Sports. If you are still under the delusion that sports aren’t the reason Black people in America enjoy the current status as cultural icons worthy of undying praise and worship, then perhaps the next few paragraphs will be sufficient to change your mind.
This past weekend in the state of Alabama, a combined 154,529 people packed Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn and Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa to watch spring football scrimmages:
OK. What's the difference between 91,312 and 63,217? And don't tell me it's 28,095.
I can do the math.
But numbers alone don't explain why another massive Alabama A-Day crowd overshadowed the largest A-Day crowd in Auburn history.
An Auburn fan might say that a lot of his fellow Auburn fans have better things to do on a warm and sunny April Saturday than to watch a football scrimmage.
Or does spring-game attendance mean about as much as the spring-game statistics or the spring-game final score?
You tell me. No, really, go ahead and comment. Compare and contrast. Rant and vent. Just keep it clean, please. This is Sunday, you know.
All I know is that 154,529 people walked into two football stadiums in this state Saturday, five months before the first game of the season.
Yes, spring football scrimmages. Not even a real game, just two college football scrimmages at two overwhelming traditionally white institutions of higher learning that field football teams that reflect the racial of makeup of Jefferson County, Alabama as opposed to the student bodies of which the athlete-students purportedly represent.
It is through sports we are programmed to see positive images of Black people, who represent 80 percent of the NBA players and 69 percent of the NFL players.
However, a recent article over at Yahoo helps anyone who wants to understand why such discrepancies in representation (after all, Black people are only 13 percent of the US population, as opposed to white people being 66 percent) exist among Black participation and white participation, and it has to do with the wildly talented Toby Gerhart. Talented though he might be at running with the inflated pigskin, he is handicapped with an uncontrollable curse (he’s a white guy playing a Black position):
When NFL scouts look at Gerhart, they see a 6-foot, 231-pound power back who ran for 1,871 yards and 27 touchdowns last season, getting edged out by Alabama’s Mark Ingram in the closest Heisman vote in history. When they look at Gerhart’s numbers from the NFL scouting combine, they see that he ran a 4.50-second 40-yard dash and registered a 38-inch vertical leap, both impressive numbers for a player his size.
Yet they also see a white guy trying to make it in the league as a feature back, something that has become increasingly rare in this era.
Race shouldn’t be an issue, of course, but Gerhart can’t help but believe that it has colored the opinions of at least some potential employers.
“One team I interviewed with asked me about being a white running back,” Gerhart says. “They asked if it made me feel entitled, or like I felt I was a poster child for white running backs. I said, ‘No, I’m just out there playing ball. I don’t think about that.’ I didn’t really know what to say.”
The National Football League (NFL), one of the most popular brands of entertainment on the planet, practices employment discrimination and the treatment of Toby Gerhart acts as a microcosm for what white athletes have faced for years. By favoring Black athletes and refusing to draft competent white athletes due to long held stereotypes of being “intelligent” but “too slow” to succeed at positions staffed primarily by Black athletes, the NFL opens the door to a potential EEOC violation.
This is the only reason Black Run America (BRA) exists, and having white athletes succeed jeopardizes that success. Remember that Duke Basketball team that is so hated and reviled? By winning the 2010 NCAA Basketball championship, the 80 percent white Duke team threatened the hegemony of Black athletes and by extension, the foundational tenets of Black Run America.
Sports Illustrated once asked “What Happened to the White Athlete?” With the treatment of Toby Gerhart and the vitriol extended to Duke basketball success, we know the answer. They have been systematically targeted for extinction by a policy of exclusion, yet conversely, white fans (who comprise the majority of season ticket holders and supporters) continually support teams that they have no identification with and represent an entirely different culture (Jeff Benedict has documented the trials and tribulations in two devastating books on Black criminality in both the NBA and NFL).
Steve Sailer used data from a tremendously enlightening study – The Politics of Sports Fans – to help show a correlation between sport and politics that we at SBPDL will expound upon further:
A new survey of the athletic and political tastes of 218,313 American adults confirms old stereotypes and identifies fun new ones. The Politics of Sports Fans from the marketing research firm National Media Research, Planning and Placement includes a sophisticated graph that rewards careful scrutiny: Your browser may not support display of this image.
Fans of PGA golf are represented by the red disk in the upper right corner. They both vote the most Republican (which is why they are farthest to the right on the horizontal Party axis) and just plain vote the most (they are nearest the top on the vertical Turnout axis).
(By the way, the red and blue hues merely reiterate visually which quadrant a sport falls in.)
The larger a sport’s dot, the higher the percentage of grown-ups who say they are “very interested” in it. Not surprisingly, pro football (the big red “NFL” disk near the center) has the most, and most-average, fans.
The least likely to vote are pro wrestling fans (the pale blue dot in the lower left). The most Democratic are the small number of fans of the Women’s NBA, while the NBA’s fans are the second most liberal…
The surprise hit sports film The Blind Side, a rare Hollywood movie made by a conservative director, John Lee Hancock, was based on the true story of a wealthy Christian Republican couple, played by Oscar-winner Sandra Bullock and country singer Tim McGraw, who adopted a giant black youth and groomed him to play football at their alma mater, Ole Miss. The movie unintentionally exemplified how sports consume so much conservative energy and wealth in America.
We love Michael Oher at SBPDL, because the story highlights a gross disconnect between white American and Black America. 70 percent of Black people are born out of wedlock, and yet, who steps in to help these beleaguered kids out through adoption? Certainly not Black people, and in the Michael Oher story, we have a celebration of his removal from a community that personified indifference and neglect and his resurrection in another community (white) based on his profound ability to play football.
Who is it paying to see athlete-students compete in college football, the opiate of America? White alumni. Who is it paying to watch the NFL games – a league drenched with the fool stench of discrimination – and rabidly following the news of the teams? White people.
An interesting correlation exists between the love of sports, the creation of Black Run American and South Africa that we will explain in great detail in a post on Friday, but the book Playing the Enemy and the subsequent film it was based upon (Invictus), have a disconcerting connection.
South Africa is on the verge of collapse, as under the watchful eyes and auspices of Black people the nation has endured tragedy that rivals any from Greek myth.
Yet, it was sport that blinded the people of South Africa (who comprised the founding stock of that nation) and allowed the peaceful capitulation of power to the African National Congress (ANC) and Black people, for the installation of Black Run South Africa (BRSA).
It was rugby, the opiate of the Afrikaners that allowed this suicidal pact to occur:
As John Carlin puts it in "Playing the Enemy," paraphrasing Garibaldi on the birth of Italy, the election had created a new South Africa; now Mandela's task was to create South Africans. This wonderful book describes Mandela's methodical, improbable and brilliant campaign to reconcile resentful blacks and fearful whites around a sporting event, a game of rugby.
That South Africa's first patch of common ground might be a rugby field was preposterous on the face of it. Rugby was the secular religion of the Afrikaners, the white tribe that invented and enforced apartheid. It was a sport that most blacks considered - if they considered it at all - "the brutish, alien pastime of a brutish, alien people."
The anti-apartheid movement had fought passionately for a world boycott of South Africa's team, the Springboks, knowing that this, as much as economic sanctions and domestic unrest, would drive home to ordinary Afrikaners that their dominion was untenable. Now, in an attempt to reassure the defeated minority that they had a rightful place in the new order, Mandela agreed to host the 1995 rugby World Cup games in South Africa. More than that, he set out to transform black South Africans into Springbok enthusiasts by lending his personal charisma to the loathed sport and by mobilizing all races in pursuit of a world championship.
A caveat is required: the premise that a single rugby game, even a championship game, could heal three centuries of racial division, dispelling accumulated terrors and hatreds in a magic Mandela moment, is romantic overstatement. South Africa is still a generation or two from racial reconciliation. But Carlin summons many witnesses, from ardent liberation firebrands to white racist bitter-enders, who testify that the 1995 championship match was a profoundly formative moment in the young country's move away from the threat of civil war. By the time Carlin is finished, you'll be inclined to grant him his poetic license…
There are scenes that will open your tear ducts, like the chapter in which the muscle-bound Springboks - "Hollywood central casting's overenthusiastic response to a request for 26 Roman gladiators" - set out to learn how to sing "Nkosi Sikelele iAfrika," the thrilling Xhosa-language liberation hymn that became one of South Africa's two national anthems. Or when, on the morning of the climactic match, the rugby captain leads his men from their hotel for a warm-up jog, and four black children selling newspapers recognize them and call out to them by name - adoring fans from the other side of history. Or when the uniformly white crowd greets Mandela with a rapturous chorus: "Nel-son! Nel-son! Nel-son!"
The book Playing the Enemy and the Clint Eastwood film Invictus are little more than hagiography for Nelson Mandela and scarcely portray the real South Africa that will soon play host to the 2010 World Cup.
South Africa is on the verge of collapse, a potential racial war and the instigation of 4th Generational Warfare. Worse, all of this could unfold before a world-wide audience bent on following the fortunes of their nation in the World Cup. We can only help they fair better than the Angola team.
It serves as a fitting metaphor for America then, that football could be the “opiate for white Americans” as they see a new nation being erected and the vestiges of the old Pre-Obama America swept away for good.
Like the South Africans and rugby, as long as Americans have football to follow, all is well.
That more than 150,000 people attended two inter-squad football scrimmages in April of 2010 is an indicator of the power and allure of the opiate that has pronounced hold on white America.
While Jefferson County, Alabama – the home of Birmingham – falls into disrepair thanks to the brilliant leadership of it elected Black officials, white people flee to suburbs of Vestavia Hills, Mountain Brook and Hoover (where basketball riots started by Black people are commonplace).
Legion Field once hosted the annual Iron Bowl between Auburn and Alabama, but the area surrounding the stadium is unsafe thanks to the bountiful supply of Black people, who supply a steady-stream of crime that forced the erection of a massive fence around Birmingham Southern College, in a last ditch effort to insulate the school from Black criminality.
Though white people will move great distance to avoid being neighbors with Black people, they will stand and applaud young Black men who are ill-equipped for the rigors of academic work at major institutions of higher learning, yet perform with aplomb on the playing fields. Such is the dichotomy of life in the 21st Century: Residential patterns of obvious racial segregation yet morbid fascination by white fans with the athletic talents of young Black men with whom the only contact they will ever have is watching them perform on the playing field.
If they were to pass them on the street in their car, a quick locking of the door would commence.
Stuff Black People Don’t Like finds the situation in America – especially the south – eerily reminiscent of the South African situation in 1994 (the infatuation with sports that leads directly to the downfall of the nation). Consider again the book Playing the Enemy:
The book's theme is the South African "miracle": the negotiated revolution that saw apartheid give way to majority rule without the bloodbath many expected. Key to that process, Carlin believes, was Mandela's decision in prison that he needed to woo his Afikaner adversaries. He learned Afrikaans to win over a harsh warder; he mugged up on rugby, the Afrikaners' "secular religion". No sanction against apartheid hurt more than being deprived of Springbok rugby, in which Afrikaners could compete against the world. The yearning to be accepted once more on the rugby pitch played its part in bringing about change.
But as Mandela was winning over his captors with a formidable combination of natural authority, charm and a refusal to yield on principles, a potential race war was looming. His release in 1990 did nothing to stop bloodshed in black townships; it intensified, as white right-wingers talked openly of a coup.
College football and basketball rosters regularly look like a test sample from the latest offering of Thugreport.com (indeed, the fine website Every Day Should Be Saturday has a running tally of the criminality of major college football teams).
Just like in South Africa with rugby, college football is the opiate of America.
Lost in all of this is manufactured belief in Black athletic supremacy, which when challenged (the case of Duke Basketball in 2010 and Toby Gerhart) threatens to undermine the entire system on which Black Run America precariously rests.
Remember, it has always been ONE game that is used as evidence of the necessity of Black players (1970 Alabama vs. Southern Cal in football, the Texas Western vs. Kentucky final in college basketball).
Black dominance of sports (outside of baseball) is so ingrained in the minds of sports fans that seeing a white player excel (like Toby Gerhart or the 2010 Duke Basketball team) creates cognitive dissonance.
The casual fan scoffs at a white player performing admirably since he has long been told ‘white men can’t jump’ yet a far worse situation is actually the reality for white players, as they are systematically discriminated against.
Toby Gerhart illustrates this perfectly.
But, fans will still show up in droves for spring scrimmage games that are virtually meaningless to cheer for players they have absolutely nothing in common with and who only use the university as a stepping-stone to the professional realm of athletics.
Like the South Africans, as long as Americans have the opiate of sport to follow and consume, they will remain steadfastly apathetic to state of affairs of their nation.