Is Derek Jeter white or black? Who Cares!

Posted on July 16, 2014 by

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jeter flip

Last night was bittersweet for me; the final time to watch Derek Jeter in an all-star game.  Yes, I am one of those die-hard Yankees fans; I was born in upstate NY, and when playing little league I played for a team called the Rison Yankees, so when it came time to pick a team I went with the Yankees.  That happened to coincide w/Reggie Jackson bringing the Yankees back to glory and after winning World Series in the 70s, I was a hooked Yankee fan.  Ron Guidry was my hero, then Don Mattingly.  But it was 15 years since the Yankees had been a serious threat when Derek Jeter arrived on stage–the lanky kid who just sparked enthusiasm for the game.  The guy who would do whatever it took to win a game–for the love of the game and the way it ought to be played.  I still believe the greatest play in baseball history was Derek Jeter’s coming across the field to relay a throw in from right field in the playoffs against the Oakland A’s–if Jeter doesn’t make that play the Yankees don’t win the series and go on for another championship.  For those unfamiliar with that play (photo caption above), check it out:

http://m.mlb.com/video/v3134880/nyyoak-gm-3-jeter-cuts-down-runner-with-iconic-flip

When he made it I was stunned; not the physical aspect to make it–that was extraordinary enough–but his mental presence to be engaged and see what might be needed to put himself in a position to make the play.  What in the world was the shortstop doing between 1st base and home plate?  Simply amazing–demonstrating that Jeter belongs in any list of the handful of the greatest players ever.  He is a joy to watch, even at 40 years old.  Part of the attraction is that whatever his personal faith is or is not, Jeter is incredibly respectful of the game and, very important, very mindful of his responsibility to set a good example to kids.  So whether you hate the Yankees or love them, you undoubtedly like Derek Jeter.  So what does this have to do with a post on Christian political economy?  Well watch the video below to sum up Derek’s night, and notice his family:

http://m.mlb.com/nyy/video/topic/81725946/v34581105/2014-asg-jeter-gets-two-hits-in-final-allstar-game/?c_id=nyy

I’ve always been pleased over the years to see Derek’s Mom and Dad in the stands; usually only Dad was there, but Mom often was.  Derek was a product of a bi-racial family, with a white mother and black father.  Was Derek African-American?  Or was he white?  The reality is–it NEVER mattered.  What mattered was the content of his character, and we’ve had the joy of watching his character on the field for almost 20 years.  Contrast his performance with another famous product of a bi-racial marriage–Barak Obama.  For Mr. Obama, race seems to be at the forefront of the way he views social relations.  How many times do we see Mr. Obama obliquely suggest that race is part of the opposition to him?  Or how often does his attorney general Eric Holder, as was reported again this weekend, explicitly say that Republican opposition is partly driven by racial animus?  These attempts to divide America on racial lines, and especially to insist that opposition to a black man’s policy prescriptions means you are a racist, are broad strokes that are simply untrue.  Of course there are likely white people that would oppose Mr. Obama even if he were to favor every one of their political positions.  But that number is likely small–I would bet smaller than the number of black people that support Mr. Obama simply because he is black.  But we have no way of knowing what is in a man’s heart, and we shouldn’t assume the worst–and we certainly shouldn’t promote the worst as indicative of the broader culture we live in.  The Bible is very clear that trying to promote strife and conflict is a very grievous sin and must be avoided (Romans 1:29, 13:13), so while we Bereans lament and condemn the Obama Administration’s divisionary rhetoric, we need to look at ourselves in the mirror as well, and hold all politicians accountable.

As far as Derek Jeter’s pigment, he truly proved it didn’t matter–as the Bible tells us, there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female–we all stand level at the foot of the cross.  And in the baseball diamond, the players stand level in the batting box.  But some players stand a little more level–players like Derek Jeter.  We will miss him.

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Posted in: Race