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Tuesday (The racial profiling of a former MLB player) edition: Wha' Happened?

Posted by: Michael Rand under Professional baseball Updated: April 15, 2014 - 9:14 AM

Former Major Leaguer Doug Glanville, now a baseball analyst for ESPN, has a thought-provoking piece about racial profiling over at the web site for the Atlantic. Glanville, who lives in Hartford, Ct., was shoveling his driveway one day when a police officer approached him.

He approached me with purpose, and then, without any introduction or explanation he asked, “So, you trying to make a few extra bucks, shoveling people’s driveways around here?”

All of my homeowner confidence suddenly seemed like an illusion.

It would have been all too easy to play the “Do you know who I am?” game. My late father was an immigrant from Trinidad who enrolled at Howard University at age 31 and went on to become a psychiatrist. My mother was an important education reformer from the South. I graduated from an Ivy League school with an engineering degree, only to get selected in the first round of the Major League Baseball draft. I went on to play professionally for nearly 15 years, retiring into business then going on to write a book and a column for The New York Times.Today, I work at ESPN in another American dream job that lets me file my taxes under the description “baseball analyst.”

But I didn't mention any of this to the officer. I tried to take his question at face value, explaining that the Old Tudor house behind me was my own. The more I talked, the more senseless it seemed that I was even answering the question. But I knew I wouldn’t be smiling anymore that day.

In the long piece, the situation's many layers are explored. Two things struck a particular chord with us: 1) the fact that it didn't escalate into anything beyond a few calm words exchanged, yet the damage was still quite evident, and 2) the fact that Glanville seems to have a very good sense of self and his particular upbringing throughout it.

Please give it a read. You won't be disappointed.

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