on the radio at a friend’s house, and when I cheered a Dodgers’ run, my friend’s father told me sternly, “You don’t want to root for the Dodgers. They’re the (African-American’s) team.”
Of course, he didn’t say African-American. He unselfconsciously employed the “n-word,” a term that would have resulted in dire consequences if my parents ever heard me use it. When questioned about our neighbor’s epithet, Mom and Dad explained about the Dodgers and Jackie Robinson. It made an impression, though I was more interested in the series’ outcome, and devastated when Don Larsen threw his perfect game for the Yankees.
When I was more socially conscious, during the civil rights era, Robinson’s sacrifice came into sharper focus. “42″ does him justice. Go see it.