When I was in the classroom I always encouraged my college students, and sometimes my high school students, to do their own research, not to take my word, or anyone’s word as gospel. Now I am going to invite my blog readers to do the same thing. This is football season, when you are watching the games–especially the college ones, but the professional ones as well, listen to the commentary and see if you can find a difference between the way players of color and white players are described. This is easy research, all you need is a scrap of paper with two columns, “white” and “of color.” Write down the adjectives used to describe them by the commentators , who are overwhelmingly white. (A topic for another blog–why is it that sports writers and commentators, unlike players are overwhelmingly white?), in the appropriate column and report it back to this blog. If it is what has been documented before ( if you want an article I can send you one) you will find that white players are described as leaders, intelligent, bright, while players of color are described as talented and fast and big. In other words the white players have positive characteristics they have developed with effort, while the players of color just happen to have been born superior physical specimens. Rather takes me back to the 70’s when I was teaching high school and one of my white male students named Jim assured me quite earnestly that the reason many black males were so skilled at athletics was that slaves were bred to have an extra muscle in their legs. I asked him what would happen if a white woman and a black man had a baby? Would the child limp since he only had a special slave muscle in one leg? I was not a reverent teacher, and never tried to treat my students like they were dumb or unable to understand sarcasm.
Okay, assignment two ( it is hard to stop being a teacher I find) Watch the television news ( I know this can be painful) and those ubiquitous true crime shows and see how many times a blond woman is described as beautiful, even when she is nothing of the sort. It is fascinating. Of course, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and since my youngest two grandchildren have blue eyes I have come to appreciate blue eyes more, but come on people, some folks would see an orangutan with blond hair and declare her beautiful. Let me know what you find out here too please.
Okay, class dismissed! 🙂