Encyclopedia Of Ethnicity And Sports In The United …

Such claims may seem to us deeply offensive. But this is no reason to close our eyes to scientific arguments about racial differences in sporting ability. The cause of antiracism is not strengthened by ignoring science or censoring data. Racial science is a pseudo-science, which ignores the truth about human differences; antiracists should not try to ape it. Moreover, the debate about differences in sporting abilities is part of a wider debate about the meaning of new knowledge about genetic diversity. Channel 4's The Difference links racial variation in physical attributes to racial variation in intelligence. The final programme in the series is largely given over to Charles Murray, co-author of The Bell Curve, to argue that black populations are naturally less intelligent that whites and Asians. Liberals who refuse to engage in the debate about natural difference are simply leaving the terrain open to the likes of Rushton and Murray.

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What all this suggests is that the relationship between sports, culture and genetics is much more complex than either liberal antiracists or 'race realists' like Entine and Murray will allow. Athletic talent is at least in part inherited, and there are undoubted genetic differences between populations. Nor should we dismiss the possibility that West Africans and Kenyans have a genetic advantage when it comes to sprinting or long distance running. It has not been proved beyond reasonable doubt, and there is clearly much more to sport than natural ability, but in principle there is no reason to assume that certain populations have physical characteristics more suited to particular athletic activities. But are blacks naturally better athletes than whites? Not necessarily. We should be highly suspicious of any and all attempts to confuse the genetics of populations and the politics of race.

Kenan Malik's essay on race, genetics and sporting ability

"Kathryn Kalinak Responds to Jane Gaines's "Scar of Shame": Skin Color and Caste in Black Silent Melodrama" ("Cinema Journal," Summer 1987)Cinema Journal, Vol.

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Increasingly, this antipathy to biology is wearing away. More and more, biologists, anthropologists and athletes themselves are looking to nature not nurture for an explanation of black domination. 'Blacks are made better', argues Carl Lewis, the African American athlete who won four golds at the 1984 Olympics. The American journalist Jon Entine dismisses the environmentalist theory of black athletic prowess as 'political correctness'. Entine's book, Taboo: Why Black Athletes Dominate Sports and Why We're Afraid to Talk About It was published in America earlier this year to great controversy. The liberal consensus, Entine argues, has served only to disguise the truth about the black domination of sport - which is that blacks are built to run and jump. It's an argument that's winning a hearing on this side of the Atlantic too. Last week, the BBC transmitted The Faster Race, produced by its Black Britain team, which argued the case for a natural black athleticism. Channel 4 begins shortly a three-part series, The Difference, which explores genetic differences between races, including in sport. It's time we put away our fears of talking about racial differences, the series argues, and faced up to the facts of genetic diversity.

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What lies behind such black domination of sport? The traditional liberal answer points the finger at social factors. Blacks, so the argument runs, have been driven into sport because racism has excluded them from most areas of employment. Racism also makes blacks hungrier than whites for success, and so they more often end up on the winners' rostrum. In the postwar world, largely as a consequence of the experience of the Holocaust, there has been a great reluctance to see human differences, indeed to view any aspect of human behaviour, in biological terms. Humans, we have come to believe, can be explained purely in terms of culture.

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