Tuesday, March 02, 2010


TheWife and I try to be supportive of the short people's dreams and aspirations. We feed them the (probably false) old chestnut that if you try hard enough, you could be whatever you want.

Additionally, we try to expose them to the injustices of our society and history by telling the stories of heroes who have opened doors for oppressed groups in our culture. We do not hide the inequalities, but try to present them in terms of the sacrifices and triumphs of those who worked for justice.

So, the shorter of the short people decided that he wanted to use his athletic interests to break down barriers like Jackie Robinson or Jackie Mitchell and announced his intention to become the first white Harlem Globetrotter. At this point I'm letting him have his fantasy, but it makes me wonder how much of a political statement the Globetrotters are.

Part of the point of the schtick is to have the African-American clown princes of basketball (they do now have their first Latino Globetrotter) who are named after the New York neighborhood to accentuate the racial angle (they were all midwesterners at the start) show up the stuffy and white Washington Generals -- clearly named to reflect their role as representatives for the powerful. We root for the Globetrotters in part because they represent the little guy against The Man. Have the Globetrotters become such an institution in themselves that this edge is gone? Would a white Globetrotter be like a married bachelor?