ESPN MLB analyst Doug Glanville is a smart, thoughtful individual. After his 9 year baseball career concluded, he became a successful writer featured in the New York Times, ESPN.com, and Time and wrote a book entitled The Game From Where I Stand.
It wasn’t a shock to see Glanville writing a column for The Atlantic, the shock came from the subject matter. Glanville details an incident from this winter where he was racially profiled while shoveling snow at his Hartford, Connecticut home. Glanville says he was questioned by a West Hartford policeman while shoveling his own driveway:
A police officer from West Hartford had pulled up across the street, exited his vehicle, and begun walking in my direction. I noted the strangeness of his being in Hartford—an entirely separate town with its own police force—so I thought he needed help. 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?”
Glanville explains the incident in detail, including his wife’s e-mail to a state senator who lives in the same neighborhood and his meeting at the West Hartford town hall. It’s an astonishing story that brings to light the ugliness of racial profiling. The column certainly addresses those larger questions at hand. He speaks out about racial profiling and the social dynamics in Hartford as well as what the event meant for his family. Here’s more from his column:
When my mother heard the story of the West Hartford policeman, she responded with wry humor: “You got your come-uppance again.” I knew exactly what she meant. If you are the president, or a retired professional athlete, it can be all too easy to feel protected from everyday indignities. But America doesn’t let any of us deny our connection to the black “everyman.” And unfortunately that connection, which should be a welcome one, can be forced upon us in a way that undermines our self-esteem, our collective responsibility, and our sense of family and history.
In a sense, the shoveling incident was a painful reminder of something I’ve always known: My biggest challenge as a father will be to help my kids navigate a world where being black is both a source of pride and a reason for caution. I want them to have respect for the police, but also a healthy fear—at least as long as racial profiling continues to be an element of law enforcement. But I also want them to go into the world with a firm sense of their own self-worth.
The fact that Glanville is an accomplished national television personality and former MLB player should make this column spread like wildfire. It’s an unbelievable story. Go read Glanville’s entire column here.