I am originally from St. Croix, US Virgin Islands, which is located right next to Puerto Rico. Many black Puerto Ricans migrate to St. Croix because they cannot get jobs in their own native Puerto Rico. As great a player as Roberto Clemente was, what he did was only possible because of Jackie Robinson. Although Roberto Clemente was just as black as Jackie Robinson, with only a language difference, as are so many Latinos who play ball in Jackie Robinson's country, Puerto Ricans have a problem with their black content. Even the island's census figures only list the black portion of the population as 6 percent, although more than 60 percent of them are blacker than Gary Sheffield. The way life is for black Puerto Ricans in 2007 tells me that if Roberto Clemente did not achieve what he did, if he were still alive today he would have probably migrated from Puerto Rico just to make a reasonable living.
Frankly, all upstanding and self-respecting black and white Americans should feel insulted by the request of the HAA to have the accomplishments of Roberto Clemente compared to that of the great Jackie Robinson. The best thing the HAA can do is have Latino players acknowledge their African ancestral content, whether they are a David Ortiz or an Alex Rodriguez.
Sen. Winfield G. James
Nov 26 2007 - 11:29pm