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  • "Taboo" and Black Male Sprinters

    Has any list member read Jon Entine's "Taboo" or John Hoberman's "Darwin's Athletes"? If so, what is thought of the Olympic,World Championship, and NCAA sprint and sprint hurdle dominance of males of West African descent (be they from the US,Canada,Jamaica or England)? I'd be interested in commentary even from those who have not read "Taboo".

  • #2
    Re:

    Entine twists information to suit whatever point he's trying to make. Take it from someone who worked on a project with him a few years ago. He has some great info in his book, and at the same time he left out a lot of info that didn't jibe with the points he was trying to make. He did the same thing on a TV program we made years ago about black athletes. It ran as a special years ago on NBC.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Re:

      I think we've argued about this before . . .

      I simply disagree with the title. Black athletes don't dominate all sports. They dominate many of the most popular sports in the USA but few that are popular elsewhere, and that's a point which may lend itself to real discussion.

      Besides, what we call "black" has more to do with appearance than ancestry. For example, Dan O'Brien's ancestry is less than 50% African, yet he's still considered black. How do we term Khalid Kannouchi? Tiger Woods? Daley Thompson? Cathy Freeman? If Morroccans are black and Portugese & Spaniards are white, why do we discount the fact that they share both ancestry and history? How do you account for the German saying that "Europe begins at the Pyrrenes"?

      I don't neccissarily think that all books about race and physical abilities are racist, but I'm extemely skeptical.

      Comment


      • #4
        Sprint Dominance

        My post query, while referring to Entine's book, was more about what we attribute male sprint dominance to, not "all sports". I also specifically cited men of West African descent (i.e. Tolan,Metcalfe, Owens,Ewell,Dillard,Matson, Hayes, Carr, Ulis Williams, Budd, Hayes Jones, Calhoun, Davenport,Figueroa,Smith and Carlos, Ronnie Ray Smith, Dick Stebbins, McCullough,Hines,Evans,Meriwether,L. Miller,Crockett,Pender, Charlie Greene, Matthews-Collett-J. Smith, Casanas,Milburn, Floyd, Glance, Crawford, Quarrie,McTear, S.Williams,Riddick,Herm Edwards,Nehemiah, King Carl,Q. Watts, Calvin Smith, Boldon,Fredericks, MJ,Bailey, Christie, Surin, M. Greene.

        Bijan C. Bayne

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        • #5
          Re: Sprint Dominance

          How the hell do you know what part of Africa these guys' ancestors came from?

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Sprint Dominance

            How the hell do you know what part of Africa these guys' ancestors came from? <<

            Virtually all North American blacks are of West African decent, for obvious reasons (the slave trade)...West Africans also tend to be fairly easy to distinguish from East Africans with sampling DNA; they look as different from each other as the Swedes do from the Greek...

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            • #7
              Re: Sprint Dominance

              Should have read _WITHOUT_ sampling DNA (tired)

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              • #8
                Re: Sprint Dominance?

                With rare exception, the ancestors of men such as Eddie Tolan, Bob Hayes,Carl Lewis,Don Quarrie and Tim Montgomery are from the Bight of Benin, from current day Senegal, Mali,the Gambia, the Ghana,and Nigeria. These are the males, who, since 1960, have performed exceedingly well on a world class and NCAA title level in the 60 meters, 100 yard dash, 100 meters, 200 meters,and to a lesser extent the 400 meters. They also fare well in the sprint hurdle races, particularly over the shorter distances. Even on the sprint relay teams of the US (a country only 12% phenotypically "Black"),Canada, Great Britian and France, where they make up a very small minority of the overall population, these males have done very well.

                On the women's side, there was a period of East German sprint achievement in the 1970's and 1980's, and women of West African descent do not dominate short events as do their male counterparts. Still, for the most part, (Louise Stokes and Tidye Pickett were kept of the 1932 US Olympic team due to bias, by most accounts)- the names that resonate are Faggs,Rudolph,McGuire,Tyus, Iris Davis, Ferrell,Annum,Ashford, Ottey,Quirot,Griffith-Joyner,J. Miles, Brisco-Hooks,Prerec and Marion Jones. The only thing they have in common is that they are primarily descendants of West African slaves. Anyone have opinions as to why this is, since Blacks are minorities in the UK, US,Canada and France? I might add that, in Tim Montgomery's generation,track is not as popular on the scholastic level as it once was, nor are inner city programs as strong as before- yet the trend persists.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Sprint Dominance?

                  To play devil's advocate, since the fall of the Eastern bloc in the early 90s, we still have Thanou, Privolova, Jayasinge, Restrepo, Merry, Freeman, Engqvist, Bukovec, Shishigina, Gunnell, Bidouaine, Block, Kapachinskaya, Guevara, Pittman, Pechonkina . . . on the women's side of the sport, there are plenty of top non-west African sprinter/hurdlers. Toss in the field events based on speed & explosive power (LJ, TJ, SP) and it's even more watered-down, even on the men's side.

                  And the statement that you can tell a west African from an east African just by looking at him is in itself proof of idiocy. Why, those guys in the white sheets say they know I'm Jewish just by looking at me!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Sprint Dominance?

                    With rare exception, the ancestors of men such as Eddie Tolan, Bob Hayes,Carl Lewis,Don Quarrie and Tim Montgomery are from the Bight of Benin, from current day Senegal, Mali,the Gambia, the Ghana,and Nigeria. <<

                    True.

                    These are the males, who, since 1960, have performed exceedingly well on a world class and NCAA title level in the 60 meters, 100 yard dash, 100 meters, 200 meters,and to a lesser extent the 400 meters. They also fare well in the sprint hurdle races, particularly over the shorter distances. Even on the sprint relay teams of the US (a country only 12% phenotypically "Black"),Canada, Great Britian and France, where they make up a very small minority of the overall population, these males have done very well.<<

                    True.

                    On the women's side, there was a period of East German sprint achievement in the 1970's and 1980's,<<

                    All or virtually all of these white sprinters were on drugs as everyone knows; anabolics help women more than men because women have lower natural testosterone levels and more "room for improvement" via 'roids...

                    and women of West African descent do not dominate short events as do their male counterparts.<<

                    If you take away the highly suspect past and present white sprinters, they sure appear to to me (and I believe, FWIW, that black female sprinters got into the game a bit later, by and large, than black male sprinters)...

                    Still, for the most part, (Louise Stokes and Tidye Pickett were kept of the 1932 US Olympic team due to bias, by most accounts)- the names that resonate are Faggs,Rudolph,McGuire,Tyus, Iris Davis, Ferrell,Annum,Ashford, Ottey,Quirot,Griffith-Joyner,J. Miles, Brisco-Hooks,Prerec and Marion Jones. The only thing they have in common is that they are primarily descendants of West African slaves. Anyone have opinions as to why this is, since Blacks are minorities in the UK, US,Canada and France?<<

                    Talent matters in sprinting, obviously.

                    I might add that, in Tim Montgomery's generation,track is not as popular on the scholastic level as it once was, nor are inner city programs as strong as before- yet the trend persists. <<

                    As do other racial/ethnic trends, such as the success of East Africans in distance running, the success of East Asians and Ashkenazi Jews on standardized tests, the the underrepresentation of Latinos in the NBA, the higher incidence of lactose intollerance among West African blacks, yada yada yada...

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Sprint Dominance?

                      I read Jon Entine's book and I wrote an online review that is on Amazon.com. My main comment is that Jon Entine is a JOURNALIST and NOT a scientist in any capcacity. He is well connected in the media. It is unfortunate that the credibility of "scientific" ideas are based on the ability to disseminate them through connections in the media and not through PEER REVIEW! I write this as a physician and runner.
                      In my profession, non PEER REVIEWED journals are called "Throwaways"....which is what Entine's book is....

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Sprint Dominance?

                         I read the Entine book and my first reaction was to send him a few dozen corrections based on track "facts" he presented. If his work is that sloppy on something I know, I'm left with nagging doubts about his scholarship in other areas with which I'm less familiar.

                        Having said that, the underlying premise of his book--which is that some forms of athletic ability (speed in West Africa, endurance in the Rift Valley, which includes Ethiopia) are not evenly distributed on the planet's population--is certainly backed up by empirical data. And it certainly fits patterns seen elsewhere in populations in both the plant and animal kingdoms. Why should humans be exempt from such elemental rules of nature?

                        Unfortunately, it's almost impossible to hold rationale discourse on this subject because it quickly becomes so emotionally charged, and this is a subject which needs to be approached from a dispassionately scientific point of view. Three things which I think need to be remembered, if the Entine theories hold water (even if his scholarship doesn't):

                        1. Entine isn't saying that speed/endurance are the exclusive property of the groups he names. He says that the genetic predisposition towards those traits exists at a (much) higher rate.

                        2. It's not a corollary that having greater physical skills means diminished mental ones.

                        3. Having greater physical skills ("natural talent" if you will) doesn't imply a need to work less hard than the unskilled white masses. Great athletes of any extraction only get to be that way if they are willing to punish themselves to the max to get where they are.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Sprint Dominance?

                          There is credence in the premise that certain traits MAY be concetrated among certain GROUPS of people..also known "Gene pools." However, "Gene Pools" are defined by their tendency to marry or mate and reproduce...not in the amount of melanin in their skin....which seems to be what Entine is trying to write about...although he does paradoxically touch on the concept of "Gene Pools." The title of the book "Taboo..Why BLACKS.." indicates his preoccupation with Melanin. He incorrectlyand stupidly identifies Cathy Freeman as being "Black"....because she has darker skin than the "Typical Australian" (of European Origin) Cathy Freeman is of Australian Aborignal origin. Genetic studies have indicated she is very much more genetically related to SE Asians (Thai, Malay ..aborginal Taiwanese, probably some southern Chinese than any other group..as are all Australian Aborginals. IF she is "Black"..it does not mean "African" or more accurately "West African" because she is a great sprinter. This of course makes perfect sense based on the geographical location of Australia and known migration patterns of early humans.
                          Africa, the birthplace of man has the most genetic diversity of all which means Haile Geb..from East Africa has very little genetic commonality with African Americans from West Africa other than Melanin in his skin.
                          Languages, religions, cultures are all different.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Sprint Dominance?

                            Why is Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond not required reading? Jared Diamond is a well respected SCIENTIST...not a well connected JOURNALIST!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Sprint Dominance?

                              2. It's not a corollary that having greater physical skills means diminished mental ones. <<

                              One should point out, of course, that mental skills ARE physical skills, as the brain is part of the body...

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