Burt Prelutsky

The problem with being a logical human being is that every day, sometimes every hour, you get blind-sided like a quarterback cursed with an underachieving offensive line.

It’s bad enough when a movie or a mystery novel scores a big fat zero on the logic meter, but when it happens in real life, if you’re anything like me, you find yourself wondering if you have somehow followed Alice down the rabbit hole.

For instance, one day not too long ago, a headline in the sports section of my local daily, the Los Angeles Times, insisted that black players were underrepresented in major league baseball. On the face of it, that is one of the silliest examples of race-baiting that one could possibly come up with. That was the same day they ran 17 photos in the section, and all but four were of black athletes, and one of the four was a race horse. (I was moved to write a letter to the editor, asking if perhaps black athletes were over-represented in the paper.)

The fact is, professional baseball is one of the only true meritocracies left in America. If you can hit, catch or throw a baseball better than 99.9999999% of the human race, the team owners want to make you an instant millionaire, and the folks signing your paycheck don’t care what color your skin is or whether your name is Manny Ramirez, Alex Rodriguez, Ishiro Suzuki or Hideki Matsui.

Still, one can’t help but ponder how the Times would go about making things right. Would they begin by getting rid of all the Latino players from Mexico, Cuba and the Dominican Republic?

But as asinine as that article was, the Times sports section managed to out-do itself more recently. They ran a piece suggesting that racism was the reason that there were only four blacks coaching football at the major colleges. That particular story ran on November 5th, the day after a black man was elected president of the United States, garnering 66 million votes. But I guess the Times missed the news because they were so busy fretting about football coaches.

This kind of focusing on presumed racism is enough to give a person pause. While everyone, well perhaps not everyone, was celebrating the election of Barack Obama, I found myself wondering what happens in 2012 if Newt Gingrich or Sarah Palin or Bobby Jindal defeats Obama in his bid for re-election? Will that mean that we are back to being a racist society? I’m dead certain that will be the conclusion of the Times, and one shared by Chris Matthews, Alan Colmes and Michelle Obama.