Allies across campus are looking to spread the love (and awareness) during Valentine’s week. Allies Week is organized by CU groups including the GLBTQ Resource Center, Project4Unity and the Women’s Resource Center to educate and celebrate allies of multiple identities and communities.
Twenty years ago, basketball hall-of-famer Earvin “Magic” Johnson made a stunning announcement. On November 7, 1991, the Los Angeles Lakers legend told the world that he was HIV-positive and would be retiring from the National Basketball Association. His announcement rocked the sports world. Fans and detractors alike were shocked that such a popular, hyper-masculinized athlete could contract what had previously been seen as disease solely for the extremely deviant – the gays and the drug addicts – not for a heterosexual superstar. With his status, Magic Johnson shed new light on what it meant to be HIV-positive. While his story brought new attention to the disease, the media used his situation to perpetuate heterosexist and misogynistic ideals. Johnson’s own language after his announcement helped maintain his position as a hyper-masculine and hyper-heterosexual African American athlete. Subsequently, in the many articles that were written about him, these ideals persisted. Johnson’s situation was undoubtedly unique, but because of what he symbolized in popular culture, he was never demonized, but rather victimized and forgiven for his heterosexual promiscuity.
Through considering Latinos in baseball, how can we see changes in the color line and what does this teach us about race? Be sure to use the ideas of power and racialization to explain your answer.
While baseball’s color line is often portrayed in a black/white binary, Latino players proved there was a distinct gray (or in their case – brown) area. Latinos pushed the boundaries of the color line, but in doing so, became highly racialized figures. They were marketed as curiosities and were categorized not only racially, but also phenotypically and ethnically. Latino and African Americans experienced solidarity – especially in organically diverse communities such as Harlem – but lighter-skinned, Spanish-bred Latinos were positioned as distinctly non-black. The Latino baseball experience proves that discrimination and racialization are more than just black and white, cut and dry issue, and their presence in the game not only helped break the color line, but is still felt today.
Valentine’s Day is typically a holiday when people celebrate love.
However, for a growing number of same-sex couples, Feb. 14 is a dark reminder of their abusive relationships.