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The Marlins: Forgiveness, Respect and a Message to the Black Community

by Vanessa Woodard Byers

It seems The Marlins have a real problem on their hands. As much as they want the Ozzie Guillen - Fidel Castro controversy to go away, it hasn't.

Now it seems the Cuban American Bar Association is not so forgiving. They have pulled out of next week's Lawyer Appreciation Night at the stadium. Surely this situation lends itself to inserting a cruel joke about lawyers at this juncture but the Cuban community finds no humor in this situation or anything dealing with Fidel Castro.

I don't know Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen from a can of paint but I'm sure he didn't expect fallout of this magnitude from an interview. This is Miami where there are no words to accurately describe the hatred for Fidel Castro by the Cuban exile community. Guillen learned that the hard way. He got some slack previously after favorable remarks about Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez, but not so with Fidel.

Some editorials have been published basically advocating forgiveness and moving on in this situation. I have to tell you part of me understands that call for forgiveness. It's the Christian thing to do.

On the other hand, if I'm being honest, most of me applauds the staunch position taken by the Cuban community. Why? Well, as unforgiving as they may seem to some people, the Cuban community demands and expects respect. If black folk did the same thing, we wouldn't experience such strife as a collective group.

But what do we tend to do? Get emotional and then get quiet. It's a pattern repeated often and a formula used to manipulate us as a people. Rather than doing what is most productive and favorable for our people group, we must be cajoled into voting, supporting black schools, black businesses, etc.

Unfortunately, many of us never really change because we don't really change our consciousness. We didn't really learn the power of self-determination. We didn't really learn the power of collective work and responsibility. We didn't really learn the power of cooperative economics. We didn't learn self-love and self-respect. We go through the motions until the next crisis, just like a wind up toy. What a shame.

And another thing...a five game suspension for Guillen? Really? Come on, Marlins management, that's an insult.


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