Friday, April 8, 2011

#612. The "Aren't you good at sports?" assumption

All Blacks are good at sports... right George Allen?
One of the incredible aspects about modern American life is the manner in which athletic dominance by Black people has been conditioned into the minds of white Americans. Spending vast amounts of time consuming collegiate and professional sports on television, white Americans have come to see the huge percentages of Black players in basketball and football contests and determined that this is a testament to their greater athletic ability.

Season One of The Office was incredibly risqué, and in one episode the white collar employees from Dunder Mifflin played the blue collar workers from the warehouse in a basketball game. Michael Scott, the boss in the show, automatically decides that the uppity Black curmudgeon Stanley Hudson (who is an out-of-shape, mid-50s, non-athlete) will be a starter on his team. After all, he’s Black and everyone knows that Black people automatically are good at sports:
Michael Scott: Let's put together the starting line-up, shall we? Stanley, of course. Stanley: I'm sorry? Michael Scott: Um, what do you play? Center? Stanley: Why 'of course'? What's that supposed to mean? Michael Scott: I donno... I don't remember saying that. Jim Halpert: Uh, I heard it. Michael Scott: Well people hear a lot of things, man.
The viewer quickly sees Stanley’s hopelessly inept ball-handling skills and the error in Michael Scott’s (Steve Carell’s character) stereotypical thinking that jeopardized his team’s opportunity to win.

Because the primary positive examples of Black people are engineered through sports – and this is one of the only manners in which white America interacts with Black people by watching Black people excel at sports on television and in person – the perception that all Black people have athletic dexterity is manufactured.
This bit of inculcation got former Virginia Senator George Allen in trouble recently with a Black reporter he assumed was an athlete:
Did former Virginia senator George Allen, who is trying to win back his old job, make another gaffe about race or was his encounter with a black TV reporter a misunderstanding?

Voters will get a chance to weigh in when the Republican faces off against Tea Party leader Jamie Radtke in a U.S. Senate primary next year. Democrat Jim Webb is not seeking re-election in 2012.

Here is a recap of events:

Allen asked reporter/anchor Craig Melvin, who works at the NBC affiliate in Washington, D.C., what position he played in sports. Melvin, who happens to be tall and African American, tweeted on Tuesday night that Allen had asked him this question twice in the last five months.

"I did not play a sport," Melvin wrote.
Tall and Black are usually the requirements for attaining a scholarship in basketball and mindless conversation about sports are a simple manner to create small talk between strangers. That Allen confused Melvin’s racial background and physically attributes for being an athlete is a testament to how impressive the conditioning of white people has been to the athletic dominance of Black people.

A general paucity of Black people in other professions puts an unfair obligation on Black athletes to provide the bulk of positive role models for their community. Black athletes are ambassadors for their race and since white people have been conditioned to believe Black dominance in sports is permanent, then all Black people should possess athletic adroitness that is superior to their own.

Black people who gain prominence in other professions outside of sports will always give white people that lingering level of doubt that they actually reached that position through merit. Sports – one would assume – offers a meritocracy, whereas Black Run America (BRA) ensures that merit is the last qualification or requirement for attaining prominence at a company or in the government.

Yes, we allude to affirmative action and the zeal that companies have for diversifying their workforce to appear socially conscious.

Without sports, Thug Report would provide the most vivid representation of Black people in America.

Even with sports, Thug Report seems to provide an accurate picture of many of the athletes who hold aloft the sole positive images of Black people.

Melvin should be excited he has a job in journalism. Affirmative action policies and a desire to diversify newsroom are ending, with the quality of material published by Black writers dropping to historic lows (evidenced by the fact Black journalists are the first fired).

Stuff Black People Don’t Like includes the “aren’t you good at sports?” assumption. Blacks who have risen in non-sports related vocations will always be looked upon as benefiting from affirmative action, since merit has little to do with promotion in Black Run America (BRA).

Black athletes are perceived as the best athletes, thus sports seem to be a meritocracy. Just ask Peyton Hillis how true this is in sports.


Anonymous said...

Oh numbered posts, how I have missed thee.

RobertB said...

Actually, anyone who has ever been on a team with blacks knows that most of them are no better than the average white kid and many worse. discrimination in their favor is at play here, as well. I saw it long ago when I was in HS, and i saw it more recently in my son's life.

He was made, in 8th grade (after being a starter in 7th grade) to lay down for a black kid, so to speak. I got upset because, the sport being wresting, the rule is, you wrestle for the spot. I called the state and they in turn told the coach that my son was to wrestle for the spot.I told my son how to wrestle him and trounced him. They made my son wrestle him again the next day. Again he won. When the coach did it again on the third day, I complained and asked him how many times this was to happen--he said every day. I asked why none of the other boys had to do this they wouldn't answer, so I called the state back. They called the coach and told him whatever rule applied to my son applied to the whole team--that's when it ended. However the coaches let me know that my son would never do well in HS.

Now--both coaches were white, the people who aided me at the state HS league level were black. My son went on to become a two time state champion--ranked 17th in the nation his senior year and had a collegiate career. The other boy? He died a miserable death as an athlete in 9th grade and was never seen again. Now the fact is, is that most white parents would have laid down on this--in fact, many other parents were very cold toward me after that. But, as I told my son, they were cowards and were jealous.

Any one who thinks isn't racism involved in this should read Tom Wolfe's "My Name Is Charlotte Simmons"--excellent book about both college life today and collegiate sports--basketball in particular. As always, it was well researched and well defined and Wolfe brings out the racism angle quite well as well as much else discussed here about sports.