Short Notes: Whereupon We Speak Our Truths and the Issue of Torii Hunter

Jose Vilson Short Notes

Angels' Torii Hunter Screams at Umpire

A few notes:

  • A great example of what happens when we try to control every little part of a staff’s speech in order to make them sound like they’re “normal.” [Vocalo]
  • Google buys into Pi Day. [Mashable]
  • An ed-techy’s case for pedagogy … in tech. [Box of Tricks]
  • You ever wonder what Twitter would be like if someone drew out everything some random celebrity said, spelling mistakes and all? Wonder no longer. [TweetMuseum]

There’s something funny that emerges whenever you put several opinionated, proud, and disconcerted members into a confined place and make them play nice. This doesn’t always happen. While in some places, there are no bosses manipulating the intricacies of these relationships, Major League Baseball is certainly not one of them.

In one of the more “controversial” stories of the off-season, Torii Hunter of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim said Black Latino players are “impostors,” later stating that they’re not Black players but Latin American players. The outrage behind the comments spread amongst many Latinos, especially those concerned with the racial disparities across Latin America and its implications here in the United States. That notwithstanding, I think the definition of “Black” to Torii Hunter falls in line with many African-American in the States, and that’s the part we lose in the sensationalization of this topic.

This is nothing new. People like Gary Sheffield have been discussing the lack of black players and the “replacement” of African-American players with Black Latino players or Latino players as a whole, and in a sense, I agree. African-American baseball players have been encouraged to go to other sports like basketball and football. I’m not a fan of baseball’s quiet underground market for Latino players either. I see there are tons of factors playing into Torri’s comment, much of which I understand.

Yet, the one thing that seems to perpetuate this divide is simply these misgivings about nomenclature and shared ancestry / struggle / heritages. This also unfortunately showed up at the SXSW conference, highlighting social media and technology use around the world, the biggest such conference. In the Blacks in Tech meeting, Kety Esquivel discussed an incident with a particular provocateur who questioned why she and an Asian panelist were included in this panel. Kety gracefull answered the question, and upon further reflection, posted this:

There is always not just one truth.  My father’s lessons from childhood when he taught me Aesop’s fable about the elephant are as true now as ever.  We are all blind men and women standing around the elephant and all of the pieces that we hold are true and yet none of them are true on its own individually.  The elephant has a tail that resembles a rope.  The elephant has an ear that resembles a fan.  The elephant has legs which resemble tree trunks.  And in the end it is in truth an elephant.

The elephant here is the truth, and while everyone has their truth, we become less blind when we work together towards finding the elephant, not by sticking to our assertions about what the trunk might feel like. That’s where we’re missing the point.

It’s also the opportunity where we get to talk about elephants as the larger beings they are.

Jose, who’s working with transformations this week in math …