Human beings in a mob. What’s a mob to a king? What’s a king to a God? What’s a God to a non-believer who don’t believe in anything? Will he make it out alive? Alright, alright, no church in the wild.
– No Church in the Wild, Kaye West/Jay Z (feat. Frank Ocean)
When we think about athletes, we think about people who live above us. People, whose talents are so great that they are practically divine. For some, that divinity comes out in the door they have smashed open for the rest of us to walk through. Which is why it is so fitting that Mariano Rivera is the last man ever to wear the number 42 in Major League Baseball.
Its only fitting that it’s a (Afro) Latino to shut close out the rich history that an Black man started so many years ago. The repercussions of Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier in 1947 has forever changed the game. When the flood gates opened in the subsequent years that followed, diversity in the game became the norm and African American paved the way for Latinos. One can say that is a microcosm of what our society has been.
However, Major League Baseball celebrates its diversity better than most organizations. It fosters the spirit of competition (outside of numerous drug suspensions) while maintaing a sense of integrity (outside of numerous drug suspensions). What makes players like Jackie Robinson, Hank Aaron, Roberto Clemente, and Mariano Rivera so great is because they like Gods amongst men in how the played the game.
But how can we worship these beings that put their pants on just like everyone else? Ponder that question when you think about another competition in Delaware that involves a seven year old girl being stripped of a crown that should be rightfully hers. Jakiyah McKoy’s only crime is of being accused of being too black to be Latino. She is entered into the Little Miss Hispanic Delaware where she wins the crown legitimately but the sponsoring organization, Nuestras Raices Delaware, has blocked her win after an outcry from people claiming that, because she is Black, she is ‘not the best representative of Latin beauty.’ Despite the fact that they cannot confirm her Latinoness, one would just assume that if there is a rule that contestants must have 25% Hispanic blood then that would be something that should have been checked registration.
Alas we are live in a world where Gods are worshipped while stupidity and ignorance create the rules. What happened to Jakiyah isn’t a surprise because Afro Latino live in a space between black and brown. A fluid Identity that allows other people question or origins, our purpose, and our lives. Too black to be a representative of a Latin Beauty? How can we really support such an argument but I forget we live in a world where people think that a show like Modern Family is funny because of a top heavy minstrel act of Sofia Vagara.
That is why we look to people like Mariano Rivera, a dark skinned Latino, that makes all us believe that perfection is all about hard work and perseverance. A God in his own right that knows how to be humble yet deadly. It will be days like this that Jakiyah Mckoy will learn the difference between being ignorant and being a Goddess.