You are viewing an obsolete version of the DU website which is no longer supported by the Administrators. Visit The New DU.
Democratic Underground Latest Greatest Lobby Journals Search Options Help Login

Reply #69: Jimmy the Greek, bred black athletes, and where are the white athletes? [View All]

Printer-friendly format Printer-friendly format
Printer-friendly format Email this thread to a friend
Printer-friendly format Bookmark this thread
Home » Discuss » DU Groups » Race & Ethnicity » African-American Issues Group Donate to DU
Brewman_Jax Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-31-07 05:37 PM
Response to Original message
69. Jimmy the Greek, bred black athletes, and where are the white athletes?
I remember the uproar about Jimmy the Greek's statement about black people made superior athletes because of slave breeding programs. Not to mention the belief that some black people have that did happen. Anecdotal belief not withstanding, the evidence of slave eugenics and slave breeding programs is non-existent. Gregor Mendel's research leading to the study of modern genetics, Experiments in Plant Hybridization was not published until 1865. The term "eugenics" for humans was coined was proposed by Francis Galton, a cousin of Charles Darwin, in 1883. The general concept of genetics and selective breeding was not known until the early 1900's, though it was known locally or by certain people for hundreds of years.

Even if any evidence existed, it does not change the fact that an estimated 75% of black people that can trace their ancestry to the pre-Civil War/Reconstruction/Jim Crow period have at least one white ancestor. Conversely, an estimated 10% of white people that can trace their ancestry to the same period have at least one black ancestor. The numbers cited above already put the concept in question. This is not to overlook the fact of assault and rape perpetrated on black women during and post-slavery.

Slaves were first and foremost a LABOR force. Until the slave trade was abolished in the US in 1808, slaves would be renewed by the purchase of new slaves. The more enlightened slave owners (that's an oxymoron if I've EVER heard one :P ) would allow families, but simply as a method of pacification, not out of any sense of duty, and DEFINITELY not for eugenics purposes. Everything, even concepts, has to obey the laws of physics. The main problem with eugenics "programs" is the time between generations. A generation for humans is approximately 20 years, as opposed to 2-5 years for livestock. Even with multiple offspring, generations for humans take far too long to analyze results and make changes. A breeding program for numbers increase has the same time problem. Add to that humans arehuman, and don't make good test subjects.

Imagine this: If a eugenics program was started in 1809, after the end of the US slave trade, the process would take too long to show results. Accounting for the medical science of the period, mortality rates, infant and adult, were poor for both white and slave populations, and definitely disproportional. (Present day statistics attest to that fact.) For the eugenics experiment, subjects would have to be selected, cared for, successfully reproduce, and the offspring would have to live to adulthood, next generation breeding subjects selected, and produce the next generation. That is a gross oversimplification leaving out everything that could go wrong. If our imagined program were successful, there could only be TWO complete generations before the Civil War started--hardly enough information for a scientific analysis and far too expensive and no return on investment with the end of slavery. After Reconstruction, Jim Crow segregation was put in place. Black people were under de facto slavery, but "free" in that the white employers in that time weren't responsible for their care and upkeep, unlike slave days. Now, add one hundred years to the Civil Rights era or five generations of uncontrolled results, that negates the results of the two previous generations. Thus, the whole concept is invalid and impossible.

Seems to me that a black woman during the Jim Crow era would have to worry more about becoming the mistress of a powerful white man than any "eugenics" program--see Strom Thurmond. Even in my family line, my great-grandfather (paternal) was the offspring of a white court judge and his black maid.

So why did Jimmy open mouth and insert foot? I think the question Jimmy was really answering was: Where are the white athletes? It's easier for white people in general to concede pro sports to black people because they are "physically superior", but white people are "mentally superior" and will control everything else. To borrow from Chris Rock, it's the difference between being rich and being wealthy: Shaq is rich, but the white man who signs his check is wealthy!

Of the major pro sports, the NFL is approximately 67% black, the NBA is approximately 85% black, MLB is approximately 30% black. Black people comprise 12% of the total population, yet are severely over-represented in major pro athletics. Since athletes are considered "dumb jocks" in general, there's a ready-made typecast population group. Add to that the concept that "those people" are here to entertain the upper caste. Upper caste members don't have to be entertainment for the masses. Sports geared to the upper caste, like swimming, golf, and hockey, have no shortage of white participants, but those sports are expensive. Pool maintenance, greens fees and golf gear, hockey gear and rink maintenance are expensive relative to football gear and field maintenance or basketball gear and court maintenance.

The better question is why are there so many black professional athletes? It has nothing to do with eugenics or genetics. We're back to the same overriding fact of life in the US--the racial caste system. Black kids see black athletes on TV and think they can do it too. Athletics is a true meritocracy, the best performance wins. No crappy schools, no dealing with prejudiced white people, no being condemned to flipping burgers or sweeping floors because school stinks and they're too poor for college. Black people are still negatively stereotyped according to recent surveys. If your name is DeAndre or Jamal, you're more likely to get a sports team tryout than a job interview. Big dumb black guys can run with the ball, not fix a computer. Think about it: did you ask a tall white guy if he was a basketball player?

Littlefield, Daniel C. Rice and Slaves, Ethnicity and the Slave Trade in Colonial South Carolina, University of Illinois Press, 1981.
Printer Friendly | Permalink | Reply | Top

Home » Discuss » DU Groups » Race & Ethnicity » African-American Issues Group Donate to DU

Powered by DCForum+ Version 1.1 Copyright 1997-2002
Software has been extensively modified by the DU administrators

Important Notices: By participating on this discussion board, visitors agree to abide by the rules outlined on our Rules page. Messages posted on the Democratic Underground Discussion Forums are the opinions of the individuals who post them, and do not necessarily represent the opinions of Democratic Underground, LLC.

Home  |  Discussion Forums  |  Journals |  Store  |  Donate

About DU  |  Contact Us  |  Privacy Policy

Got a message for Democratic Underground? Click here to send us a message.

© 2001 - 2011 Democratic Underground, LLC