Sunday, March 28, 2010

What's in a name? A youth sports league is asking

I received this the other day.

I am not involved in the research and don't know the researchers. But the project seems worthwhile so I am passing it on.

We are currently conducting research for a national youth baseball league to find out how people view the word "Dixie". Would you be willing to help us in our project?

We have a survey of about 10 questions that will take people no longer than five minutes to complete.

This is a link to the survey:

The email didn't mention it, but I assume the reference is to Dixie Baseball, an organization that as of 2005 included about 400,000 players. The league has a sullied past. It formed in 1955. That year, a Little League program in South Carolina composed of all African American players entered the annual post-season tournament (leading to the Little League World Series). This was during the days of institutionalized segregation.

All-white Little Leagues around the state balked. They refused to play the black team. Instead, 61 leagues organized their own tournament. Eventually, the movement grew into Dixie Baseball. Now Dixie leagues are in 11 states. The organization long ago outgrew its racist roots. Now, it appears open to shedding its name.

In 2005, the 50th anniversary of the controversy, Little League Baseball honored the black players from South Carolina. Nice story.

I recommend participating in the poll.

1 comment:

Air Time said...

I always have trouble looking back at the 50s and blaming people for behaving in a way that was culturally acceptable.

Today, of course, that type of behavior would never happen, and I would guess that most of the people involved in creating the Dixie baseball league, if they had to make the same decision in modern times, would view it differently and come to a different decision.

At this point, I don't see the sense in changing the name. I would rather they used it as a teaching point, and learned from their history so as not to make a similar mistake down the road.