For a moment I thought, “Well, he must mean Aaron would have faced more racism if the racists of the mid-century had had Twitter and other social media tools at their disposal.” That would make more sense. There was a larger segment of the population that had a problem with black people, and they would have been given quicker, more public access to Aaron to make their voices heard. But that’s not what he means.
As he pursued Babe Ruth’s historic home-run record, bigots, racists and haters chased him. Only he can know how painful that ordeal must have been. Still, he is lucky it didn’t happen today.
Among other silly things, Jon Friedman alleges, “Aaron got off easy four decades ago, long before social media dominated every facet of our lives.”
I’m betting Aaron probably doesn’t agree he “got off easy.” The writer also concludes the famously rather reticent Aaron would not have thrived on Twitter:
He likely would have flopped on Twitter. Aaron is by his nature an articulate and measured speaker, but articulate and measured speakers are not exactly revered in social media. Aaron’s dignity and integrity would have gone unappreciated on Twitter.
Yes, keep him away from Twitter. Better for him to live to see the smart, dignified way his legacy is treated in a national newsweekly.
In this construction, America has progressed not at all on race since 1974. This is, in a word, insane.
There are plenty of measures that refute this, including the elections of 2008 and 2012, but let me just leave this here:
PRINCETON, NJ — Continuing to represent one of the largest shifts of public opinion in Gallup history, 87% of Americans now favor marriage between blacks and whites, up from 4% in 1958.
If you’d like to know what Aaron actually did face in a world without Twitter (and a good, thorough portrait of a sometimes prickly sports hero), instead of this nonsense, “The Last Hero” is a great read.