Confronting Racial Injustice
George Floyd’s murder prompts uncomfortable life reflections on race
BY MARK SAXENMEYER
She sent me a text, asking why I wasn’t speaking out and writing about George Floyd’s murder and the ensuing racial unrest that was currently lighting Minneapolis, my hometown, on fire. She’s a friend from Chicago, a Black friend, and she said more messages condemning racial injustice from “White people of privilege” like myself needed to be heard. I responded by telling her that I was heading out of town for an emergency—yes, in the middle of the pandemic.
My excuse was legitimate, but only half true. The main reason I didn’t feel comfortable speaking or writing about Floyd, the protests—all of it—was because I felt my point of view would come off as shallow or meaningless, and basically ineffective.
My texting friend contacted me again. “When a White person uses their privilege to make an anti-racist statement publicly, the world pays attention. When I, as a Black woman, do it, I’m often overlooked or demonized.” My friend was angered by my silence, but more than anything she seemed hurt and disappointed. “It’s time to get comfortable with having uncomfortable conversations,” she wrote.
She was, of course, correct. So let the discomfort begin.
George Floyd’s videotaped public execution was, and is, horrific. Yes, I was, and am, heartbroken, appalled and outraged. Just as I was when Philando (more…)
Baseball in the Age of COVID-19
Will America's Favorite Pastime Go Down Swinging?
BY ALANA SCHREIBER
A pack of baseball cards. That was the trade-off for my attendance at Sunday School. While growing up, my twin sister Julie and I were carted off to a much-too-early morning of Jewish education under the condition that we would receive a pack of Topps baseball cards from our father immediately after class ended. We would then spend the car ride home from the store pouring over our cards and, from the backseat of our minivan, asking our dad to carefully describe each player we discovered in the pack.
For 27 years, my dad, Jay Schreiber, was a New York Times sports editor and for much longer than that he has been a fan of the often-dismal New York Mets. While he covered everything from basketball to football to soccer, he was, for many years, the go-to baseball guy. Thus, my identity as a Mets fan was never so much of a choice as much as it was an inherited trait. One of my earliest memories is running up to my dad at the corner of our old street in Forest Hills, Queens on his way home from work, and asking, “Did the Mets win?” I also remember not being entirely sure what “the Mets” was, but I knew that was the question to ask dad anyway.
Growing up, my sister and I constantly defied the notion that girls were only half-hearted baseball fans. We argued with boys wearing Philadelphia Phillies caps right in the parking lot of their stadium and would even call our dad’s office before every Mets game to ask about changes in the starting lineup. We collected T-shirts, bobbleheads, and again, baseball cards.
Alana Schreiber (left) attends a New York Mets spring training game in Florida in 2006, with her father Jay and sister Julie.
And yet even as the diehard baseball fan that I was and continue to be—the kind of fan that often keeps a box score even when I’m just watching (more…)