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Educator and Journalist Esther Wojcicki Makes Discriminatory Remarks About Alex Rodriguez, Professional Athletes, and the Latino Community

Nelson SantanaComment
  Photo:  Alex Rodriguez in deep thought/ Source:  Alex Rodriguez's Facebook page. 

Photo: Alex Rodriguez in deep thought/Source: Alex Rodriguez's Facebook page. 

By Nelson Santana
November 22, 2017

Hatred toward baseball great Alex Rodriguez not only comes from within the baseball sphere, but apparently, the hatred also comes from racist educators and non-sports journalists. Elitist journalist and educator Esther Wojcicki recently made some discriminatory remarks toward the three-time American League Most Valuable Player, who briefly dated her daughter in 2016. 

In an interview with The New York Times, Wojcicki—child of Russian Jewish immigrants—claimed that Rodriguez was not on the same intellectual level as her entrepreneur daughter, Anne Wojcicki, founder of 23andMe. Wojcicki told The NY Times that Rodriguez is unintelligent due to his focus on baseball and because he does not possess a college degree. Wojcicki’s logic is flawed and antiquated as she perpetuates the stereotype that an athlete is not smart due to their prowess in sports. To excel in any sport requires technical skills that not everyone can possess. Individuals like Wojcicki believe that reading books or having a diploma constitutes intelligence. However, using prior knowledge, skills, logic, and critical thinking to perform a task—as in Rodriguez’s case—is also an indication of someone’s intelligence.

It is very troubling and frightening to know there are educators like Esther Wojcicki whose philosophical beliefs reach the classroom—a space where creativity is to be nurtured.

Very nonchalantly, Wojcicki noted that Rodriguez is “Hispanic” and that he is better off with his current attention-seeking girlfriend, Jennifer Lopez. Wojcicki could not handle Rodriguez’s star-power. According to Wojcicki, Rodriguez’s family and her daughter could not walk together in public because people would constantly request a photo or autograph. As absurd as it may seem, Wojcicki appears to conflate matters by tapping into stereotypes such as that Hispanics (and Latinos) are lazy attention-seekers who drop out or do not attend college because they simply lack intelligence. 

Born in New York in 1941, Wojcicki’s formative years occurred during Jim Crow while millions mobilized for civil rights equality. In addition, she grew up in an Orthodox Jewish community. Hence, it is puzzling that Wojcicki would make comments that would allude to exposing her as a racist or at the very least an elitist.

For a glimpse of what Wojcicki said in The New York Times article, see below:

He came from a Hispanic family. We liked them, they were very sweet. He seemed to be genuinely in love with Anne. But I right away figured out this was a mismatch. He had no academic background. We couldn’t have an intellectual conversation about anything. His main interest in life was something that none of us had ever focused on, which was baseball. He could park himself in front of a TV and watch baseball for 10 hours a day. He wasn’t even sure he wanted to go on the yacht with Anne because the TV might not be working. I wish J-Lo all the luck in the world.

 Alex Rodriguez batting.

Alex Rodriguez batting.

We couldn’t go anywhere with him. If we went to Target to look for clothes for the kids, all of a sudden we’d be looking around and people would be saying, ‘We just want a selfie with A-Rod.’ He can’t walk across Central Park. He has to take a cab. That will work better with J-Lo because she’s like, ‘Take a picture of me anytime.

The article oversexualizes Jennifer Lopez and in parenthesis adds the following line: 

The evidence can be seen on the current cover of Vanity Fair, in which an entwined J-Rod gaze longingly into Mario Testino’s lens, and in an inside spread with him pulling up her dress to reveal a crystal-encrusted Tom Ford thong.) 

In today's political climate, athletes are vocal in their stance against racism. All-star quarterback Colin Kaepernick has been blacklisted by the National Football League for bringing awareness about the deterioration of race relations in the United States. Following in Kaepernick's footsteps, other athletes, more notably in basketball and football have taken a knee during the national anthem at sporting events. More than a decade prior to Kaepernick, baseball player Carlos Delgado protested the United States' involvement in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Wojcicki's discriminatory remarks come at a time when conservative politicians in power are also aiding the spread of racist ideas and anti-immigrant sentiment and policies. 

In today’s political climate, athletes are vocal in their stand against racism

Wojcicki is credited as the founder of the Palo Alto High School Media Arts Center in Palo Alto, California. She is someone who holds power over the next generation of thinkers. It is very troubling and frightening to know there are educators like Esther Wojcicki whose philosophical beliefs reach the classroom—a space where creativity is to be nurtured. It is time to ask: how many creative young minds has Wojcicki aimed to destroy? 

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Nelson is the producer at ESENDOM and he splits his time between New York and the Dominican Republic. He loves comics as much as he loves bachata and típico. He is currently an assistant professor and collection development librarian. His work has appeared in diverse publications including the first translation project pertinent to the writings of Juan Pablo Duarte. Feel free to hit him up at nelson.santana[at]esendom.com.