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Thu Jul 5, 2012, 05:22 PM

 

So, is slavery responsible for the athletic performance of African Americans?

The Olympian Michael Johnson seems to think so.

"The Olympic gold medallist and BBC commentator said: ‘Over the last few years, athletes of Afro- Caribbean and Afro-American descent have dominated athletics finals.

‘It’s a fact that hasn’t been discussed openly before. It’s a taboo subject in the States but it is what it is. Why shouldn’t we discuss it?’"
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2167064/London-2012-Olympics-Michael-Johnson-descendants-slaves-medals-sprint-finals.html#ixzz1zlOdi5sb

This is much the same argument that was made in the book "The Bell Curve", and the author got blasted as a racist. So is this theory now valid since it is an African American making the same argument?

67 replies, 7917 views

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Reply So, is slavery responsible for the athletic performance of African Americans? (Original post)
MadHound Jul 2012 OP
RebelOne Jul 2012 #1
mathematic Jul 2012 #31
Solomon Jul 2012 #2
MadHound Jul 2012 #7
muriel_volestrangler Jul 2012 #16
MadHound Jul 2012 #22
muriel_volestrangler Jul 2012 #23
MadHound Jul 2012 #40
muriel_volestrangler Jul 2012 #43
Number23 Jul 2012 #54
Indydem Jul 2012 #3
MadHound Jul 2012 #5
Indydem Jul 2012 #6
MrSlayer Jul 2012 #4
Logical Jul 2012 #8
Schema Thing Jul 2012 #9
Warren Stupidity Jul 2012 #10
Coexist Jul 2012 #11
muriel_volestrangler Jul 2012 #21
Electric Monk Jul 2012 #28
Johonny Jul 2012 #34
HotRodTuna Jul 2012 #24
Marr Jul 2012 #12
ananda Jul 2012 #13
ProgressiveEconomist Jul 2012 #14
cthulu2016 Jul 2012 #15
JonLP24 Jul 2012 #57
2on2u Jul 2012 #17
RegieRocker Jul 2012 #18
taught_me_patience Jul 2012 #19
Iggo Jul 2012 #20
4th law of robotics Jul 2012 #25
uponit7771 Jul 2012 #37
Egalitarian Thug Jul 2012 #26
Retrograde Jul 2012 #67
JoePhilly Jul 2012 #27
4th law of robotics Jul 2012 #29
jonthebru Jul 2012 #66
mathematic Jul 2012 #35
JoePhilly Jul 2012 #48
uponit7771 Jul 2012 #38
vaberella Jul 2012 #30
ProgressiveEconomist Jul 2012 #32
Johonny Jul 2012 #33
cwydro Jul 2012 #36
XemaSab Jul 2012 #39
retread Jul 2012 #41
Mr Dixon Jul 2012 #42
JustABozoOnThisBus Jul 2012 #44
Mr Dixon Jul 2012 #45
AngryAmish Jul 2012 #46
lynne Jul 2012 #47
ProSense Jul 2012 #49
mzteris Jul 2012 #50
mathematic Jul 2012 #58
bluerum Jul 2012 #51
Nikia Jul 2012 #52
The Midway Rebel Jul 2012 #53
JonLP24 Jul 2012 #55
Maraya1969 Jul 2012 #56
entanglement Jul 2012 #59
cherokeeprogressive Jul 2012 #60
Liberal_in_LA Jul 2012 #61
FarCenter Jul 2012 #62
cherokeeprogressive Jul 2012 #63
loose wheel Jul 2012 #64
flvegan Jul 2012 #65

Response to MadHound (Original post)

Thu Jul 5, 2012, 05:27 PM

1. Our Atlanta Peachtree Race on July 4th

was won by a Kenyan and a Nigerian. The African runners always come in first on these races each year. I do not think slavery had anything to do with it.

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Response to RebelOne (Reply #1)

Thu Jul 5, 2012, 07:26 PM

31. That's a distance race and the winners were East African.

I was kinda surprised that you said a nigerian won so I looked up the results. It was an ethiopian. Distance running is an entirely different physical activity than sprinting. I can beat world class sprinters in a 5k and I'm just some guy.

The fact that East Africans dominate in distance events and West African descendents dominate sprints is just more evidence that "race" is a bogus concept in genetics. As for the slavery hypothesis, I don't buy that. Actual West Africans are also pretty good at sprinting. Though it's not out of the realm of possibility that there was some sort of extreme selection pressure I just don't see how speed/power-based sport performance is evidence of that.

Overall, I don't get what the big deal is. It's not like people of european descent suck at sports or at running. The world record miler is morrocan. That's basically "mediterranean melting pot" genetically. Generally, northern europeans and iberians are competitive in world class distance events. Also for some reason eastern european women, but not men, are standouts in middle distance (800/1500m).

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Response to MadHound (Original post)

Thu Jul 5, 2012, 05:28 PM

2. lol. Boy you are just stoking it, aren't you.

The bell curve goes much further than this theory and you know it.

Epic fail.

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Response to Solomon (Reply #2)

Thu Jul 5, 2012, 05:35 PM

7. I'm stoking nothing,

 

And The Bell Curve was indeed saying essentially the same thing, that one ethnic group was superior to another ethnic group due to their genetic makeup. Johnson is stating that African Americans are superior athletes because of their genetic makeup, Murray stated that whites are superior scholars because of their genetic makeup. What's the difference?

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Response to MadHound (Reply #7)

Thu Jul 5, 2012, 05:48 PM

16. You're saying The Bell Curve was just about sprinting performance?

You're claiming it was only about the descendants of slaves? You're denying it said something about IQ?

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Response to muriel_volestrangler (Reply #16)

Thu Jul 5, 2012, 06:29 PM

22. Umm, you didn't read my post did you.

 

From my post, "Johnson is stating that African Americans are superior athletes because of their genetic makeup, Murray stated that whites are superior scholars because of their genetic makeup."

Please, please, read my posts thoroughly before you come out blasting, OK.

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Response to MadHound (Reply #22)

Thu Jul 5, 2012, 06:48 PM

23. The idea of the documentary is that selection during slavery had an effect

on the overall genetic health of the slave population. That is quite different from Murray's "whites are superior scholars because of their genetic makeup"; and yet your OP claimed 'this is much the same argument that was made in the book "The Bell Curve"'. And then you claimed 'The Bell Curve was indeed saying essentially the same thing' as the documentary. It doesn't; The Bell Curve is about IQ. The Bell Curve cannot point to some conditions in which intelligence is highly selected in European (or Asian) populations, but is not in African American populations. It just says "that's how everyone is".

The Bell Curve claims there's some innate intellectual superiority among Europeans and Asians; this documentary claims better average strength and health among African Americans because of a deplorable, but properly identifiable, history.

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Response to muriel_volestrangler (Reply #23)

Fri Jul 6, 2012, 06:19 AM

40. Umm, what documentary are you talking about?

 

You keep referring to a documentary, yet none has been mentioned.

The Bell Curve indeed makes the point that whites are inherently more intelligent because of their genetic makeup. Johnson is trying to make the point that African Americans are inherently more physically superior because of their genetic makeup. Whats the difference between the two?

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Response to MadHound (Reply #40)

Fri Jul 6, 2012, 08:11 AM

43. The documentary Johnson presented, which the article you linked to was about

It seems that you, as the thread starter, didn't even bother to read the article you linked to:

Johnson, 44, had a DNA test for a Channel 4 documentary, Michael Johnson: Survival Of The Fastest, to be screened on Thursday night, which confirmed he is of West African descent.


The documentary is why the Mail wrote the article.

http://www.channel4.com/programmes/michael-johnson-survival-of-the-fastest

http://www.guardian.co.uk/tv-and-radio/2012/jul/05/hitler-stalin-and-mr-jones?newsfeed=true
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/tvandradio/9379780/Michael-Johnson-Survival-of-the-Fastest-C4-review.html
http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/tv/reviews/last-nights-viewing-michael-johnson-survival-of-the-fittest-channel-4storyville-hitler-stalin-and-mr-jones-bbc4-7917851.html
http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/07/05/television-review-michael_n_1653493.html

The Bell Curve waves its hands and says "whites are more intelligent because they are, that's all", and was promptly used by racists as reasons to ignore black poverty, because they say "they're always going to be stupid, and therefore poor". This thesis says that the conditions of slavery meant that the survivors are healthier (up to the age of parenthood, anyway - problems like diabetes were also noted) than an average population (of Africans, or Europeans), and this means more athletes come from the African American (or Caribbean) population. For one thing, it at least tries to be plausible in genetic terms.

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Response to muriel_volestrangler (Reply #43)

Sat Jul 7, 2012, 09:31 PM

54. Heh. Busted. Now I understand the rec count for this OP

as well as bit more about the OP as a whole.

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Response to MadHound (Original post)

Thu Jul 5, 2012, 05:28 PM

3. Perhaps you should read.

He is NOT saying slavery has anything to do with athletic performance.

His claim that Africans, as a whole, have superior athletic abilities to anglo-westerners.

Therefore, those descendants of those transported to America (and other countries) by slavery who are participating in the games, will be dominant.

You are making a connection where none exists.

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Response to Indydem (Reply #3)

Thu Jul 5, 2012, 05:32 PM

5. Perhaps you should read as well,

 

From the link, first paragraph, "Olympic legend Michael Johnson says a ‘superior athletic gene’ in the descendants of West African slaves means black American and Caribbean sprinters will command the sport at the London Games."

Then he goes into great detail about oxygen levels aboard slave ships and other such matters.

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Response to MadHound (Reply #5)

Thu Jul 5, 2012, 05:34 PM

6. Really? "He" said that??

"Jamaican geneticist Dr Rachael Irving said: ‘There was not much oxygen on slave ships so they had to use whatever they had to survive.’ "

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Response to MadHound (Original post)

Thu Jul 5, 2012, 05:30 PM

4. Jimmy the Greek said it and got fired.

 

Chris Rock said it and everyone pretty much agreed.

I think it's fair to say that if you breed the biggest and strongest males of whatever species with the biggest and strongest females, you will have bigger and stronger offspring.

Why is it wrong to say this?

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Response to MrSlayer (Reply #4)

Thu Jul 5, 2012, 05:35 PM

8. It is not wrong to discuss it. Logically. Some people just want to complain about everything.

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Response to MrSlayer (Reply #4)

Thu Jul 5, 2012, 05:36 PM

9. It was very much survival of the (physically) fittest coupled with extremely un-natural selection.

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Response to MrSlayer (Reply #4)

Thu Jul 5, 2012, 05:36 PM

10. Did Hitler's genocide result in smarter, survival oriented Jews?

Some topics are really offensive in their implications and are best left to other sites, like for example StormFront.

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Response to Warren Stupidity (Reply #10)

Thu Jul 5, 2012, 05:39 PM

11. +1

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Response to Warren Stupidity (Reply #10)

Thu Jul 5, 2012, 06:27 PM

21. That wouldn't be a good comparison

The idea is that transportation in slave ships was so tough that you had to be healthy and strong to survive it; and slave owners would sometimes follow that up by forcing their best slaves to have sex to produce strong slave children. But the genocide of the Jews wasn't particularly selective - most were killed whatever their health. In some labour camps, I suppose it might have been possible that the healthier did survive better; whether that could have an effect in the genome in a few years could be another matter (as opposed to a couple of centuries for slavery).

I've just watched the programme. It also suggested that the mixing of people from many parts of Africa - from Senegal right down to South Africa (between which there's a lot of genetic variation) could also have increased the health of their descendants. But it seems to be just a hypothesis - there didn't seem to be any evidence for significant genetic differences between the population shipped to the Americas, and those in Africa.

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Response to Warren Stupidity (Reply #10)

Thu Jul 5, 2012, 07:17 PM

28. Arguably, yes. Look at today's Israel. They take no shit from anyone.

I don't think that's a "stormfront" argument, it's just reality. They did learn how to not be victimized again, by being aggressive instead.

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Response to Warren Stupidity (Reply #10)

Thu Jul 5, 2012, 07:50 PM

34. of course Jews dominated basket ball before Hitler hmm....

If you trace basketball back to the 1920s, '30s, and '40s, that's when the Jewish people were very dominant in the inner city. And they dominated basketball.

http://hoopedia.nba.com/index.php?title=Questions_of_Race

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Response to MrSlayer (Reply #4)

Thu Jul 5, 2012, 06:53 PM

24. It's not wrong

 

some people just can't have an honest conversation on factual merits without finding some way to be offended by it. Or worry that others, who weren't really paying attention and only hear the highlights, might be offended and then it'll blow back on them.

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Response to MadHound (Original post)

Thu Jul 5, 2012, 05:40 PM

12. Different populations do seem to have different capabilities in sports.

Speaking as an average, I mean. Africans have dominated distance running for some time, Easter Europeans seem particularly suited to powerlifting, etc. That's not to say that individuals from any given population can't be the best at a given activity, just that the proficiency seems more common in different populations.

Tying it to slavery seems a bit odd to me, however.

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Response to MadHound (Original post)

Thu Jul 5, 2012, 05:42 PM

13. Look at what people spend time doing.

Practicing sports

Reading books, studying

And so on....

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Response to MadHound (Original post)

Thu Jul 5, 2012, 05:44 PM

14. IMO continuing institutionalized racism provides African-Americans with incentives

RIGHT NOW to seek opportunities in fields where success or failure is clearly objective, rather than in fields where success or failure is more subjective. The journalist Robert Jensen (U of Texas) has written memorably about how "white privilege" advantages people whose skin color matches that of the "deciders".

In contrast, it can't be clearer who wins a race where everyone starts from exactly the same place, who scores more points in a basketball game, or who gains more ground on the football field.

If there were less white privilege, then African-Americans would face different incentives for decisions about where to invest their hopes and efforts.

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Response to MadHound (Original post)

Thu Jul 5, 2012, 05:44 PM

15. No, not slavery

Almost all the top sprinters in the world are of sub-saharan African descent and that's just what it is. It isn't due to selective breeding during slavery or any of that nonsense. (Who would have been seeking foot-speed? I would think slavers would seek strength and endurance, but isn't foot speed kind of the last thing a slaver would want in a population that would like to escape? Sheesh. I never got the whole slavery/eugenics argument about foot speed.)

It just happens to be a (positive and very slight) trait of an ethnic group.

There is nothing sinister about the fact that different ethnic groups have slight physical variations. On average Watusi are tall. Arabs are hairier than Japanese. Samoans tend to be thick-set. Chinese people tend to have straight back hair. Europeans have bigger noses than most folks. These are tendencies... statistical averages.

Some group will have a slightly higher or lower incidence of a certain cancer, a slightly different reaction to sodium... whatever.

Unless a person is a crazy arch-racist who insists on assessing human worth in terms of incidence of hypertension, or hair texture, or resistance to skin cancer then the slight (average) physical differences among groups is nothing scary.

Slight physical variations in a population lead to extreme effects at the statistical tails. For instance, men are only a little taller than women on average but the overwhelming majority of seven foot tall people are men.

Similarly, people of sub-saharan African descent seem to have some tiny average advantage in the composition of muscles and that tiny advantage becomes quite noticable when you narrow it down to the top 50 or 100 fastest people in the world.

There is probably a lot of prejudice (prejudgement) in sports because the fact that the very fastest sprinters are black makes people think black=fast, and that's not true. There are plenty of slow-running black people. There are lots of fast white kids.

The fact that racists will factor anything into a racist world view is just what it is.

There is nothing wrong with running well. I wish I ran better. But when a Ron Paul newsletter talks about how fleet young black men are while stealing your purse it is racism.

But that's racism for you. In the hands of a racist the fact that Barack Obama is intelligent becomes a slur!

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Response to cthulu2016 (Reply #15)

Sat Jul 7, 2012, 09:51 PM

57. It's all bullshit

why some groups are faster than others and that genetic trait isn't a proven link to superior athletic performance.

If you would like to run better, there is something you can do about it. What is racist about these theories is they suspiciously came around when black athletes were winning in the Olympics and it implies they had a competitive advantage rather than hard work & everything else it takes a white athlete to win an event. Plus these theories focus on sports black athletes choose and ignore the countless other sports that are dominated by non-blacks.

Here is more on that
http://www.wmich.edu/gsac/Hilltop%20Review/Spring%202010/The%20Myth%20of%20Racial%20Supperiority%20in%20Sports_Ian%20B.%20Kerr.pdf

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Response to MadHound (Original post)

Thu Jul 5, 2012, 05:52 PM

17. Wheaties, it should be obvious.

 

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Response to MadHound (Original post)

Thu Jul 5, 2012, 05:56 PM

18. OMG

 

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Response to MadHound (Original post)

Thu Jul 5, 2012, 06:01 PM

19. It's probably not selective breeding for slavery

African Americans just genetically have more fast twitch fibers suited for explosive sports like sprinting, basketball, and football. As the saying goes... "you can't teach speed".

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Response to MadHound (Original post)

Thu Jul 5, 2012, 06:04 PM

20. Nope. Still racist. (n/t)

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Response to MadHound (Original post)

Thu Jul 5, 2012, 06:58 PM

25. Then logically african populations in the new world would be superior

 

to african populations in the old world.

Eg: no african (from africa) would be able to outcompete africans descended from slaves.

That is not the case.

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Response to 4th law of robotics (Reply #25)

Fri Jul 6, 2012, 05:09 AM

37. +1!

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Response to MadHound (Original post)

Thu Jul 5, 2012, 07:05 PM

26. Forget melanin content, look at body type. You will see that it has nothing to do with color or

 

slavery, blacks tend to have shorter bodies and longer limbs, physical traits well suited to the sports mentioned. How many black wrestling champions, a sport where long body and short limbs are an advantage, do you see? Are Samoans better football linemen because they are a lovely mocha shade, or is it that they tend to be tall, wide, and very heavy?

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Response to Egalitarian Thug (Reply #26)

Sun Jul 8, 2012, 10:36 AM

67. At world-class levels we see people who have been selected to be especially good in their sports

People of any background who love to run but have shorter limbs will, given the same opportunities and levels of training, generally not do as well as people with longer limbs, especially in the sprints. For the same reason, pro basketball players tend to be tall. In longer races, where endurance takes the edge over sheer speed, the favored body types are different.

Since athletics is an area where Black American athletes have excelled, there's probably a lot more encouragement for talented Black youngsters to go into track and field - it also doesn't require as much financial outlay as a lot of sports. So, I think it's a combination of good genes with development of native talent.

If I were breeding people for field work, I'd go for stamina and endurance rather than quick starts.

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Response to MadHound (Original post)

Thu Jul 5, 2012, 07:10 PM

27. Must also explain why Canadians are usually the best hocky players.

And East German women for many years were the best swimmers.

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Response to JoePhilly (Reply #27)

Thu Jul 5, 2012, 07:19 PM

29. Canadians were selected for Hockey

 

by many generations of grueling winters that forced them to collect frozen beavers off the tops of lakes using long poles (and sliding them past rival Canadians seeking to steal said beavers).

Those who couldn't master the use of a hockey (native american for "food pole") stick starved in the harsh Canadian winters and never made it to see the ice thaw in mid july.

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Response to 4th law of robotics (Reply #29)

Sun Jul 8, 2012, 02:41 AM

66. That is better than any recent SNL writer has produced, don't ya know.

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Response to JoePhilly (Reply #27)

Thu Jul 5, 2012, 07:58 PM

35. Culture is a huge part

I'm constantly amazed how a billion indians, with seemingly ideal distance running bodies, can produce no distance runners of note. I think the answer is simply indians just don't care about running.

On the other hand, distance running is the de facto national sport of kenya and ethiopia so everybody with the talent gets identified and everybody with talent and determination gets world class training.

Interestingly, for americans track & field is the second most popular boy's sport (after football) and the most popular girl's sport. Is it surprising that american women do better on the world stage in track than american men?

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Response to mathematic (Reply #35)

Sat Jul 7, 2012, 06:11 PM

48. Culture plays a large part.

I grew up in a row home in Philly. My family was never going to be able to afford the money for a wide range of sports.

Basketball was cheap. You could paint a square up on a wall and pretend that was the basket.

I find the slavery connection silly ... they might as well claim that whites are better yachtsman because whites sailed the slave ships.

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Response to JoePhilly (Reply #27)

Fri Jul 6, 2012, 05:10 AM

38. +1!

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Response to MadHound (Original post)

Thu Jul 5, 2012, 07:24 PM

30. Mike...Thank your African ancestry of chasing gazelles. Seriously.

However, he has a slight point in regards to the gene pool. There was study done about it. Apparently tribal Africans are at their physical peak. And Afro-Americans of the Americas do have this same "genetic" advantage but on a lesser level.

Of course this study was done as a way to eliminate those of African descent out of the Olympic games and turn us into guinea pigs. But he has a point, albeit skewed.

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Response to MadHound (Original post)

Thu Jul 5, 2012, 07:43 PM

32. IMO it's not genetic at all. It's not NATURE, it's 'NURTURE' by racism

in TODAY's America, directly, not indirectly through past racism. See post #14 above.

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Response to MadHound (Original post)

Thu Jul 5, 2012, 07:48 PM

33. then why did the Chinese win more gold medals in the last summer games?

or why do west African countries do so poorly compared to Russia, Germany, Japan, China, France, England... but besides that I think the slavery angle is totally interesting.

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Response to MadHound (Original post)

Fri Jul 6, 2012, 01:09 AM

36. Kicking for ignorance.

Good lord.

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Response to MadHound (Original post)

Fri Jul 6, 2012, 05:47 AM

39. Due to my Nordic ancestry I have been genetically selected for raping and pillaging

I'm a girl, so the rape thing is pretty much a nonstarter, and I live in a hick town where everyone has guns, so um...

...can everyone with European ancestry just send me a tenner and we'll call it good?

Within the last few hundred years, virtually EVERYONE's ancestors were doing hard labor. We're talking shitty, brutal, backbreaking labor. Yeah, most of it wasn't as gnarly as black slavery in the Americas, but I wouldn't survive a day doing this:



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Response to MadHound (Original post)

Fri Jul 6, 2012, 07:32 AM

41. I thought Archie Bunker was long gone? n/t

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Response to MadHound (Original post)

Fri Jul 6, 2012, 08:09 AM

42. IMO

I think it has everything to do with environment and the ability to adapt to survive, I assume those distance runner training in a brutal environments and race in ideal cool settings, so of course they run faster with the same effort. Boxers do this all the time, the training in higher elevations and to enhance their stamina on fight night. If a white person was born in the hood and raised there, chances are he/she would have the same strengths and weakness as everyone else in the environment. Put a black kid in a different environment and the results will reflect the environment the child was raised in. Remember the movie ” Trading Places”?

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Response to Mr Dixon (Reply #42)

Fri Jul 6, 2012, 09:31 AM

44. Trading Places? This is your basis for relating race to performance?

The movie just seems like sort of a remake of "The Prince and the Pauper", with race thrown in for a few more comic twists.

I think the environment may play a tiny part in physical ability, but if you look at the kids in any neighborhood, you'll see a wide spectrum of physical ability and body types.

I don't think the movie is a good reference for this discussion. And I'm willing to place the standard wager of "One Dollar" on my opinion.

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Response to MadHound (Original post)

Fri Jul 6, 2012, 11:07 AM

45. lol

ROFL now that was funny, I see your one dollar LOL, the trading place reference was merely an attempt to condense the topic to a simple observation. I don’t agree that Race is the Issue; I believe that all species are conditioned to survive best if the environment they inhabit.

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Response to MadHound (Original post)

Fri Jul 6, 2012, 11:20 AM

46. to repeat what many are saying, it is not slavary per se, it is who in the Americas were enslaved

West africans have a statistically small advantage in sprinting through their genes (and how those are expressed). At the tails of the distribution this small advantage gets amplified. Is every west african (and their descendants) fast? No. Some are fast, some are slow. but they have more fast folks at the extreme right hand side of the distribution.

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Response to MadHound (Original post)

Fri Jul 6, 2012, 11:24 AM

47. Other way around. Their athletic skills is what made them desirable as slaves -

Strong, fast, agile, endurance = very desirable traits for a slave.

Athletics just came much later.

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Response to MadHound (Original post)

Sat Jul 7, 2012, 06:19 PM

49. Wow!

"This is much the same argument that was made in the book "The Bell Curve", and the author got blasted as a racist. So is this theory now valid since it is an African American making the same argument?"

Is there a general understanding that all African Americans are logical, smart and speak in an official capacity for the entire race?

Or do you have the same questions about moronic comments by Herman Cain, Alan Keyes and Allen West?

Good grief!

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Response to MadHound (Original post)

Sat Jul 7, 2012, 06:24 PM

50. Book by John Entine

Taboo: Why Black Athletes Dominate Sports and Why We're Afraid To Talk About It.

Read this in my Black Popular Culture class whose professor was a former Black Panther.

Interesting book.

(One should also read bell hooks - which has nothing specifically to do with this particular subject exactly, but is highly enlightening as to the black condition in America and how it got that way.)

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Response to mzteris (Reply #50)

Sat Jul 7, 2012, 10:55 PM

58. Book's thesis overreaches

The argument is a bit sloppy too. It uses a social construction, race, to group people together genetically. The fact that west and east africans succeed and fail at mirror image sports is proof that "black" is not the right concept to use. The author also uses some sleight of hand to say that all major running records are held by Africans (true for men) and uses this as evidence of his thesis (false). The 1500/mile records are held by Hicham El Guerrouj, who is not black. The claim isn't even remotely true for women. Non-africans (genetically speaking) own the 400/800/1500/mile/3000 records as well as the half & full marathon. So in other words only the women's 100/200 and 5k/10k are held by africans. For the author's argument to be convincing this must be explained.

My point in all this is not to say that a genetic difference doesn't exist. The decades of dominance by black athletes in the sprints is impossible to ignore--only 2 non west african (genetically) men have broken 10s in the 100m dash. My points are that black athletes don't "dominate sports", they dominate some sports and that the term "black athletes" itself is flawed due to the significant genetic differences among black athletes, in particular West and East Africans.

I think based on stereotypes its easy for americans to believe that black athletes dominate sports. After all "white men can't jump" and "the great white hope", right? Never mind that the current men's world high jump champ is a white american and that only one of the top 5 high jumpers in history is black. That one black jumper happens to be the best ever but if that wasn't the case might we be talking about the european dominance in the high jump and asking why black men can't jump? That probably sounds absurd to any american but that's only due to our cultural expectations and not due to the actual history of high jump performances.

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Response to MadHound (Original post)

Sat Jul 7, 2012, 06:39 PM

51. Fail. Not much more to this.

FAIL

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Response to MadHound (Original post)

Sat Jul 7, 2012, 08:06 PM

52. I think a lot of it is cultural

At integrated high schools, black students seem to be encouraged to sprint while white students are encouraged to do distance. In schools where that has been a longstanding tradition, it may become part of a social role discouraging many students from crossing the color line. I lived in semi rural Northern Ohio where whites were a large majority at most schools. One of the interesting things was that when one area black or Hispanic student ran and excelled at cross country or distance that several others followed rather than staying in the sprinting ghetto. It seemed that happened in other areas of the state with sprinting for whites also.
I don't think that we should discount the fact that there have been some geographical areas of good competition. Once you get more than a few athletes excelling at a high level that are competing against each other all the time, it brings the level of competition up in general. There are very few young athletes that can reach a high level of performance without close competition. Excelling at the high school level, enables them to get Division I scholarships at colleges and/or conferences where they will compete against world class competition. In other countries, there might be alternative racing circuits that also compete at a high level of competition, but if there aren't it is hard to reach a world class level while everyone else is way behind.

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Response to MadHound (Original post)

Sat Jul 7, 2012, 08:17 PM

53. He might a as well argure that it was their proximity to caucasians that makes them fast runners.

If the former enslaved population are in fact better athletes, he could just as well argue that it was the proximity and sometimes gene exchanges with European descended causcaians that makes them so.

Either way, logic fail.

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Response to MadHound (Original post)

Sat Jul 7, 2012, 09:34 PM

55. Who cares who says it?

The theory is BS because it is

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Response to MadHound (Original post)

Sat Jul 7, 2012, 09:43 PM

56. I remember Oprah saying, in agreement with her guest that

African Americans have a tendency toward high blood pressure, (I think that is the illness - not positive) because they were the ones who did not die from lack of water on the slave ships because they held water in their bodies. And then this was passed down. And one big treatment for high blood pressure is diuretics. It made sense to me when she said it. What kept them alive as slaves became a disadvantage in this case.

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Response to MadHound (Original post)

Sat Jul 7, 2012, 11:30 PM

59. Remember - Murray, Herrnstein and their ilk are not biologists or geneticists.

They ignore the fact that while "race" is an important sociological construct, it is absurd and scientifically baseless to divide humanity into fixed biological "races" based on arbitrary criteria like skin color, which is just one of many inherited physical characteristics. Why not the swirl of thumbprints instead, which would give a quite different set of "races"?

Worse still, they ignore how fluid and local these categorizations are. A hundred years ago, Victorian England would have scoffed at the idea of "swarthy" Italians being considered "white". Or consider that Barack Obama, with 50% "white" genes is socially "Black". Hell, Greeks were considered "w*gs", not "white" in as recently as 1970 in Australia.

Coming to Johnson, you can't ignore power asymmetry and history in judging behavior as "racist". Not to mention motive. Johnson is not known for being a supremacist or even a bigot of any kind, nor does he make a living at being one. The authors of the "Bell Curve", on the other hand, had a deliberate racialist agenda and were funded by like-minded folk (Pioneer Fund etc). They have a long history of research which is most accurately characterized as scientific racism, an attempt to use biology and statistics to push racial determinism and a far right-wing agenda in society.

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Response to MadHound (Original post)

Sat Jul 7, 2012, 11:38 PM

60. How many generations of selective breeding does it take to change the genetics of a plant?

A fruit fly? A cat? A cow? What does it make me that I would ask that question? A fruit fly-ist? A feline-ist? A bovine-ist?

PC is so funny sometimes. It keeps people from being able to discuss things that are actually common knowledge and fact lest they be branded an "ist". Funny, I guess I was born without that gene. Am I an anomaly?

Why would human genes be any different than any other species? If selective breeding increases the yield of a strain of corn, is it out of bounds to suggest that selective breeding of humans might have, to some degree, the same effect?

Over the course of nearly 250 years, almost 600,000 Africans were imported to this continent as slaves. Yes, many were subject to selective breeding, after being selected by the slave masters in Africa for having certain physical traits. No matter how much it hurts to read that, it's a simple fact.

How many generations pass in 250 years? If the life expectancy was 40, that's six generations. Is it racist to think that six generations of selective breeding had an effect on the gene pool of Africans in North America and their descendants?

I'm reminded of that racist hip-hop song written by the known racist Sir Mix-A-Lot...

I like big butts and I can not lie...

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Response to MadHound (Original post)

Sat Jul 7, 2012, 11:42 PM

61. why do whites perform better than other racial groups (overall) - look at weightlifting shotput type

events. Things that take upper body strength. gawd, I hate this racial shit. "natural ability" only applied to blacks. arrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrgh!

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Response to MadHound (Original post)

Sun Jul 8, 2012, 12:07 AM

62. Subsaharan Africa has a very diverse population

There are several subgroups that range from the tallest to the shortest and the most muscular to the skinniest among the global human population.

So you should be able to find Africans who are excellent at almost any sport.

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Response to FarCenter (Reply #62)

Sun Jul 8, 2012, 12:25 AM

63. Sub-Saharan Africans were not the point of the OP.

The OP specifically mentioned African Americans.

The slave traders didn't direct the African tribal leaders to choose the shortest skinniest people. They directed them to choose the tallest and the most muscular. A farmer doesn't choose the small horse to pull the plow hoping that horse has a lot of heart. Once that group got to these shores, they were bred with the tallest and most muscular.

It's an UGLY fact, and one I'm ashamed of even though my ancestors were hunted for sport by the same people who did this to the Africans... BUT, it's a fact. Accepting it DOES NOT make one a racist.

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Response to MadHound (Original post)

Sun Jul 8, 2012, 01:57 AM

64. No, it has to do with wha tis valued

 

I have cousins from Pensacola, FL that were stationed here for a few years in Maryland. They commented that the high school football stadiums here wouldn't qualify for a park and rec team stadium in Pensacola. I visited them, and have to say they were right, they had huge football stadiums.

Then I realized as I drove around during the early summer, any time I saw a lot big enough, there would be a group of kids playing football. No parents, no coaches, and blazing heat, and they were clearly loving it.

That is why Pensacola produces players like Emmit Smith and Trent Richardson. They practice constantly.

Go to Jamaica or Kenya and I'm sure one could find lot's of kids racing against each other, more or less constantly.

I don't know how one would measure it, but go to some of the Asian countries like Japan and South Korea, I bet you would find kids studying just to find a way to one up each other when they got the chance. If the culture values something, it produces people talented in that something.

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Response to MadHound (Original post)

Sun Jul 8, 2012, 02:06 AM

65. No. Next?

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