Saturday, January 21, 2012

A day to be remembered, a day to never forget

A Elgin Baylor memory about his walk through a bad moment in history is below in the article by Henry Abbott of ESPN.

The story below speaks of a time in our society's history that i'm personally not proud of. I have never been to West Virginia. I was not alive in 1966. I have never encountered walking into a restaurant or hotel and being told I was not welcome or experienced someone telling me I had to sit in a separate place from friends because that's where "we" were allowed. This was a a bad time for my country in regard to equality, and not just between races.

 Women were treated unfairly as recently as a few decades ago regularly as the social norm and even still today there are those that believe a women should know her place in life, should be content rearing children and marrying, spending their life making a home for their family. Their responsibilities included everything from cleaning, cooking, helping kids, shopping, laundry, etc while the men were workers and the only "breadwinner" Well, not only have peoples beliefs changed but many families now NEED both parents working in order to even get by and survive the cost of children and the ever rising costs associated with raising that family.

We shouldn't pretend that racism never existed nor pretend it's gone forever, it's an important part of the history of the world and our country as a whole. Some are born into it and others are just ignorant to people that look different then they do but no matter the reasoning it's still disappointing to myself that centuries and 
decades later through all of the uniting and overcoming tragedies this country has suffered we still can find some that truly feel hatred for an entire race for no reason other then conjecture and mis-beliefs.

Elgin Baylor's quiet refusal

January, 16, 20
By Henry Abbott

Organizations like the KKK have used fear and intimidation to try and move their message forward and for years they were successful, expansion continued and their membership exploded, although focused in the south. As generations of men and women grew and were able to speak for themselves they showed through their actions how far we had come by shunning these radical movements and now their are many many less then there were at those dark times in our history.

Try and put yourself in someone else's shoes before speaking against them , and speaking in generalities about an entire religion, race, sex or any other group is Usually a mistake, I feel pretty comfortable making the blanket statement though.......

In 1966, Frank Deford profiled Elgin Baylor for Sports Illustrated. What emerges is undeniably one of the greatest players, and characters, in NBA history. Of course Baylor scored with the best, and rebounded better than almost anyone his size. Today is January 16, 2012, the day we honor the memory of Martin Luther King, Jr. It also happens to be,according to Hoopedia, 53 years to the day that Baylor made it known that he would not let West Virginia racists sap his dignity. Deford tells the tale of the racial encounter that marked Baylor's rookie year: 
Then in January the Lakers went to Charleston, W. Va. for a game with Cincinnati. The hotel clerk, a mousy chap, looked at Baylor, immaculate as always, and at the two other Negroes on the team. "We can't take those three. We run a respectable hotel," is what the little man said. Baylor stiffened. He decided simply that he would not play.

But he made no fuss. The papers did not even know. Some of his teammates called him selfish. As the team walked out of the locker room, one Laker spoke over his shoulder: "Nine of us go out to play; nine of us split the playoff money." Baylor heard, as he was supposed to. He made no reply, and he did not move.

Hot Rod Hundley, a teammate who was from Charleston, came back to implore Baylor. He went through the litany: We Need You; For The Team; Please; This Won't Accomplish Anything Anyway. Baylor listened, and only at the end did he speak. "Rod," he said, "I'm a human being. I'm not an animal put in a cage and let out for the show. They won't treat me like an animal."

For the first time Hundley, the white kid from Charleston, understood the great pride that lives in Elgin Baylor. "Baby," he said, "don't play."

The Lakers lost that night but made the playoffs, and Baylor even carried them to the finals before Boston beat them. "By the end of the year," Hundley says, "we couldn't shut Elg up." They split the playoff money 10 ways. 

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