The Boston Red Sox and owner John Henry will now be rewarded with a name change of Yawkey Way. Is this the sordid beginnings of a Red Sox Cultural Revolution?
Yawkey Way will be no longer be as Red Sox owner John Henry’s persistence will be rewarded with a name change to remove any tenuous link between present-day ownership and to airbrush history of the Yawkey years. This is not a new avenue of pursuit and merely represents an extension of removing the last or apparently all vestiges of history that make us or some of us uncomfortable. And Yawkey Way becomes a casualty in the cultural wars.
Statues, signs and even literature is being subjected to a cultural cleansing. The Red Guard would be proud of such actions to posthumously right societal wrongs by simply burying them. I may try the same tactic with some of my more onerous bills.
I know baseball history and know the racism that was an integral and there is no deniability to that part of the game and especially the Red Sox. I have written about it many times through the prism of the present time find it inconceivable by current standards. I have also had firsthand experience.
As a young teen temporarily living in Charlestown, South Carolina I saw the separation, restricted area, and the numerous other methods employed to intimidate and subjugate. That was for only a few months and then I returned home to Massachusetts with my mind and future being branded by the inequities I witnessed. Then I realized it existed under my youthful and naive nose when I returned home.
When I grew older I became acutely aware of the invisible connections to racism with red lining, ballot control, employment segregation and a society that had managed to keep in place a policy that is abhorant as possible. Unless you have just returned from living on Titan the legislative and social changes are well document as is a welcomed paradigm shift.
Michael Silverman and Steven Buckley of the Boston Herald have been front and center with their support of cleansing the past. Buckley even went to the extreme that: “these people should be happy it’s only a street sign that’s getting pulled down . . . and not the late Red Sox owner Thomas A. Yawkey’s plaque at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, N.Y.” The mob approach is Buckey’s remedy. Both Buckley and Silverman have voted and with great public bluster for PED users to be admitted to that very Hall. Selective ire? For me it is.
I have no idea what has triggered this sudden burst of revisionism? Is it another example of Anti-Trump sentiment? Does it have some type of coherent philosophical base? Does the next wave of the perpetually offended take an opposite view? Will there be a Thermidor Reaction? I really don’t care, but I do care about the past as a learning tool and that tool is become subject to the whims of the angry mob.
John W. Henry and Company is an investment management firm. Is Henry as concerned about the historical aspects of slavery, racism and their connection to American business? A startling list is available of companies that have deep roots and not so deep roots to slavery. Does Mr. Henry take them to task? Is he selective on his investments?
I do most certainly care about the collective deeds of a noted individual and that even means examining all the warts. Are Yawkey or Thomas Jefferson to be forever relegated to the historical dustbin over just the warts? We are supposed to learn from our past and not destroy it, but that seems to be passee to the new visionaries who now have formed a court of cultural justice. I expect a knock on the door shortly. Maybe it will be Buckley?